Picking classes your first year is one of the CRAZIEST academic experiences you will encounter when attending college in general. Here at UCSB we have what are known as pass-times, or times where you are able to go on Gold and select your classes. My first quarter I knew I wanted to get a feel for a couple different departments so I took a class from Anthropology, Classics, and Art History Department. Nobody really told me what to expect from the classes that I chose. Now I can look back on all the cool interesting classes and seminars that fill General Education requirements, and they’re only offered to first years! Going back I would have taken advantage of this opportunity because of the amazing topics that are offered.
I sent out a Facebook Post asking my friends what exclusive (or fun) first year classes they took. Reading their responses made me want to go back! I mean WOW, you can see for yourself in the responses below if these amazing courses could be in your future!
Brittany Daley: I was a co leader for ED 20 and I wish I would have taken that my first year! You meet awesome people and know so many resources and key people on campus after the course!
Lexi Pettis: Freshman seminars with Relvin! He brings pizza!!
Erika Martinez: Theater 5! You get to break out of your comfort zone, and you meet a bunch of people
Nancy Yang: Art 7A, i think it's spring quarter only. Fulfills an art req and is an all around amazing class, small sections, a lot of day to day work (in terms of group projects...maintaining a blog) but you get close with people in your class : )
Amy Shavinsky: I took this awesome freshman seminar but I don't know if it's there anymore... it was on the prison system and we toured the county jail and talked to people who were trying to change their life around after being locked up. It was a great look at social issues in the community.
Residential Dining Services is committed to providing a wide variety of fresh, healthy, and high quality food. We have four dining commons on campus and each location offers something different, allowing you to choose what you like best.
Carrillo Dining Commons is located near the lagoon and Isla Vista. Carrillo is well known for its wood stone pizza oven, Mongolian grill, and fantastic salad bar. Enjoy eating outside under the stars any night of the week.
De La Guerra Dining Commons, also known to locals as “DLG,” is famous for being a part of singer Jack Johnson’s song “Bubble Toes.” In addition to being famous, DLG provides diners with many options from its taqueria, grill, and stir fry stations. If you are a night owl then DLG is the place for you. In addition to being open for lunch and dinner, DLG offers a late night meal period.
Ortega Dining Commons is THE place for a morning meet up with friends. It is recognized for having great breakfast selections, from their homemade granola to their made-to order omelets. Ortega provides great lagoon-side dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although known for its home-style cooking, Ortega offers daily options that include pizza, paninis, sushi, and specialty salads.
Portola Dining Commons is located at Santa Catalina Residence Hall and is located adjacent to an Olympic size swimming pool, giving residents a wonderful view while eating. Portola is known for its festive holiday atmosphere, whether it’s transforming itself into a haunted house at Halloween or serving up romantic desserts for Valentine’s Day.
What to look for during the year?
The dining commons host various events throughout the year. Look forward to some of the following events:
Each dining commons offers a theme meal per quarter. Past theme meals from last year include a Night in Italy at Ortega, Medieval Feast at Portola, Bourbon Street meal for Fat-Tuesday at Carrillo, and an Asian inspired theme meal at De La Guerra.
DLG, Carrillo, and Ortega participate in one Green Monday per quarter. A Green Monday offers diners with a vegetarian menu. We participate in this event to raise awareness about personal health and protecting the environment by foregoing meat.
During the academic year, the dining commons participate in various events including Sustainability Week, Sustainable Seafood Day, Nutrition Week, and Earth Day. During these events students can learn about sustainable and nutritional initiatives. Students can also partake in various activities and earn prizes.
Want to prevent the freshman 15? Well, thankfully that is a myth, but if you are interested in eating mindfully in the dining commons, we have a program just for you. NetNutrition is a nutrition analysis program that lets you view the nutrition labels of all the food offered in the dining commons. But we know that sometimes your schedule might make it difficult to always find the right options. Don’t worry we gaucho back. Our Gaucho Bright program offers you nutritious options. Gaucho Bright is two parts- Gaucho Bright Bite and Gaucho Bright Meal. Gaucho Bright Bite identifies the brightest (healthiest) option for you, while Gaucho Bright Meal recommends an entire meal. You can find both options on NetNutrition.
Interested in reading more about nutrition? Check out Residential Dining’s Dietitian blog- Danielle’s Bread & a Bit of Butter. Learn about healthy eating, current fads, and diets. To get the 411 on theme meals, tasting tables, special events, nutrition tips and more, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
So you’re all excited about attending UCSB, but do you really know everything it has to offer? I refer to them as the ‘Hidden Treasures’ of UCSB. It’s not that they are hidden exactly, or and you won’t get lost on the way there. It’s more that the first quarter of your first year is so crucial you tend to overlook the amazing services offered on our beautiful campus. I’m going to name a handful of resources I think are amazing and you should take advantage of! Here we go:
CAPS- Counseling and Psychological Services. Man that kind of sounds intimidating, well don’t worry because as soon as you see the light pink building and meet their amazing staff you won’t have a worry in your mind. CAPS is available to all students and they do all types of counseling! Here’s the link in case you want to check them out further: http://caps.sa.ucsb.edu
NOW for the secret that is going to save you during your most stressful times in college: Massage Chairs and Egg Chair. Yes I did say massage and egg chair. Now you’re probably thinking what is this Egg Chair? Let me tell you, it is one of my favorite things at this campus. There are vibrations and scientific things about this chair that make 15 minutes seem like you slept for five hours. (I can personally say this because I used this in between finals and after procrastinating a 10 page paper.) You may have to wait in line but it is worth the wait!
CLAS- It stands for Campus Learning Assistance Services! It will save your grades, papers, and research. CLAS is on the 3rd floor of the Student Resource Building and they will help you with homework, they have they tutor in language and edit papers! Personally my favorite is CLAS for General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Here’s their link as well! http://clas.sa.ucsb.edu
Women’s Center- So the title obviously sounds like ‘No Boys Are Allowed’ but in reality this place is a little piece of heaven! They also have a massage chair. (It has an after workout setting that has you leaving their office like jello!) They also have this mini-library that is perfect for studying in. They also have vegan condoms, feminine products, and a humidity condom protector. I’m not kidding, this place is on the 1st floor of the SRB and may just become your favorite place on campus. Here is there website! http://wgse.sa.ucsb.edu/women/
So who was so confused when filling out their housing applications when it came to the community living floors? Or had their family or friends looking over their shoulder when it came to your preferences? I know I did, but I drew the line at letting them decide where I was going to live my first year. My first choice was to live on the girls scholars floor in Anacapa. Guess what? I GOT MY FIRST CHOICE! Housing actually pays close attention to those decisions you make on your housing application so don’t fill it out based on anybody’s choices but your own.
My floor became some of my best friends. The girls I’d call for help on homework or to join me for a night in Isla Vista. Your floor mates are so important to your college decision, so don’t miss out on the great opportunity of community living floors. There are so many to choose from it is crazy! You may decide to be in one or not, but I wouldn’t make that decision without really investigating your options. For instance I thought living on the scholars floor meant 24/7 studying. I was wrong. It meant constant support, crazy nights, trips to the zoo, and camping as a weekend trip.
If you’re interested in meeting some friends that have similar interests and would live at the most 30 seconds from you, follow this link and read up on your options! https://appl.housing.ucsb.edu/contracts/living_learning_communities.pdf
You won’t regret it, and who knows you may even find your best friends! Just like I did, and many others before me!
So the time is here. You spent your summer binging on Netflix, or going to Europe, or something amazing in between. Now you have to pack up all your belongings with family and friends and drive to UCSB. It took me three days to drive here from Georgia, but I know some people only live a couple hours away. Either way the drive, plane, or train ride to the campus is going to be an adventure of a lifetime. You’ll receive your move in date and time slot (and freak out because how in the world are you supposed to move everything into your room in a couple hours?) Don’t worry! You can unpack everything out of your car in 15 minutes, which is the amount of time you have to get everything out of your car so that the car line can move. I suggest packing everything in boxes and being as organized as possible. This will make the move from the car line to unpacking in your room less stressful!
My advice. DON’T STRESS. Everyone on move-in day weekend is going through the same nerve wrecking thing. The great thing about move-in day is that campus staff has everything set up for you and will welcome you with food, music, and a bunch of excitement! (My first year I received delicious cookies.) So while my parents were facing empty nest syndrome, I was having the time of my life surrounded by the beautiful weather, cookies, and staff that made me feel safe. I remember freaking out and wondering how I was going to make friends. I was out of state, had a different accent, and felt like I stuck out from everyone else that had friends from their high school with them. What I didn’t know is that I was WRONG!
This is the time where everyone is friendly so don’t be afraid to join a group of people playing volleyball or sit with a group of people at the dining commons. The beautiful campus and the friendly people will make the transition into a college student much easier. Here are some tips that helped me during my Move-In Weekend:
1. Meet your RA (they are your first friend at UCSB and they haven’t even met you yet)
2. Get to know your floor mates, because they just might become your life long friends.
3. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
4. Trust your own decisions, it has gotten you this far.
5. Don’t be afraid to try something new or out of your comfort zone. It just might be the best decision you ever made.