Pre College Jitters

When I made the decision to go to UCSB, I had doubts surrounding all around me from people who constantly told me that it was just a “party school” and that I should have chosen UC Davis. Before I submitted my SIR, I’m not going to lie, I also had some uncertainty but then I met students that actually go to UCSB; mind you that the people who have major doubts in UCSB are the people who just follow media and have little knowledge of my school. After talking to Alumni and incoming Freshmen like me, my decision became fairly easy. UCSB students LOVE their school and after my summer orientation I too LOVE my school. The environment is what I had hoped for ever since I could even think about college. The people are more friendly than any other university I visited and they’re not so competitive. So what if UCSB is a party school, it is also ranked in the top 30 public national universities in the country. Every school has their partying perks! UCSB just happens to be more open to the partying scenes than others which is okay; you can choose to join the party or you can just choose to stay at home. A UCSB student told me that the party doesn’t look for you unless you go looking for it.
I have not yet started my journey at UCSB but it is approaching much faster than I had prepared for. Leaving to live on my own is both very exciting and very nerve wrecking. I’m mostly worried about being a little far away from home but with the support of my family and friends, it makes moving away a little refreshing. I’m excited to live with two roommates who I hope will be life long friends and I’m excited to meet new people every single day. The thought of college always gave me anxiety but I know that just as long as I know what my priorities are and I learn how to manage my time, everything will be just fine. I also constantly remind myself that this 35k+ education is to absolutely not go to waste! College is like life, it’s hard but it is also rewarding in every aspect. I would like to wish good luck to all the incoming Freshmen and may you find your way to bigger and better things because with all the obstacles that are coming, I know you can overcome them all!

Experiencing a different culture.

When some of my friends think about college, they think about how excited they are to finally be leaving their homes and making a life of their own. However, when I think about college, I think of the culture I’ll be leaving behind and the culture that I’ll soon experience. The culture that I’m talking about is the diversity in the bay. I wasn’t born here, but the culture of diversity in the bay area is all I have ever known. For this reason, it is a bit nerve wracking to think about immersing myself in another culture such as that of So Cal’s.
I’ve never visited So Cal, but I’ve heard that the diversity there is quite meager. I’ve heard that people are less accepting there and people can be a bit more narrow minded. However, for all I know, such beliefs may be simply false. But at the end of the day, the only way I’ll find out how different the bay area culture and the So Cal culture are is by experiencing it myself.
Although I’m a bit wary about the change, I’m excited to experience something new. I’m excited to be challenged, to be educated, and perhaps educate others about what it means to be diverse. I’m excited to have a taste of another culture that I may not be accustomed to. But overall, I think I’m excited to experience a different culture that I may or may not be fond of because at the end of the day, I’ll be that much more prepared and ready to work in different cities, states or even countries that might not embrace the same culture I was raised in and ultimately love.


So far, my experience with college has been a continuous cycle of pain and growth. I was apart of a summer program here at UCSB, which allowed to to take classes over the summer and get a jumpstart on learning the ins and outs of the campus. At first, I hated the thought of shortening my summer and was saddened by the idea of “wasting” my time in classes. This was the painful stage. Upon arriving in Santa Barbara, I realized that the entire college experience was something I had to see to believe. I thought I was mentally prepared and would adjust to the college living and learning environments with ease; I was terribly wrong. I soon learned that college offered me a nearly complete freedom to make productive or destructive life choices on my own. The work load was heavy at first, but I slowly began to find a system of studying and reading that worked for me. This, I feel, is the key to succeeding at a competitive four-year university. No matter who your friends are and what they are doing, you must always remember to do what is best for you! In the end, if you don’t study because you wanted to hang with friends, you will be the one nervously avoiding being called on in section. Trust me, I should know. Studying over the summer gave me the confidence I needed to be able to thrive academically and socially in the Fall. Today, I scowl at the immature and unmotivated attitude I had about taking summer classes. It turned out to be one of my greatest life decisions to date. I was able to get gain some extra units and boost my GPA early on. I also became well acquainted with the campus and am able to help other freshmen who are in despair. Finally, I have a sense of confidence while on campus, which enables me to dive head first into the many opportunities that UCSB has placed before me. I am looking forward to maturing even more this year and continuing to evolve into a more refined Derrick.

My Home Away from Home

The idea of college became frightening once I realized that I would be leaving home and becoming my own person. My first weeks of college were difficult because I felt homesick and I didn’t feel that I was a part of something at my school. My roommates eased the pain of being so far from home by creating a warm environment. Luckily, we clicked right away. After the first night on campus we realized we had a lot in common. Now, we do everything together. After a couple weeks I discovered an organization here at UC Santa Barbara that helps empower Latinas on campus called Hermanas Unidas. After attending many meetings and social gatherings hosted by the women in Hermanas I finally felt a part of something here on campus. 

My first impression of college was “freedom”. I thought I would be able to do anything I felt I could do.  After my classes began I realized I did have the freedom, just not the time.  My schedule became so overwhelming that any little time I did have for myself, I slept. At times I felt that I couldn’t do anything but once I began to apply myself and did much time management, school became easier. 

I have become very comfortable in my new home over the last month. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the future. I look forward to choosing a major by next year. In fact, I am currently interested in Sociology and considering making it my major.  After doing much research, I have decided that I want to study abroad. During a meeting with my counselor, the subject of studying abroad was brought up and I became very interested. I hope to say sometime soon that I will be studying abroad in Spain. Aside from my academics, I look forward to joining Hermanas Unidas and connecting with many other Latinas around campus.  So far I have grown many friendships and I feel anxious to meet more people. In short, college may come with obstacles but the struggle will never outweigh the experience.

-Scarlett, UCSB ’16