Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
the UCSB library
the UCSB library
Original photo by Sabrina Lee

Attending UCSB As A Socal Native

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Deciding where to go for college may be the hardest game of “This or That” ever played. Community or four-year? Out-of-state or in-state? For my major or for a desirable location?  From deciding between safety, target, and reach schools, my decision was based upon a multitude of factors, an important one being my upbringing in sunny Southern California. 

Throughout high school, a lingering thought crept through the back of my mind. Always thinking ahead, I wondered where I would end up going to college from as early as I can remember. For years, I tossed back and forth between my competing desires to go out of state, where I could experience something completely out of my comfort zone, or to stay in California, where the weather is nice, my family is no more than a drive away, and where life felt familiar.

Application season came and went, the in-between season (slowly) made its appearance and then faded in anticipation, and finally, March, the month that I had waited for all of my formative years. With it came rejections, which, looking back, were really just redirections (and yes, by that I mean UCLA), waitlists, and thankfully, acceptances. 

The moment I opened my acceptance letter from UCSB, I knew in my heart that this is the place I would spend my next four years. Belonging to my list of dream schools, this was more than I could fathom. Although my acceptance was a dream come true, I also had two other schools I was now really interested in and had been accepted to within Southern California. I did not want to make an immediate decision, so I toured all three and was infatuated…with all three.

I juggled thoughts of how my experiences would shape up to be at each school and considered other factors important to me such as actual location, study abroad opportunities, and my gauge of where I would be happiest geographically, academically, and socially.

Along with this, my decision really came down to a gut feeling. I felt inexplicably drawn to UCSB, and reflecting upon the exact moment I accepted my place in the class of 2025, I could never have fathomed everything that was to come: profound friendships, education both inside and outside the classroom, traveling the world, studying abroad, and opportunities upon opportunities to explore my deepest passions.

Most importantly, I have been given both the confidence and support to follow my dreams, even the ones I never thought would be within reach.

“Familiar” is a word I was attuned to, but when actually beginning my college experience somewhere I thought I was “familiar” with, I realized that nothing about college is familiar — beside the basic human instinct to survive. After learning to survive amidst the unfamiliar, I learned there is a world full of opportunities, and in my case, a world full of happiness as I had never known before. 

In-state or out-of-state, college is still an adjustment, and although staying in-state may feel like a safety net, it is just as much something to be proud of. Whether stepping one foot away from a comfort zone, or miles outside, there is growth and discomfort that comes with just being in that radius away from everything you’ve ever known. 

In my experience, 120 miles challenged me to live on my own, to think individually, and to tug at parts of myself I had to confront now that I was outside of the bubble I grew up in. Along with this self-discovery comes opportunities to decide what you want, and to be relentless in the pursuit of going for it. Whichever college fits into the master plan that is the life you are given, it will be the right one, and there will be so many moments that remind you why. Your growth begins when experiencing them.

Hello! I am a third year Communication major here at UCSB. I love trying new food places, going to museums, getting coffee with friends, and traveling. I am so excited to write and share my life, thoughts, and experiences.