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How I Take Advantage Of The Beach As a UCSB Student

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.

In my (almost) four years at UCSB, I had only visited the beaches a handful of times until Fall quarter of 2021. Living in Isla Vista and witnessing all my neighbors make daily trips to the shore all Summer was a bit of added peer-pressure, but it wasn’t until my roommates asked if I would accompany them on a trip of their own in late September that I actually bothered to leave my apartment. I didn’t realize it then, but that first trip would kickstart a self-help habit that has kept me healthy, both physically and mentally.

Take a walk

The closest access point from my apartment to the beach is about half a mile, making it extremely convinient to take a quick trip to the water. Of course, on the way over, I run into a few four-legged friends. Most of them are more than willing to pose for some pets and compliments while on their daily walk. I’ve even made acquaintance with a few of their owners.

Aside from the furry friends, the walk gives me time to think over my day, as well as future plans, or things that have generally been on my mind. Walking down the sandy paths, far away from the bustle of school and shops, only adds to the sense of clarity I feel: knowing that soon I’ll be feet away from the waves. It’s almost like problems unravel themselves with every step I take. It may just be because I’m moving my body at my own pace, instead of rushing like I do on my way to class, or the knowledge that I am going to a safe space. Either way, the walk over is equally as healing as the feeling of being in the water.

Seashells by the seashore

Like any other person, I always take a moment to pick out the cool-looking shells and rocks I find during my time on the sand. However, it wasn’t until this year that I started using this tendency to my benefit. I started playing this game with myself (or occasionally my friends) where I set out to find the coolest shell I can find that day. I get so engrossed in the hunt that I end up walking one or two miles down the beach without even realizing. I typically like to go when it’s low tide since that’s the best time to find the recently washed-up shells that are more likely to be in one piece. I’ve even started a photo album on my phone dedicated to my finds. I don’t keep them, but I do like to put them in places others can find and enjoy them.

During my hunt for the shells, my mind goes one of two places. It either spends those moments of searching continuing to unravel the problems or issues I face in my day-to-day life, or it goes absolutely blank. I never know which it will be, and I’m not entirely sure if there’s a rhyme or reason to it. Ultimately, though, I don’t mind it. Just knowing that I have found a hobby in which I can use to exercise my body and occasionally my mind makes these ordeals easier to live through.

Take a dip

Having been raise in an Arab-Muslim household, it was always important keep my body as clean as possible, for both cultural and religious reasons I won’t delve too deeply into. This habit of constant washing was carried with me throughout school, though. The hustle and bustle of daily lectures and scission section often leaves me feeling a bit grimy and a lot sweaty. So, during my trips to the beach, I often dip my feet in at the very least. The salt water helps to keep my skin soft and helps tremendously with my eczema. The flow of the tide and the feeling of the send against my soles also keeps me feeling grounded. On days I do decided to take a full dip, I like to float aimlessly along with the tide and bob under the waves. The pressure of the water above me and solidness of the ocean floor below offers a beautiful sort of juxtaposition. While it is difficult to describe the feeling it gives me, I can say that when I finally swim back to shore, I feel cleansed, both emotionally and physically.

It can be extremely difficult to make time in a busy schedule to do something as seemingly unimportant as going to the beach. I spent three years under the impression that doing so except for the car occasion was a waste if time. However, now that I have made of habit of going, I can honestly say that it has become an unexpected source of healing. Life can be extremely difficult, and because of this we often lose ourselves in our day-to-day grind. Just taking a few moments to ourselves to stand along the shore and witness the waves ebb and flow can offer an unrivaled sort of relief, though. We just have to allow ourselves to embrace it.

Senior at UC Santa Barbara. Avid fan of Taylor Swift. Dog mom.