Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Experiences

One Quarter Down, Eleven to Go: Two Freshmen Reflect on Their Experience

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

The transition into college life is a drastic change for most students. Between moving hundreds of miles away from home and being surrounded by entirely new faces, the beginning of college is hard! The first quarter of freshman year is an unparalleled time in your college experience. No amount of advice can prepare you for the adventure that awaits and your first taste of true independence. To dive in, I interviewed two freshmen on their experience of fall quarter here at UCSB. 

Moving In

Meeting your roommate, eating at the dining hall, and attending lectures are a few of the many firsts a freshman will encounter in fall quarter. Filled with excitement, these beginning few weeks include the rush to get involved on campus and meet new people in various ways. Briana Post, a freshman from Washington, shared her positive experience in joining Greek life: “everyone takes care of each other and I was able to find friends with ease.” With a minimal amount of school work and all the excitement of college, the first couple weeks of school were favored by Post allowing her, “to get into the swing of college life.” 

However, there are also plenty of challenges that come with the adjustment. “Something that I personally struggled with was finding my footing the first few weeks. Having a random roommate that I didn’t bond with was hard at first,” Post said. Roommates are one aspect of college that you can only sometimes control, but they don’t have to make or break your college experience. Another freshman from Tennessee, Amelia Fuentes, shared that one of her favorite parts of fall quarter was “meeting people that I think I’ll be friends with for many years to come.” 


The period from move-in to Thanksgiving break is the longest most freshmen have ever been away from home. It’s common to feel like UCSB might not be the right place for you or to miss your family and friends, but sticking it out is worth it in the end. “It was pretty difficult at first, but I make an effort to text, facetime, call, send pictures, etc. on a daily basis, which definitely makes things easier. Also, just remembering that my family and friends are only a call away if I really need them helps,” Fuentes said. 

Being far from home can be one of the hardest aspects of freshman year, but only for some. “I have always been fairly independent, so being away from home wasn’t that hard on me. Especially with parents’ weekend and Thanksgiving being so close, I was able to see my family and friends back home fairly often.” Post said.

Midterm Season

Some say college is easier than high school and others say the opposite. One of the trickiest parts of freshman year is creating a balance between school and all other aspects of life. Unique to UCSB is the quarter system, which creates a fast-paced environment for courses: midterms pop up between weeks four and six. Post reported that “the quarter system definitely made classes move by quickly, and midterms definitely were more intense and came quicker than I anticipated.” Of course, there is a learning curve with this schedule, and most freshmen will have mastered the process after their first quarter.

Managing Newfound Independence

The newfound freedom that comes along with freshman year is invigorating, yet at times stressful. Developing skills like maintaining a schedule balanced with school and socialization is a huge responsibility; having to figure it out without your loved ones by your side makes it even more difficult. Some thrive with such independence, while others struggle to adapt. “I think adjusting to the sheer amount of freedom and independence was a bit difficult at first. Even remembering to eat or to sleep took a while because I could technically do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted to,” Fuentes said. It can be easy to sleep through class or forget to eat breakfast without the watchful eye of a parent. 

Discovering UCSB

As you watch your friends in Colorado and Michigan experience their first snowfall, we still enjoy the sunny beach weather here in Santa Barbara. Post and Fuentes, both out-of-state students, share a love for the Santa Barbara coast. “My favorite thing about USCB is that if I’m ever stressed or needing a mental break I can walk along the coastline with my friends or even jog around the lagoon,” Post said. As freshmen learn quickly, the beach and other outdoor areas are popular domains for UCSB students. “I love living right by the beach and near IV because there’s always something cool and fun to do or see,” Fuentes said. 

156278 0034

Advice for Your Past Self

Whether it be the mini fridge you wish you brought or a roommate you regret picking, being fully prepared for college is out of the question, but it never hurts to listen to advice! Coming from Tennessee, Fuentes felt unprepared for the foggy and windy days in Santa Barbara: “I definitely would’ve packed warmer clothes,” she said. Additionally, Post recommends taking advantage of the bus system. For those living far away from campus in the Santa Catalina dorms, “taking the bus to classes or even to town is amazing!”

Now that fall quarter is over and the freshmen have established their new lives here at UCSB, they can leave first quarter jitters behind. With many lessons learned and new friendships formed, winter quarter is set up to be an even better experience—each quarter at UCSB gets better and better. Here’s to future quarters and all there is to look forward to!

I’m a second year political science major and I’m so excited to be contributing to HerCampus! I love music, cooking and spending time with my friends. :)