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Recap of My First Year at UCSB So Far

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

The transition to college isn’t easy. You experience living away from home and with roommates for the first time, while continuing on the journey to find yourself. Here are my experiences as a Freshman at UCSB so far.

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Fall Quarter

Getting used to UCSB wasn’t easy for me. Just a few days before my full week in college, I got a call from a friend who told me that our favorite English teacher passed away. I stayed up calling close friends and letting them know. I had a really hard time because I was away from home for the first time. There were so many things to get used to, that I found myself not being able to properly grieve because I needed to move on quickly. Not only because the quarter system moved fast, but also because it’s hard when no one else personally knows the teacher and your friends aren’t there to comfort you. Time waits for no one.

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As a pre-Psychological and Brain Sciences major, I had to take chemistry for my pre-major requirements. I definitely struggled with chemistry and I know many other people who did as well. Getting into the work ethic of chemistry is tough and it takes time to get used to the pace of classes especially when you’re getting used to the transition from a high school semester system to a college quarter system. It’s so easy to get used to the flow of the quarter and then suddenly forget about the quizzes and exams. Watch out, they’ll come out of nowhere!

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Transitioning to college is difficult, but my roommates definitely helped me through it. One of my roommates was actually from my high school so it definitely helped that I already knew one other person who was at UCSB. She was actually the one who encouraged me to go to CLAS (Campus Learning Assistance Services) for chemistry when I was struggling. CLAS is a tutoring resource that helps students stay on top of material. They have tutors who attend the lectures and hold sections (mine was two times a week for 50 minutes) to go over the material again and offer more practice. It’s really helpful!

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Winter Quarter

So many people dreaded winter quarter, but I was starting to get used to the quarter system even with a whole new set of classes. What really got me through were the many surprises were in store for me. I applied to HerCampus over winter break and was ecstatic when I became part of the team. I also found a lot of friends/classmates from elementary school in my classes. I happened to find a friend from third grade who moved and she ended up being in my chemistry class! I also ran into a friend at DLG who went to the same elementary school, middle school, and now the same college as me! It was amazing to find old friends and made Santa Barbara a little more like home.

With the quarter system, it’s really easy to make friends one quarter and then drift when you don’t have classes together anymore. I kept in touch with one of my friends by becoming study buddies. I found that studying with someone helped me stay focus as we both held each other accountable to stay on track and not procrastinate.

Even in my second quarter, I continued struggling with chemistry. It helped to go to CLAS, but what really motivated me to improve myself was my ACE chemistry team. My roommate encouraged me to join an ACE chemistry team and I’m so thankful. ACE is different from CLAS because the ACE team is usually a lot smaller and meets for a longer time once a week. This was more helpful for me because it put me on the spot when I didn’t know how to do something, especially since it was a smaller group. This is something I dreaded since the very beginning because I’m terrified of being put on the spot, but it helps to have an encouraging tutor (even if he’s super sarcastic). I really liked ACE (more than I liked chemistry, if I’m being completely honest) and I didn’t do as well as I wanted in chemistry, but the experience and struggle was worth it.

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For all the incoming Freshman reading this: I hope you take advantage of the resources the school has to offer! Definitely look into the resources. If you miss home or want someone to talk to, look into counseling or mental health services; if you’re struggling with school, look into tutoring. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you need help; you’re paying tuition for a reason. Take advantage of the resources that are out there for you! Another important lesson I’ve learned these past two quarters is to find the best way to study. I realized that studying in the dorm wasn’t productive for me. It’s easy to get distracted and to put homework/studying off. By my second quarter, I got into the habit of studying by scheduling a time every week to study with my study buddy so we could hold each other accountable to get work done. Lastly, definitely push yourself out of your comfort zone! It’s definitely harder to make friends in a huge lecture hall and in a class that meets only once a week. One of the easiest way to make friends is to join clubs and organizations, so find ones that interest you and maybe you’ll find your new best friends!


Tiffany is a first year pre-Psych and Brain Sciences major from San Francisco. She is a huge fan of kpop, studio ghibli movies, and webtoons. She loves to penpal and read whenever she can find the time. You can always find her daydreaming as she stares up at the sky, whether its during the day or at night.
Adar Levy

UCSB '19

Adar is a fourth-year student at UC Santa Barbara, studying Sociology. She is an avid creative writer, podcast listener, music enthusiast, and foodie. Loving everything from fashion and lifestyle to women's empowerment, she hopes to work for a major women's publication one day. See what Adar is up to on Instagram @adarbear.