What to Do During Your First Year at UCSB

Believe it or not, there's more to do at UC Santa Barbara than just going to the beach. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or transfer student, these ideas will help you have the best first year at UCSB.

1. Go to the RCSGD's Annual Drag Show.

Image via RCSGD Instagram

2. Watch a movie in Santa Cruz’s movie theater.

Ask the front desk for the key and go wild. Either use one of their DVDs or use your own laptop for Netflix. Bring some snacks. Live your best life.

3. Go to all the free events and concerts.

Extravaganza, RHA events (especially Welcome Week!), free film screenings on Tuesdays and Fridays in IV Theater, and Script to Screen events at Pollock Theater, just to name a few.

4. Visit the Bren Hall bathroom.

It’s in the corner of the fourth floor of Bren Hall. Just be respectful of those who work in the building who actually need to use that bathroom.

Image via reddit.com

5. Make a UCSB waffle and go to DLG Late Night.

DLG has waffle makers with the UCSB logo on them. Stop by late night for burgers and ice cream from 9 pm to 12:30 am at DLG on Monday-Thursday. 

6. Talk to an advisor.

I personally love going to Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) for advising, but you can find advisors at many different places. You can see an advisor from your college (Letters & Science, Engineering, CCS), major department, honors program, etc. 

7. Join a club.

Search for student orgs you might like on orgsync.

8. Use the massage chairs, egg chair, and mental health peer drop-in at CAPS.

CAPS has full body massage chairs. I finally used them for the first time recently and it was a game changer. The egg chairs are awesome too because they play surround sound music and many people fall asleep because it's so relaxing. Mental health peer drop-ins are great for when you want to talk to someone right away about whatever you’re going through. The transition to college can be difficult for many of us, but CAPS and mental health peers can help. 

Image via ucsbmhp.com

9. Eat in IV.

Get wildbread and cinnabread at Woodstock’s. Everyone will tell you to go to Freebirds for their nachos but make sure you get a horchata with it. They sprinkle cinnamon right on it and I live for it. Get boba at Wake Cup or Hana Kitchen, smoothies at Blenders, and açaí bowls at Cajé.

10. Explore Santa Barbara.

Check out Knapp's Castle and Inspiration Point for hiking, Downtown SB, and the movie theater from Drake & Josh.

11. Talk to other people on your floor and in the dining halls.

Especially during the first few weeks of your first year, everyone talks to everyone. Start up a conversation with the person next to you in the dining hall. Basically, just get out of your room and you're bound to meet new people. 

12. Eat in Portola Dining Commons if you don’t live in Santa Catalina.

Portola is so fancy I don't even feel like I deserve to go there.  

13. Walk around the lagoon and find the labyrinth.

Image via news.ucsb.edu

14. Go to a career services event or see a career counselor.

Attend career panels and LinkedIn workshops. Take a Myers-Briggs test. Meet with a career counselor who will reassure you that you have your life together and you don’t have to have everything figured out yet.

15. Get those weekly free massages around campus in the library, UCen, SRB, and Grad Student Lounge.

Thank you, Health and Wellness, for treating us right.

16. Get a job.

Become a UCSB tour guide. Work as a desk attendant in your residence hall. Pick up tortillas at soccer games and get money for it.

17. Take advantage of the A.S. Food Bank.

Third floor of the UCen. Yes, there’s a third floor of the UCen. Come here to get free food three days a week. You can thank me later.