UCSB Student Life: A Sincere Review

UCSB Student Life: A Sincere Review

Wondering what UCSB student life is like? Want to learn about the clubs, campus traditions, and more? Experience the university from the perspective of a current 3rd-year student.

To understand a little bit more about UC Santa Barbara before the interview, here are some campus facts:

  • Ranks #6 in public universities according to U.S. News
  • Contains one of the top 10 treatment centers for autism in the US
  • Their mascot, the Gaucho, was inspired by a 1927 film called The Gaucho

Rory Zahedi, a UCSB student, has really enjoyed his time there. The events, clubs, and overall college experience have been great for him. He has some interesting and great advice for all prospective freshmen.

Rory Zahedi

What is UCSB student life like?

Rory mentions how things have changed during his time at UCSB due to the pandemic, “There were tons of opportunities for being hardcore about your studies, like participating in research, or joining one of the many academic clubs, but also there were tons of opportunities to partake in fun actives for a little break from school work.”

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?

For Rory, the concerts hosted with top headlining artists were his favorite campus events. His first year there he was able to see Carti, Saba, Earthgang, Amine, JID, and Young Thug for $45!! Some of them even had their own separate shows, so he was able to see hours of just a single artist performing. As for the traditions, he said “showing up to a SB vs SLO soccer game and throwing tortillas is a thing every gaucho has to do at some point in their time at SB. ”

What are the best food options on campus?

Rory was brutally honest when asked this question: “For starters, definitely not the dining commons; that stuff is toxic waste that’s sometimes low-key fouler than the lagoon.” He believes the best places to get food would be off-campus in IV/Goleta, but still offered some other ideas. If you are looking for basic meat, veggie, and rice bowls, go to Hana Kitchen. If you want a burrito, go to Freebirds. Or let’s say you have a hangover or are out and about at 2 am, check out Deja-Vu.

Rory also had to mention Nikka Ramen on Hollister and Stroke. He claims it is the “best ramen around the area hands down.”

What’s student involvement like?

There are so many options for students to get involved at UCSB. Rory is currently in the powerlifting club (SBPL) and robotics club but tried out the climbing team before. There’s something for everyone including “tight roping, hammocking, partying, and more.” You’ll be able to meet other people similar to you at these clubs.

If you are less interested in hobbies and sports clubs, there are always tons of professional ones on campus. Rory also mentioned that “most of these clubs are still pretty active even when online.” He suggests that when UCSB can continue in-person, everyone should check out the club fair at the beginning of each quarter in Storke Plaza.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen? 

Rory had a ton of tips to give to incoming freshmen. From biking to academics, he thinks there’s a lot that freshmen should be prepared for when they make the transition from high school to university. Firstly, everyone should know how to use a roundabout on the bike path. You can get hit or cause an accident, and it’s not pretty.

When it comes to academics, if you want to get a headstart, “make it your priority to get into honors (36 graded units + 3.5 GPA by end of the year) for unbeatable early class enrollment.” Students should also make sure to network with their professors during office hours. “You never know when you’re going to need a good letter of rec.”

Lastly, Rory believes that you should just try to “enjoy the hell out of your freshmen year.” The adjustment period will be rough, but the classes will the easiest in your college career. Take advantage of that and go do what you are interested in during this time. Later on down the line, you may not have as much time to enjoy student life as much. If you are going to be partying your freshman year, don’t sit on the curb no matter what. If you do so, you may have a run-in with the cops and that’s never a good time.

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Celeste Lili is a student + lifestyle blogger and Content/SEO marketer. She loves to write blog posts that provide value to college and high school students about productivity and lifestyle.

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  1. March 1, 2021 / 12:18 pm

    This is a really insightful post, especially loved the section on advice for incoming freshmen! As a freshman myself, the transition has been quite difficult, but there are so many new things to explore! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Tegan
    March 4, 2021 / 12:41 pm

    Great to get a review like this also especially referencing what itโ€™s like during the pandemic!

  3. March 15, 2021 / 1:48 am

    This is great, Lili. Every student have their own way to adjustment.

  4. March 18, 2021 / 9:33 am

    Thank you so much for yet another very insightful post! Being European and having studied only in Europe, I have always wondered what student life on the US West Coast would be like. I guess all those high school TV series back in the days truly sparked my curiosity, lol. I loved reading this comprehensive post on all things UCSB student life. I truly enjoyed reading Rory’s advice to just enjoy the h*** out of student life, as indeed, as a student, you don’t yet have to cope with the responsibilities that later on will be waiting for you. So, indulge, enjoy, share joy, and don’t feel guilty about it! And to all the students out there, please know, that if the ‘responsible and steady’ life is not for you, there’s a beautiful, insecure yet free life waiting for you (I am living it). Love, Susanne