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We are midway through the eighth week of Winter Quarter, which means two things: One: Spring is in the air and the sun will soon be out in true Santa Barbara fashion, and … Two: Many of you are nearing the conclusion of your undergraduate careers.
The time is now to do everything you have always wanted to at UCSB. Don’t worry, I won’t be cheesy and yammer on about “carpe diem,” but the clock is definitely ticking and there is still a lot for you to accomplish. If you are not sure where to start, never fear. The Nexites have compiled our own “Santa Barbara Bucket List” that you can adopt as your own or that you can use as a starting point for your own creative to-do list. Remember, it’s never too early to live life to the fullest, so whether you’re a first-year student or a long-time local, we hope this inspires you to seek out adventure and explore what the area has to offer.
1. Study Abroad, managing editor Lexi Pandell
During Fall Quarter of my junior year, I dropped everything and studied abroad in Ghana. I probably learned more during my five months abroad than during my entire undergraduate career at UCSB.
I enrolled in unique courses, traveled throughout Ghana and Togo, volunteered at a refugee camp, taught English at a local school, wrote regularly for the Nexus’ Daily Nexog, tried a slew of new food and met many lifelong friends.
Whether you decide to go to Europe or Asia and whether you leave for a summer or an entire year, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travel opportunities will present themselves throughout your life, but you may never get another chance to literally live somewhere else — and, trust me, living somewhere is vastly different than just visiting for a couple weeks.
2. Lean How to Surf, editor-in-chief Elliott Rosenfeld
I hear it all the time in Isla Vista. Someone will wistfully watch from their balcony as their fellow students dance on the waves below and exhale with a sigh, “I wish I could surf.”
Well, you can. The most daunting obstacle to getting in the water is overcoming your fear of starting the whole process. But, once you try it, surfing is a simple pleasure. All it takes is perseverance to become adept at riding a board.
It’s easy to start, too. You can find a buddy who surfs to teach you, join a local surf camp or even get bold, buy a board, throw yourself into the waves and teach yourself.
Just make sure to brush up on your swimming skills before you head into the water, and make sure you have someone with you if you’re beginner. The ocean is unpredictable — while it can be fun, remember to never turn your back to the sea.
3. Sleep (with someone) on the beach, county editors Garik Hauer, Erika Martin and Madison Mederios
We have lived by the ocean our entire lives, but only since moving to Isla Vista have we realized that the beach is so much more than a place to surf or tan. Spice up the typical weekend “grind” and venture down onto the sand to enjoy the ocean’s stellar ambience. Look up the next meteor shower for an extra passionate night of romance with your special someone or a one-night stand you’ll never forget. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a couple blankets or a sleeping bag.
4. Take a Trip … in your mind, opinion editors Nadia Ismail and Steven Begakis
College is about experimentation, exploration and learning how to use literary devices other than alliterations. Luckily, taking drugs falls into the first two categories and can aid in all kinds of soul-searching and mind-bending.
We’re not talking about the hard stuff. We’re not talking about drug abuse. But we are talking about smoking a bowl with a great group of friends and just chilling. And thinking about your role in the universe, or whatever. Psychotropic drugs are great too — just use with care. UCSB is a liberal campus and it’s almost a shame to not explore altered states of consciousness while it’s still accepted by your peers. Your mind is the last frontier, and we think it’d be a cool thing to check it out before checking out of UCSB.
5. Play Bocce Ball, sports editors Ravi Bhatia and Mark Bogard
Speaking of smoking a bowl … roast one with your buds and go play Bocce Ball at one of the Del Playa parks, preferably the one with the green grass and hilly terrain between the 6500 and 6600 blocks. It will cure your Saturday hangover and allow you to be both lazy and competitive at the same time. You can buy your own bocce ball set for 22 bucks on Amazon.
6. Eat … Everywhere!, layout editor Amanda Hill
What better way is there to experience every aspect of UCSB than through food?
Everyone and their mom knows about Freebirds, as the quesarito and monster burrito are surely two of mankind’s greatest inventions, yet few people know the greatness of the Arbor’s hot dog stand. There are countless other great restaurants at our disposal. By the time I graduate I want to say I’ve tried the fare from every local eatery. Maybe I’ll even find something even — gasp — better than Freebirds.
7. Go on an Adventure With UCSB’s Adventure Programs, university editors Maane Khatchatourian, Jenna Ryan and Katherine Friedman
The university’s Adventure Programs is certain to help you fulfill more than one item on your bucket list. The program offers everything from canoeing down the Colorado River, to backpacking through Yosemite Valley to going scuba diving in the Channel Islands. However, we think the best extreme sport offered by the department is paragliding.
UCSB Adventure Programs and Eagle Paragliding collaborate to provide thrill-seekers a paragliding lesson once almost every month. The class is available to anyone between 17-75 years of age — regardless of experience level — and costs $175 for students and $200 for nonstudents. Although it’s a steep charge, you can’t put a price tag on realizing your childhood dream of flying.
The adventure begins at Elings Park in downtown Santa Barbara. It then takes flight, providing paragliders with views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. Riders ultimately land on a hill and return to the startling line to relive the journey again.
8. Audit a Class, copy editor Nader Heidari
It is difficult to think of something that one must do before they leave UCSB that does not involve sex, intoxicants or dubstep. It may take a while to discover, but past the hazy paradise of I.V. life, there exists a university. Not just any one, mind you, but a damn good one, employing professors that tend to be at least somewhat renowned in their area of study.
Now, before you begin the mantra of “NERD,” let me remind you that our campus has a course on porn. Furthermore, you are sitting in on classes you are NOT enrolled in. That means no papers, no midterms. No time-vampiric assignments. No forced attendance. Basically, all the awesome parts of classes without all of the stress-inducing, GPA-destroying gauntlets you usually have to run to grab a few units.
Of course, make sure you aren’t keeping a seat from a person who is actually enrolled in the class, and clear it with the professor first. Don’t be that guy who takes up space and just surfs Facebook the entire time. No one likes that guy. Not even his 56 Facebook friends.
9. Take a Moment to Check Out the View, photo editors Aaron LaRue and John Kopecky
We as photographers are utterly spoiled living in Santa Barbara. With the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Pacific Ocean and the vibrant local culture, there’s always a “kodak moment” at hand. But regardless of how many great sunsets you’ve shot from DP, anyone who considers him/herself a visual stimulation addict (as we do ourselves) can not leave Santa Barbara without putting in a little more effort.
If you drive up the 154 and take East Camino Cielo for about 20 minutes of 180 degree switchbacks — not for those with weak stomachs — you’ll find yourself at the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains with a breathtaking panoramic view of all of Santa Barbara. To make it more interesting, check out Knapp’s Castle — the ruins of an old hunting lodge easily accessible via trail near the top.