Sit back and imagine yourself immersed in the sun. Now, take a second to picture yourself beyond the proverbial rat race of your everyday life as a UCSB student, where parking is superfluous and the bike lanes are surprisingly vacant.

Imagine yourself sitting on an old musty couch on a balcony overlooking the ocean, a 40 in hand and another marinating in the fridge, ready for your friendly grip. Now picture this on a Tuesday afternoon, ready to get annihilated, and at the same time, you’re ahead of your reading assignment for the next day.

But Mr. 40 Oz., this serene scenario you speak of can’t possibly be Isla Vista.

Or can it?

For those of you reading this, chances are you are lucky enough to have made the correct decision to stay for the summer in our slum of a utopia — or is it the other way around? And if it’s your first venture into spending summer under Santa Barbara’s ever-shining sun, all I can say is congratulations.

Summer reminds me of what has been described as Isla Vista’s good ol’ days — the I.V. Renaissance if you will. The modern Isla Vista is dominated by the “fall offensive,” pointless acts of violence, iPod thieving assholes and, ultimately, a total lack of respect for each other. I suppose that’s the product of 16,000 x 16,000 kegs in a square mile on the California coast, but if the past is any indication, this absurd behavior seems to pass away between the months June and September.

Summer possesses a strange serendipitous mantra. You never know when you will run into an old buddy from the dorms and rekindle the friendship because you’re in a nine person class, as opposed to just another assembly line of students hoarded in and out of colossal lecture halls. You know how it goes.

Here’s your research paper, Professor X.

Here’s your grade, kid.

Rinse, wash, repeat.

In the summer though, students seem to exist once again. During the summer one can take a class per session and actually have a voice. As much as I wish I could fully submerge myself in a class, on top of a full courseload, on top of selling my soul to the Nexus on a night-in, night-out basis, that’s just out of the realm of reality. It’s more like: poop out one uninspired, pedestrian research paper, only to do the same thing two days later.

Oh, but beloved beer columnist, no one is here during the summer. What becomes the fate of Isla Vista’s infamous party scene?

Well, my little naysayer, in the summer the parties actually are better. Sure, when we were freshmen, stumbling down DP to see those mammoth frontyard ragers was pretty exhilarating — for a little while, at least. Is it really that fun to stand shoulder to shoulder with a handful of random drunks and wait 20 minutes just for a cup of Natty Light? Waiting is for the fishes.

Parties during the summertime echo the underlying theme of Santa Barbara’s laid-back “chill” time, as you SoCal kids would say. Social drinking games experience a rebirth, while the “getting fucked up as quickly as possible and searching for ass on DP” mantra takes a distant back seat.

Sure, there are some downfalls to the summer. The occasional incoming freshmen or their transportation-challenged parents will fail to heed the warning of their esteemed O-staffers and berate you by stepping in front of your cruiser on the way to class. Yeah, the surf sucks. The seemingly inevitable battle between the Giants and the Dodgers for the NL West are plagued to duke it out all summer for third place.

But for those of you who haven’t fully experienced the fulfillment of having more time to extend yourself to enjoy a class or found yourself at an intimate party playing kings all night making new friends as you go, believe me, summer’s shortcomings are easily dwarfed by the benefits of living in our coastal utopia for the summer.


Daily Nexus sports editor Sean Swaby will attempt to compensate for the absence of most Gauchos by drinking just that much more. He’s a beast.