Housing – it’s a jungle out there. There are quite a few choices for us Gauchos. You can try to be a Resident Assistant and get your housing paid for, which is a pretty sweet deal. The only problem with trying to become a R.A. is you don’t find out whether or not you are accepted until near the end of February, which pretty much means you’ve fucked your chances of any and all good housing in Isla Vista. Or you can try and live in an apartment or house.

In the case of houses, it’s all about location, location, location. If you were smart enough and lucky enough, next year you’re living on either the 6500 or 6600 block of anywhere from Del Playa Drive to Sueno Road. If you’re a little less lucky, due to your procrastion while looking for housing, or had problems finding roommates, you’re living on the 6700 block. I’m living on the 6700 block of Sabado Tarde, but it’s all good because I have some chill-ass roommates. If you haven’t yet gone looking for housing, don’t be afraid to knock on people’s doors and ask to take a look around. Speaking from experience, most people are friendly and won’t hesitate to let you in, even if there is a 5-foot bong sitting next to their couch. Some houses or duplex’s can be fooling because as shitty as the outside may look – the inside may look great. If you’re looking for a house, it’s always worth it to pay a little more for a yard. A yard is a perfect place for a beer pong table, as I’m sure you’ve seen from numerous places on DP. Most places in I.V. have a Web site or a phone number you can call to talk to someone. Agents are generally nice and forthcoming about which places are already leased and which are still available. To reserve a place, you have to bring in an application, and that application has to be approved before you can sign a lease. Generally, it takes at the least one to two days for the real estate companies to let you know whether or not you have been approved.

Going to the sign can be a huge hassle. You need a cosigner and bank account number. Get it over with as soon as possible. By now, you’ve already missed packed offices full of real estate agents waiting for you to sign a lease. Now you’ll be able to make an appointment at your leisure. Needless to say, when you go to sign, make sure you actually READ everything you’re signing. The lease includes what is expected of you as a lessee, and what is expected from the company you’re leasing from. You don’t want to sign thousands of dollars away when you don’t agree with something in the lease. The contract you sign explicitly expresses what you can and cannot do with your apartment. Painting your house or hanging clotheslines would be an example of what you cannot do with most places. A mid-level price range for I.V. would be $600 per month. Places can go up to $700 or $750 if you’re living on DP. The biggest advantage to living in Santa Barbara is the beach and the weather. The disadvantage, however, is the zip code. Santa Barbara has the fourth-highest-priced zip code in the United States, above even Los Angeles. My friends in San Diego and Sonoma can get a two bedroom, one bathroom place for $1,000. I have to pay $600 per month. It sucks that rent is high, but paradise comes with its prices.

Either way, next year is a year to look forward to: new people to meet, new places to party and new places to christen. If you’re living in a residence hall this year, next year has endless possibilities. Tons of people I know are getting their own houses, and needless to say, I’ll be visiting them more than once next year to partake in their festivities.