It’s Friday night, and I ask myself, what is the average college sophomore at UCSB doing? Drinking in Isla Vista, obviously. What am I doing? Drinking of course, but not in I.V. I am drinking just outside of UCSB’s own Eden in the University-owned Santa Ynez apartments, which are inconveniently located just a hop, skip and a jump away from Santa Catalina on El Colegio Road. These apartments are fully furnished and a comparative steal at just 500 dollars a month, utilities included! Also, given the current economic crisis, that is as tantalizing as binging on those Freebirds nachos after hitting the Volcano your neighbors splurged on. However, the social price you pay for living in these less-than-homey, albeit cheap, apartments is far worse than the extra $2,000 a year you might shell out to live on a cramped one-bedroom place on Sueno Road.

Due to uncertainties at the end of my freshman year, I gave away a cushy lease I had signed for a place on Sabado with three of my close friends. Upon my decision to return, I was thrown into the university housing system. In the fall, I moved into Santa Ynez with an open mind and, looking past the shitty furniture, cold showers and persistent insect problems. Luckily, my new and randomly selected roommates proved to be good company. Still, these three girls soon became my only company.

Santa Ynez has the remarkable power of not only making you feel like a freshman, but also severely damaging (if not destroying) the friendships I worked so hard to build in Santa Catalina last year. Yes, last year, you couldn’t pry me away from my crazy roommate who woke me up at 2 a.m. to do jazzercise, or the guys across the hall who photoshopped my HIV test to say “Sorry, Bella! HIV positive.”

This year, what with the long walk into I.V. and the humbling drunken stumble back to Santa Ynez next to the froshies (who are no doubt headed to Santa Catalina for a sloppy hook up), I’ve become accustomed to getting drunk within the confines of my depressingly white-walled apartment and passing out next to the only people in Santa Ynez who know my name: my roommates. I am alienated from everyone at UCSB I love and, by proxy, the wonderful culture that envelops Isla Vista. Rather than seeing people flock to Floatopia or hearing the bass of a random band playing on Del Playa from the comfort of my own bed, I get the stories second hand from those smart enough to stay away from university housing. The fact of the matter is that living in Santa Ynez sets me apart from the mass of students that go to UCSB. So, froshies, do yourselves a favor and find yourself a lease before you’re stuck in the hell hole that is university housing.