As a new freshman I have learned many things in my first month of college.

1. There is more to life than high school. Leaving high school was the best thing I’ve done in my 18 years of life thus far. When I see people wearing their high school letterman jackets around campus, I simply can’t understand. I feel like that specific article of clothing practically screams “FRESHMAN!” which, for a group of students who try as hard as we possibly can to avoid being recognized as such, seems to be counterproductive. I don’t feel any desire to wear my high school attire; instead I often find myself and other first years searching through the bookstore trying to find the perfect UCSB sweatshirt, tank top or (let’s be honest) shot glass. However, I have it from a very reliable source that wearing UCSB attire is also a no-no for freshmen.

I’m starting to think that this mission of flying under the radar is impossible. It feels like we’re Steve and Doug Butabi from “A Night at the Roxbury” — no matter what we do to try to fit in, we stand out like a sore thumb. I’ve decided to embrace my status as a first year, have as much shameless fun as I can and make as many mistakes as possible. I am a freshman after all.

2. The word “no” is not necessarily a part of every student’s vocabulary. Walking past the Arbor and all the picnic tables toward Davidson has the potential to be a very nice trip — if only it weren’t filled with hundreds of crazy people trying to promote their cause by giving you flyers, stickers, cups, pencils and any other useless item they can think of that you truly don’t want or need. (The cups are nice though — thanks.)

I had a plan: I was going to outsmart the system and walk on the backside of the picnic tables. What a bust that turned out to be. I still got bombarded with questions about whether I was registered to vote, if I would be interested in studying abroad or if I wanted to join a particular group. When I said, “No, thank you,” I received a blank, confused stare and more questions and random facts. Hadn’t I just said no?! I’ve seen many other people go through the same process, which brings me to the conclusion that either people don’t understand the term “no” or they simply don’t care that you are uninterested.

For such an educated bunch of scholars, you’d think that this word would be well known — not so. I’ve found this conclusion to be true across the board. Not only do people not care whether you want random stuff, they also don’t care if you’re “not drinking.” In actuality, you probably will be.

3. Making eye contact is a perfectly acceptable reason to ask for a girl’s number. Being the outstanding student that I am, I try my absolute hardest to make time to study every day. So, every day I head over to the library, UCen or a coffee shop to study and get my WebWork done. While studying, I have been witness to and a victim of the infamous “eye-contact hook-up.” Apparently, some guys are just so amazingly awesome that making eye contact with a girl for a whole second can be put on the same level as introducing themselves, having a good conversation and becoming new friends, or even a random hook-up turned friendship (two “normal” means of getting a girl’s number). The thoughts that go through these guys’ heads are truly a mystery. Whatever makes them think that simply being in the same room, or square mile, is a good reason to try and get some digits is unbeknownst to me and every other girl in I.V. Ladies, beware. Start memorizing those fake numbers.

In conclusion, college (UCSB in particular) is the shit, don’t bother saying no — they’re still going to pour you a shot, and finally, either get a fake number or (if you’re trying to get your number out there) start making eye contact with as many people as possible.