Welcome, class of 2020! We Gauchos are so excited to welcome you and your tiny little toned bodies to our beachside home. As much as we upperclassmen want to diss you for asking where the Del Playa is, drinking all our alcohol and posting semi-clothed Instas with the caption “Halloween is lit,” we know we will get our comeuppance when the imminent freshman 15 humbles you. That’s right, you may not realize it, but you’re in your physical prime right now. So, incoming freshmen, here is a shoutout to you: six guaranteed ways you can (and inevitably will) gain the freshman 15:
1. DLG late night
Ah, DLG late night. Nothing screams, “Hey, I’m a freshman!” quite like leaving a party early so as not to risk missing late night at DLG. And we won’t blame you. We may even beg you to swipe us in, potentially venmo-ing you the $12 entrance fee on the spot. Of course, then we’ll annoy you by reminiscing on our own drunken stories of midnight in DLG. But faster than you know it, you will become this wise upperclassman, and you, too, will have stories like these worth telling to anyone who will listen. Don’t worry, we peaked in freshman year, too.
2. Freebirds Nachos
If you’re from an upper-middle-class white family like me and 99% of the student population, your parents have already Yelped every single restaurant within walking distance of your dorm, so you may already be familiar with what this “Freebirds” is. Little do you know this will become your drunk mecca, and you will 100 percent find yourself in the middle of DP screaming, “I want nachos!!!” and make every single one of your friends go with you. Your inebriated self will thank you for it; your bank account will not.
3. Santorini Grill in the UCen
There will be days (that come more and more frequently) when you are just over the dining commons. And on those days, you are going to find yourself getting extremely lazy and feeling like I.V. is just one bike ride too far for your self-inflicted, sedentary Netflix bod. The UCen produces great options like Panda Express and Wahoo’s, but one day you, too, will stumble upon the wonder that is Santorini Grill’s Loaded Fries. I did with my freshman year roommate, and they are a game changer.
4. Sweet Alley
Sweet Alley is the worst. Most of the weight you gain freshman year can be attributed to alcohol or food consumed post-alcoholic activities. Not Sweet Alley. You will go to get froyo in the middle of the day and during sunny Santa Barbara’s rare 52-degree rainy weather. Even through your most stressful finals-induced pain you will find time to squeeze in a bag of candy that you definitely don’t need. I don’t know a single person that hates Sweet Alley, but we can all agree that it is THE WORST (jk, Sweet Alley, I love you pls return my calls).
No one will tell you this at the start of the year, but you will discover on your own that Ortega is far superior to DLG. Mac ’n’ cheese bar, baked potato bar, ice cream sundae bar, waffles for dinner bar … and that doesn’t even count the breakfast: all-you-can-eat doughnuts, hashbrowns, eggs, you name it. DLG doesn’t even have weekly breakfast, only weekend brunch, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but nothing beats a pre-8 a.m. snack (you know, that class you took because you thought it wouldn’t be different from high school).
6. Starbucks Rewards Program
If you want to gain weight, the easiest way to do it is to download the Starbucks app on your phone. The second you start collecting stars, earning free items and rewards and learning the wonders of mobile order, you will be hooked. Taking an 8 a.m. in I.V. Theater? You’re a goner. And NOW they put one in the UCen? Next to five of the six freshman dorms? Good luck, those double star days will be the end of you.
Best of luck, incoming freshmen. We’ll be seeing you soon enough, probably at 1 a.m. waiting for some nachos.
Gia Cephal is a junior biology major at UC Santa Barbara who credits her freshman 15 weight-gain to the 95-cent Pringles from Kmart.