Peyton Stotelmyre / Daily Nexus

How many cans of yerba mate can I safely chug in one go before I can no longer feel my own pulse and can read people’s minds? 

I don’t know if this is just me, but that’s precisely how I feel after just one poorly timed yerb. 

I had never tried canned yerba mate before coming to UC Santa Barbara, and that minty deliciousness changed my life forever. Nothing delights me more than the unnerved glances of my classmates when I crack open a fresh yerb at an 8 a.m. section. Luckily, there’s no shortage of the drink on campus. From vending machines to free Associated Students Program Board giveaways to the full pallets of the stuff sold in the Tenaya Market & Eatery, you’ll have countless opportunities to experiment with your own caffeine tolerance here in Gaucholand.

HOWEVER, I feel that the normalization of caffeine addiction, especially for overworked and already stressed college students, is an insidious aspect of our college culture. I’m sure you already know of the possible health risks of over-caffeination, but what bothers me the most is how caffeinated drinks, especially yerba mate, are often overpriced and come with wasteful packaging. Is all of this really worth it for a temporary buzz?

HOWEVER (part 2), if you’re looking for the specific benefits you mentioned, I would recommend just taking a yoga seminar.

I want to try one marijuana. Does Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) have any tutoring sessions where you can try one marijuana? 

Listen, I’m gonna tell you this because you seem cool, but you have to promise not to tell anyone else. What you’re gonna do is walk up to the front desk in the Student Resource Building and ask for Jerry. He’ll give you the secret CLAS menu, and you can figure it out from there.

Now that you’ve tried your one marijuana, let me take it one step farther. If you’re the entrepreneurial type, I’d recommend CLAS’ tutoring groups on biology, chemistry and economics for some great inspiration to one day start your own pot farm. You can even take advantage of the drop-in sessions on language and writing to have a qualified tutor proofread your promotional materials for your new, highly regarded business. 

CLAS also offers resources on time management and student employment opportunities, which I believe will lead you to the highest degree of success in both your academic and psychedelic pursuits.

A senior told me back in fall that the UC Police Department (UCPD) has a secret vomit investigations unit (he called them the “Puke Police”), where detectives would sample vomit and bodily fluids left on the street, DNA test the samples, identify the person and then have the district attorney file charges against the perpetrator for misdemeanor littering. I accidentally vomited my entire Smirnoff Ice and remnants of beef stroganoff on Del Playa last weekend. How long does the investigation usually take before I get found out? And will UCSB find out about the charges?

So, knowing the state of our criminal justice system and the reputation of the UCPD, I have no doubt that this is absolutely true, and you should be very scared. Luckily, Isla Vista is such a mess of “bodily fluids,” as you put it, on any given weekend (or weekday!) that you’ve got some time before The Law gets around to knocking on your door. In the meantime, I recommend you take a good look at your life choices and try to figure out not only what possessed you to drink Smirnoff Ice, which is offensive enough on its own, but why you thought it would be a good idea to mix it with beef stroganoff. It sounds like that one’s on you, dude.

In all seriousness, you probably (probably) have nothing to worry about. The UCPD is still on the hunt for that bobcat that was prowling campus last year, and the raccoons undoubtedly got to your spilled leftovers long before the cops did.

I once let my tortoise play in the ocean. However, he refused to touch the water, even though tortoises are natural swimmers. What is wrong with my tortoise?

I’m no zoologist, but it sounds like you’ve got a classic case of TWA (Tortoise Water Aversion) on your hands. I would recommend a course of exposure therapy for your little shelled friend, starting with simply holding him near a running tap and gradually increasing exposure until he’ll happily splash around in the bathtub. Over time, he may be willing to try the ocean again, but patience is key. There’s no way to force your tortoise to embrace his “nature.”

There is also the possibility that your pet does not even know what a tortoise is meant to do, due to a lack of interaction with other members of his species. If this seems to be the case, I’d say bring your tortoise down to the pond in Storke Plaza and encourage him to mingle with the turtles that live there in blissful harmony with the koi fish and CALPIRG tablers. Perhaps he’ll even catch a glimpse of the famed man-sized turtle associated with that particular student group. Beware, though, for once exposed, he may not want to leave that paradise.


A version of this article appeared on p.16 of the August 27, 2020 print edition of the Daily Nexus.


AJ is the advice guru of the Daily Nexus. Multiple writers contribute to Ask AJ. If you know who they are, keep it to yourself. Remember, snitches get stitches.