UCSB: On the Inside


Hattie Conover, Feature Editor

Jasmin Hirth ‘24 at the University of California Santa Barbara begins her day by longboarding to check the surf. Her foot propelling the longboard toward the ocean, still in sight from the Isla Vista apartment she shares with a roommate. 

“Everything is super laid back, I surf in high tide and then I work my class schedule around it. That is definitely one of the best things about UCSB, everyone is super chill,” Hirth said.

UCSB is a college in Santa Barbara, California. It is a part of the UC system including UC Los Angeles, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley. UCSB is best known for its incredible geography residing on the Pacific coast of California. With a 29% acceptance rate, it is one of the more difficult schools to get accepted into within the UC system, but UCSB students have attested that it is well worth it.

“In high school, I took as many honors and AP classes as I could. I also passed all of my AP exams with a three or higher. Additionally, I did track and cross country and took summer classes at our local community college,” Jasmin explained. “Originally, I came in as a biology major but ended up switching to economics and accounting. Because of my biology area, I was able to get a research internship for two summers in a row. Lastly, I was a part of our campus’ Academic Decathlon club,” Hirth said.

According to Jasmin, UCSB has a party school reputation. Although she wants people to know that many students prefer not to party, and spend most of their Saturday nights inside watching a movie with friends, which she herself has even become more fond of.

“I’ve heard a lot of stereotypes about the college. For example, if you want to live a more laid-back lifestyle– then you come to UCSB. And if you want a more focused and driven lifestyle, you go to Berkeley. But what I have learned is that you’re going to choose what you’re passionate about and take steps to do what you want to do in life,” Hirth said.

While UCSB is known relatively for its relaxed way of living, there are certain majors that require more work and are known across campus as more difficult majors.

“I’ve heard some complaints about biology majors and how busy they are, but students still emphasize that they enjoy what their major teaches them,” Hirth said.

The main form of transportation at UCSB is biking, and there are designated bike parking lots and paths to make it easier for students to get to their classes, dorms, etc. While the majority of students prefer to bike, there are still of course some students who prefer to walk or drive, according to Hirth.

“Biking is really convenient because the college town is right next to the school. Because of this, I live about a three-minute bike ride away from campus, but like a five-minute ride to my actual classes,” Hirth said.

Although biking is preferred by most, there are differences between on-campus biking and biking in towns. 

“No one really wears helmets here, I will see maybe one person every now and then. Another thing is that the campus police can impound bikes like a car if you park it on blocks that aren’t allowed,” Hirth said.

Since the pandemic, housing has become even more of an issue in Isla Vista, the town directly next to UCSB’s campus. Typically, housing isn’t a problem for freshmen, as you would be staying in the dorms, but when you have to begin searching for your own housing, it gets more complicated.

“Personally, I signed my lease for next year in November just because housing is really unpredictable,” Hirth explained.

The main attraction when students come to UCSB is the astounding geography of Southern California and the Pacific Ocean. According to Hirth, you can find students relaxing on the beach at any time of year.

“A lot of people go out and watch a sunset on the bluffs over the ocean, especially in the winter. But how often you visit the beach depends on your lifestyle. If you surf, you may go to the ocean daily, but if you are more into Greek life you might not visit as much,” Jasmin said.

According to the Princeton Review, UCSB students are the happiest campus in California, and Jasmin Hirth feels overjoyed to attest to that.

“There are so many cool things about UCSB, anyone would love it here,” Hirth said.