Adjusting

The first week is the craziest week.

There was a surge of energy everywhere I went. I’ve never felt anything like it. Finally going to college makes everyone so excited to go out and meet people. As I walked around the first night every door was open, welcoming anyone who stopped by or walked past. The people are so nice and open to meeting everyone around. Trop is so lively, vibrant and ecstatic. The party never ends. There’s music blasting from three different rooms all trying to compete with each other, people yelling across hallways and shenanigans everywhere I looked.

The events held the first week helped to make friends as well. The first night I managed to meet a huge group of people during the Hypnotist show. The show was hilarious. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I’m not the most social person when someone meets me but I’ve slowly accumulated friends over time just by sitting outside my door! May not be the greatest method but it definitely raises heads.

Even though I moved in a day before I surprisingly adjusted well to my room situation. My roommates and I all immediately clicked and we’re always hanging out which is great. Its always nice to have someone to fall back on even if you’ve made other friends or be like me who clearly does not have enough friends as other people.

Despite having to adjust quickly, the atmosphere I came into made it all the better. I have to remember that almost everyone here is in the same boat as I am. From having to make friends to living with several other people, we are all in this together. Remembering that gives me a sense of comfort.

On Sunday evening I was sitting on my bed looking out the window. The sun was just setting. The clouds were scattered above the rooftops giving them a light orange hue. As I looked too see the last sunset of my first week I realized that this is where I am now. This is where I’m meant to be and its going to be okay.

Graduation

A Reflection by Asia Cooley – Tropicana Gardens SBCC Freshman

It felt like a typical high school film. When our senior class president said to turn our tassels to the left there was a sea of red gowns jumping out of their seats. The confetti bombs blasted from all sides of the field, showering us with red and white. I was still sitting down.

I finally get out of my seat to hug Gina, the girl next to me, and some of my other peers around me. While the paper rain was still falling I run to the other side of the field, where my close friends were. We hugged each other like there was no tomorrow and some cried like babies. We shouted “We made it, We made it!” and rejoiced in such a magical moment.

Is that not cliché or what?

That’s the moment that pops into my mind every time I think of my high school graduation. Yes there was plenty of departing messages, congrats and too many pictures but for some reason that moment always sticks in my mind.

In those short moments I was thinking about the entirety of my high school experience. Over the past four years my classes became strenuous and tiring. My self-esteem came in waves, my grades turned into an uphill battle and the drama in my life was a civil war. I cried and fought. I loved and I lost. High School was truly a great and terrible treasure. By senior year I grew into a better person: figuring out what I’m capable of and who I need to be. I accomplished so much. So why was it that it took me so long to get out of that chair? Why did me running to join my friends seem like a cliché?

I realized that I wasn’t done. I worked so hard on studying for tests and exams, constantly drilling myself to get a letter or number on a paper. But I’ve only come to accomplish just the simple things. I didn’t raise myself from that seat for such a long time because I knew I could have done more. I could have been better. I felt like there was something missing that made me feel as though I couldn’t relish in the moment. As I ran to my friends I felt as though it wasn’t over. This moment in time with my friends, with that school is over. However there’s bigger things to come and harder challenges to fact. That will not be simple.

My biggest regret in those moments was that I wish I did sigh in relief. I wish I was proud of what I have done, even if there was more I could have done. I wish I had praised myself for graduating from such an intensive program. Just for a small moment I should feel good about my accomplishments. That’s what I learned from graduation. Take that cliché moment if you have it. It might seem fake but the moment is very very real. Have joy in the victory. Feel good about the goal. There will always be more to do, but think about what’s happening now. And just for a second, take it in.

Maybe clichés aren’t too bad after all.

Get Involved! Build Connections, Make Friends, and Be a Part of the Santa Barbara City College Community!

For many when you decide to take the leap of faith and move away for college, the most difficult part is getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. Already you are at an advantage with having your suitemates and those who live on your floor, but there are still many more opportunities to get involved and meet new people.

Week of Welcome

The Week of Welcome is a Tropicana Tradition where every day of the first week of school has a budget to help you get to know other people in the building who share similar interests. Past WOW programs have included:

  • Wheel Fun – Explore Santa Barbara! Surrey bike around the pier and shoreline of downtown SB.
  • Taste of IV – Get your grub on! Take this opportunity to taste of all of the different restaurants we have here in Isla Vista.
  • Bowling at Zodo’s – Strike! Enjoy a night out one of the coolest bowling allies you’ve ever been to.
  • Casino Night – Black Jack! Put on your Poker face and grab a bag of poker chips to use at different casino themed games. Prizes will be provided to the top winners of the night.
  • Hypnotist Show – Watch your new friends do things they’d NEVER do! Master Hypnotist James Kellogg, Jr. visits from Las Vegas to entertain residents during this extremely memorable show.
  • Movie Night – See the latest #1 movie! Enjoy good a fun night out at the local Camino Real Metropolitan theater.
  • Tie Dye – Let your creative juices flow! with tons of colors and clothing items to choose from!
  • S’mores Night – Make s’more friends! Gather around a cozy campfire using Trop’s s’mores stations to make a delicious dessert.
  • Beach Day – This one of the main reason you moved to SB, right? Bike over to Goleta beach to enjoy a day in the sand playing volleyball and dipping your toes in the ocean.
  • Raffle — Attend all of the events listed, and receive a ticket entry for a prize drawing at the end of the week! Past prizes have included Flat Screen TVs, Beats by Dr.Dre, Gift Cards for local restaurants, and much more!

Tropicana Student Organization (TSO)

Were you active in your schools ASB? Or possibly had a leadership role in a club on campus? Joining the Tropicana Student Organization is a great way to find people similar to you! Meetings are held once a week and we have an executive council who leads each meeting supervised by one of our Residence Directors. Residents hear program proposal from Resident Assistants and vote on what programs get approved and how much money is spent. Residents decide where their TSO money is spent to make sure that the events we do at the building are things our Residents want to attend. By joining TSO you’ll also have the opportunity to plan your own programs in fields you are interested. This is the way fun trips like going to Disneyland or Painting Canvas’ happen. Another cool perk is getting to select the movies that are on Trops TV Channel and Movie viewing website.

On Campus

At SBCC you have an excellent opportunity to be a part of an active student life on campus. Not only are many SBCC classes hands on, so you are getting involved with other students through group activities, but there are also many ways outside of class to get involved. Possible ways to do so include joining a sports team, participating in the theatre department, or joining a club that best suits you.

Trop Programs and Events

Participating in Trop programs is one of the easiest ways to make friends. Your RAs are putting on fun new programs every week that range in a huge variety. Past programs include Painting Canvas’, Hiking Inspiration Point, Playing Dodgeball, Indulging in delicious Boba Tea, Playing Messy Twister, and even Traveling to Disneyland.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that new Tropicana Residents can get involved in their new community and make friends. But don’t just take my word for it; explore our Facebook page to look at all the fun things our residents have done in years past!

Trips around Trop: The Beach(es) in your Backyard

Soft sand between your toes. A light ocean breeze and the bright sun’s warm caress against your back. Your beach towel awaiting your return as you catch a couple of cool waves in the shallows of the Great Pacific. You’re probably thinking, “Cool, Hawaii?” But I kid you not; this is a first-hand (and foot) experience of mine from earlier today.

Living in this little college-town definitely has its perks, and I’d be lying if I said having the Pacific Ocean in your backyard isn’t a huge one of them. Halfway through my first year at UCSB, I realized just how unique my experience here would be: when, again, in my life would I get the chance to live amongst my friends, earning a world-class education, while living practically on the beach? After this little epiphany, I stopped taking my location for granted, and began to actively (and at times obsessively) explore the myriad coastal delights surrounding me.

Pretty much any UCSB student walking on the street will know where Campus Point is; located right next to the larger on-campus residential complex (Anacapa and Santa Cruz Halls look out into the ocean), this beach is a favorite beginner’s surf spot for students and locals alike. I always like to visit the colorful tide pools near the southern end of the point, where it isn’t unusual to see squishy pink starfish during low tide (don’t touch!)

Some other popular beach access points stem from the famous Del Playa Drive, known to locals as DP, hugging the UCSB campus on one side and the ocean on the other. From Trop, this is the east way to get to the beach; when I’m really eager I walk out the door and keep walking southward until I hit DP, and then take the closest staircase down to sea. I can’t put into words how relieving and calming to see this wide expanse of water spread out in front of you, and there is something really comforting in the knowledge that the water is so close to escape to or enjoy. I often think of the ocean as this powerful protective entity that always has your back (in our case, literally!)

My latest coastal craze has been Sands Beach. Beginning at the end of DP, it extends up to Coal Oil Point, which is at the tip of a reserve dedicated to protecting the coastal ecosystem and its particularly threatened bird species, the Snowy Plover. This beach is further from the heart of IV and so often time is more pristine and less crowded than other beaches, and you’re most likely to see sunrise surfers here. There is also a trail alongside the beach, which makes it a picturesque and favorite spot for runners and yoga-doers alike. The latest fad has been bringing giant air-filled rafts to laze around in the sea with friends.

This only scratches the surface of the plentiful local seaside paradises; the list goes on and on. Additionally, as only a second year here at UCSB, I don’t pretend to know all the beaches around here, and am not a surfer in any consideration. But that’s the best part about it! Anyone here can enjoy and benefit from the beautiful beaches around us, swim or tan or jog or maybe even learn to surf. That’s my goal, and I still have two years here to look forward to. Who knows what they’ll bring!

Info on the Coal Oil Point Reserve: http://coaloilpoint.ucnrs.org/

UCSB Campus Map: http://www.aw.id.ucsb.edu/maps/ucsbmap.html

What are Resident Assistants at Tropicana’s College Residence Hall and How Can They Assist Me?

As a Resident Assistant (RA) at Tropicana Gardens, there are a variety of different hats I wear: counselor, advisor, mediator, resource, programmer/event planner, and a friend.

Trop’s intensive RA training process has equipped me to deal with a variety of situations. Say you and your roommates seem to be butting heads a lot. That would be a predicament where you could come to me and ask for advice, or where I could help mediate the situation so you could all come to a mutual agreement.

Another instance where my help would come into play would be for any possible emergency. Every night, there are two RAs on “duty”, which means we are responsible for doing community walks of the building to ensure laws and our residence hall community standards are being followed, such as quiet hours and alcohol & drug policies. We also carry the duty phone, which you can call for a minor emergency (like being locked out of your room), but also for more extreme situations.

Because RAs are generally sophomores (there may be juniors and seniors as well), we’re a valuable resource for you. We’ve “been there and done that” at Santa Barbara City College and we’ve lived in Isla Vista and Santa Barbara for at least a year. So we can help you with bus schedules, tell you how to get around on campus, and even give you our reviews of local coffee shops and restaurants!

One of my favorite parts of the RA job is hosting events and programs, with a goal of building relationships within our community. RAs try to incorporate a variety of diverse experiences such as painting a canvas, trips to Disneyland, paintball tournaments, and s’mores nights. We love having input from our residents about what types of events would interest them. My favorite function that I hosted with fellow RA Evelin was Trop’s first ever Winter Formal dance. It took a lot more planning than most programs, but a resident committee helped us create a magical winter wonderland. We had a great turn out and danced the night away.

You can kind of see how this job isn’t like a normal 9-5 job. I have a lot on my plate when it comes to my RA responsibilities, and I also have my schoolwork to think about. It’s my residents who make it all worth it.

When I first met all of my residents, I didn’t know what they were going to think of me. Being a theater major I’m a very “out there” person, which can be a lot for people to handle. However my residents seemed to enjoyed my personality and felt comfortable coming to me for questions and advice. During the year I got to know my residents on a very personal level, which made saying our goodbyes harder than I expected. There were nights where I’d go over to their rooms to help with homework or they’d come to mine to watch the classic “Land Before Time” series on Netflix. I cannot express how lucky I am to have known this group of individuals, many of whom I now consider to be my friends.

I think the best way to sum up the RA’s job is that we’re really here to make sure you have the best year possible. We all remember how scary freshmen year can seem, not having the support of your family and friends, and we truly want to make to this transition as smooth as possible.

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween Weekend!

As many of you know, Halloween is just around the corner… BOO! Don’t be scared though, if you follow these 5 tips you’ll have a fun and safe Halloween that you’ll always remember!

1.Flat shoes means safe shoes. Wearing heels is a no-go.

You will be walking around a lot and might not have the best surface of walking. You don’t want to have to hobble back to your room because of a sprained ankle or gash on the knee from falling. Wear some cool Chuck Taylors or boots and be comfortable all night.

2.Do the buddy system thang.

People always say that “two is better than one” and this is definitely true when it comes to Halloween. You don’t want to get lost in the packs of people that come and visit. People are dressed up and Halloween always brings the crazy out, so stay safe by staying in a group. The more the merrier.

3.Know your limits and stick with them.

We all know that Halloween is a fun time to dress up and go out! If you do decide to drink, know when to stop. Just because you want to enjoy the night doesn’t mean you have to forget it. Limit yourself to one drink per hour with water in between (and don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to!). 

4.R.E.S.P.E.C.T… it’s good for the soul.

While you all are having a blast and looking fabulous in your costumes make sure you remember that people are still trying to work by keeping you safe. Understand that police officers and paramedics are on high alert and don’t give them a reason to have reasonable cause. Respect the property you are on … no one likes a trouble-maker.

5.Your phone may not be your ticket to getting home.

As Halloween in IV can get a bit crowded, that also means the airwaves are getting crowded as well.  With people posting, texting, and calling 90% of the time, it will be harder and sometimes impossible to get in communication with other people. Have a plan before leaving the house and stick with it. Yes that means be prepared to have no contact with those outside of your group… even more incentive to stay in a group!

If you stick with these 5 safety tips, whether its during Halloween or anytime you venture into the Isla Vista world!  Use common sense and safety first!

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