To UC Santa Cruz freshmen and transfers

I signed up for the COMET program at school that connects existing transfers to potential transfers, so students interested in UCSC can talk to someone that’s currently attending in their major. A couple of friends are attending, too so I thought I’d put down my advice on how to make the most of university here.

The Squiggle at sunset

Participate in naked run

Every year the first night it rains, just before 10pm people begin to congregate in the Porter quad and begin to lose their clothing. The several hundred people make their way around all the colleges in a mad run, usually stopping at each college to shout and scream at everyone to come down and join them. The last two years we broke into the pool at the end, too.

It’s pretty much the most fun thing ever.

The food is good, for a while

Initially I was pretty stoked at having burgers and pizza and cereal available most hours of the day. By the end of the quarter I was used to it. Somewhere in winter I got pretty sick of it. The dining hall food is better than you’d expect but you’ll get sick of it eventually.

Visit any of the restaurants on campus and you’ll be much better off, though they don’t work with meal plans, except Owl’s Nest which takes 55-meals.

Go to OPERS’ club day

At the end of welcome week, all the clubs set up on the east field. It’s all the way across campus so I nearly skipped the first year but it’s a great way to see what’s out there, plus the food is absurdly good. Everyone gets some food tokens, and at the end I waited at the exit to beg for peoples unused tokens and came home with a massive amount of heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn, and bread.

Sign up for intra-mural sports

While you’re at OPERS, check out the intra-mural sports booth. Don’t confuse this with something serious where you travel to other schools - this is on campus teams assembled of friends that want to play ultimate frisbee or soccer or dodgeball. It’s a blast.

The dorms are great, the apartments are better

I absolutely loved living in the dorms my first year but it’s not for everyone. Even in Porter A, where we were all transfers and so a fair bit older, the RAs and CSOs (campus security) would regularly do rounds - you can party but the quiet hours rules are pretty strict. On the other hand, in the on-campus apartments I’ve never seen any CSOs; we’re left to our own devices. Pick some friends and grab an apartment together for your second year.

If you want to party, join the ski/snowboard club

If you’re at all interested in either getting on the slopes or binge drinking, join the ski club. They’ll be at OPERS day but aren’t officially school affiliated, so they won’t have a booth.

4/20 is kind of crazy

UCSC has a huge reputation for being a marijuana-filled school and it’s poorly deserved I think. There’s kids smoking weed but you can find that anywhere. The exception is April 20th, where Porter Meadow fills up with a thousand or so kids lighting up. The school can’t exactly stop it so they just try to make it a hassle by shutting down campus for the day.

Have a blast

It’s the last chance you get before you actually have to grow up. It feels busier than city college in terms of workload but I think it’s important to make the most of it socially while you can.