House It Going?


Adam Shelley

Photo by Margarita Baliyan

As students, we should prepare mentally and physically for the barrage of stress thrown at us on a daily basis. A great way to avoid losing the uphill battle against the mountain of assignments and exams throughout the academic school year is to have a good home base—a headquarters, if you will. This is where housing comes into play. As a student, acknowledging the benefits of a few variables that determine the best housing can make all the difference in your career here at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Now, it’s easy for some to say: “It doesn’t really matter where I live, as long as I can get my work done and still socialize on the weekends.” Sure, but it seems that that confidence is not always warranted; where you live directly affects the workflow at one point or another throughout the quarterly grind. Your ability to get work done can be affected by several factors such as location, room size and situation, price, roommates, and regulation.

For starters, location changes everything. Obviously there is a natural progression for younger students to go from living on campus dorms to living in apartments in Isla Vista—and occasionally, the older and perhaps slightly more mature student who wants to “get out of that IV scene,” will move to downtown Santa Barbara. For obvious reasons all three locations have a drastically different influence on the student’s mentality and productivity, with both negative and positive qualities. Pros: The dorms offer students a simple lifestyle, providing food, shelter, and, in my experience, the occasional hot shower; apartments in Isla Vista are social and in the center of activity; and living downtown offers easy access to jobs, bars, and clubs. Cons: The dorms situate students like packing-peanuts, apartments in Isla Vista are questionably sanitary, and apartments downtown Santa Barbara are just too far away. In the end, the aspect of location can be attributed to an issue of preference.

As students it is helpful to be aware that university housing is a viable option; however, be aware that the regulatory presence is much more apparent. Resident Administrators, Coordinators, Community Coordinators, and the plethora of other -ators come along with living in university housing, which to me really breaks the image of the “college-lifestyle” so often observed in pop culture. This is where regulation becomes an oppressive burden on the social preferences of individuals who intend to be actively involved with the party scene. In short, university housing is like living with another set of parents.

When all is said and done, price is usually what brings anyone to a final decision. As students begin to search for housing the price of rent becomes a determining factor. Of course, there are obvious financial benefits to living in dorms or university housing; however, who can deny that paying extra to live oceanside on Del Playa isn’t worth it? These are just some of the aspects of housing that one should think about when preparing to make a decision of where to live for the upcoming 2013-14 academic year.