I’m currently a second year living in Manzanita Village. Before moving in, I knew that Manzanita had a reputation of being “the quiet dorms” or “the antisocial dorms.” For someone who likes peace and quiet, I didn’t think that was such a bad thing. However, after actually living here for over a quarter, I won’t be extending my housing contract for next year.
First of all, living in the dorms is extremely expensive, costing a little more than $1,300 a month for a triple and ten meals. You can get an apartment for half that price in Isla Vista or Goleta. Second, you must get a meal plan when you live in the dorms. It’s not that the dining food is terrible. I just don’t want to eat it all the time. Plus, I like to eat whenever I feel like it, and not have to be confined by the dining common hours.
Manzanita Village truly lives up to it’s anti-social reputation. Since we aren’t the “freshman dorms” there isn’t much going on around here. I want to mention that we never even got doorstoppers. When I was a freshmen living in Santa Cruz Hall, these were an essential for cultivating a communal environment. It was common to leave your door open and welcome your floor mates. In Manzanita, the doors all remain shut and the same friendly atmosphere does not exist.
Though I consider myself the quiet type, sometimes Manzanita is too quiet for even my taste. Often times I can hear the toilet flush from the other side of the building. I avoid playing music out loud because everyone around me can probably hear it.
I really do not recommend living in Manzanita Village as a first year because there is no social life and it’s much harder to make many friends in your dorm. That’s not always the case, but “freshman dorms”, such as Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa, are called “freshman dorms” for a reason. The “freshman dorms” have a much more social atmosphere and always have some kind of events happening to foster close ties among residents. Last year, my dorm played a game of Assassins which got the whole building involved.
Even though there are many negatives about living in the dorms your second year, there are obviously some positives. Manzanita’s location is very convenient. For someone who doesn’t ride a bike, it’s nice to be able to wake up at a later time to get to class. I also can go to my dorm to take a nap between classes. If I forget something, I can just quickly swing by my dorm to get it.
Though the constant quiet can be uncomfortable, at times it can be beneficial. Since it is so quiet, it is a great place to study. In the dorms, the process of getting out of a bad living situation is simple. Changing a housing contract is much more difficult anywhere else. Being charged on your BARC account while living in the residence halls make paying bills significantly easier.
Living on campus is quite expensive and living in Manzanita in particular isn’t much fun. The environment here is not as friendly as I would like and can often be quite boring. Despite my personal feelings, living in Manzanita is definitely not the worst thing in the world. However, my plans after this year don’t involve living on campus again.