Event Date: 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Event Date Details: 

Student Information

NAME: Matt

MAJOR: History 

MINOR: Educational Studies Minor


What are some accomplishments you’ve achieved at UCSB that you’re most proud of thus far?

I’d be surprised if someone had told me that by the end of my junior year I’d be a co-leader for the transfer student success class and an undergraduate research assistant. When I arrived at UCSB, I was repeatedly amazed at how many opportunities there are for undergraduate students. You can see them getting leadership and teamwork experience everywhere: leading tours, writing articles for campus newspapers, and spreading awareness about resources. Fellow students, staff members, and instructors are inspiring me to pursue even more opportunities.

How are the instructors different at UCSB than from your previous college(s)?

I used to be intimidated and afraid that instructors might be so focused on their research that they don’t seem as welcoming to the students. Fortunately, however, I have experienced quite the contrary. They have all shown genuine care for teaching. Additionally, their passions for research contribute to an inspiring learning environment. While UCSB instructors’ classes are a great deal more challenging than at my community college, they also consistently display their enthusiasm for helping students succeed through feedback, encouragement, office hours, and fostering a strong sense of accomplishment for outstanding effort from students.

Describe the difference between lecture and discussion sections?

Professors primarily teach the lectures with all students in the class while TAs manage the sections which are smaller parts of the class. Many lower division classes have sections, but upper division classes can have them too. Classes at my community college almost never exceeded 30 students, so the concept of attending smaller sections within a course was foreign to me. There were only several professors per department, and I even took five classes with the same history professor. Therefore, being familiar with instructors was easy. Upon arriving at UCSB, I discovered that I can also appreciate having sections that provide opportunities for valuable mentorship with TAs while admiring world-class professors together.

How did you decide what student organizations to participate in?

Enrolling in ED 118 (or ED 117M in the summer) is an excellent way to be introduced to resources and opportunities on campus. Taking this class in the fall inspired me to join the Transfer Student Alliance and to become a co-leader for ED 118 in the following winter quarter. The experiential activities in ED 118 allow students to attend social events and figure out where they might like to spend more time on campus. I think this also holds true in general for deciding which organizations you’ll enjoy being a part of. By attending different meetings, you will have the pick of the litter for joining an organization that you confidently know will benefit you. There are more organizations I’m hoping to be involved with next year. UCSB students tend to be inclusive and welcoming, so don’t be afraid to explore!

How do you get to and from school and around the city?

UCSB is surrounded by many exciting and beautiful places, but the campus itself is somewhat isolated. If you live on campus or in Isla Vista then biking is generally considered the best option. Some students enjoy living off campus after finding better deals than in IV, but they often also prefer the convenience of a car. For visits to places like downtown Santa Barbara, however, there are service like Lyft and Uber. Also keep in mind that there is both a train station and a municipal airport very close to campus!

Which housing options would you recommend?

My recommendation is to find the housing situation that meets your needs. Consider whether you want a meal plan. Even new UCSB students living off campus sometimes prefer the convenience of having a limited meal plan. You should consider university housing if you want to meet a lot of people, which can also help with your adjustment. Another option, though, is to figure out your roommates in advance and look for an apartment together. No matter what you decide, always plan early!

What are the options for transfer students and dining? Do you have a meal plan or do you cook your own meals?

If you don’t have much experience with cooking, this is a great time to learn. You’ll likely learn some recipes from roommates, who might know how to make interesting meals from different regions or even other countries! I cook my own meals, but I had a meal plan during my first few months after transferring. Even if it’s a limited meal plan, it can be convenient for students struggling to adjust to their new atmosphere. You can use this adjustment period to learn more about cooking, and then you should be ready to go!