Things I wish I knew before I came to UCSB

  1. Sailing: I finally signed up for my first sailing class the spring of my sophomore year. These classes fill up super quickly so by the time my window to sign up for classes opened up, they were already full. If you are interested in sailing (which is super fun), just try to crash the first class even if it is full. Most likely, you will be given an add code. There are also competitive JV and varsity sailing teams as well as community races on bigger boats on Wednesdays during the spring and winter quarters called Wet Wednesdays.
  2. Research internships: I wanted to find an internship for the first summer here but I didn’t know about the opportunities that were available here at UCSB. I ended up working at a hostess for that summer. If you are interested in research and want to be financially support for it, check out SIMS, AIM, GORMAN, EUREKA, McNair, MARC, RISE, FLAM, etc. I am myself a RISE and MARC scholar and these opportunities have allowed me to do funded research for two summers and three academic years.
  3. Massage chairs: One of my favorite places to go to is the career service building where there are massage chairs. They have recently been moved to a building next door but these chairs are next-level relaxing. They help to loosen up my muscles, especially when I am stressed.
  4. Find a mentor: I got really lucky to have found two amazing faculty mentors. They have written me countless recommendation letters and have helped me get into amazing graduate and medical programs. In my opinion, having good relationships with faculty mentors are the most important part of undergrad. Not only can they introduce you to amazing opportunities such as scholarships and internships, their recommendations can help you land that dream job/program.
  5. Adventure program: If you like the outdoors, check out the adventure program. I have gone on some amazing trips with them: backpacking through the Grand Canyons for a week, canoeing the Colorado River, etc. You will meet cool people who might share your interests. They also offer adventure passes for about $50 bucks a year that will let you rent anything from surfboards, wetsuits, camping gears, paddle boards, kayaks, hammock, and more. Currently, I am trying their Wine Tasting class.
  6. Textbooks: Textbooks can be expensive. Don’t rush to buy them until you are sure that you will be taking those classes and that they are needed. You might meet a friend who could find the pdf version. Check to see if you can get them from the library or if you can get them on the Facebook page “Free & For Sale (UCSB)” for cheaper.
  7. Enjoy: It is bitter-sweet that my time at UCSB is coming to an end. I love this town and I wish I had more time to enjoy it before I have to leave. I will keep the memories and the friends that I have made here in my heart. These four years have gone by so quickly but they have been the best years of my life.

Shay Nguyen

Shay is a fourth-year student at UCSB. She loves to paint, play pool and sail. She traveled all the way from Florida to Santa Barbara to study Biochemistry and she has been working in an Organic Chemistry lab with Dr. Javier Read de Alaniz. She gets super excited to make molecules that has never been made before and to learn more about the chemistry that is all around her.