Getting Around: Tropicana’s Tips for Day-to-Day Transportation

Throughout high school, I had my “independence baby steps,” aka little things to prove to myself, and my parents, that I would be able to take care of myself as an adult. Little things like cooking for myself, doing my own laundry, obtaining a job, and the big one—driving. I think the first thing I did when I got my license was book it to American Apparel to buy a top I’d been eying. But who could blame me? I had a car, I had my freedom!

“So what am I getting at?” you might be asking. Well, just as soon as many of us have gotten our licenses, we are shipped off to college and must resort back to our early years when our bike, skateboard, or public transportation were our only means of getting anywhere on our own.

So I’ve put together a guide, one might say, to how everything will be okay without a car.

Your skateboard can get you pretty much anywhere in Isla Vista, and you don’t have to worry about the time or hassle of locking it up because you can simply carry it with you. Skateboarding can easily get you to the Rec Center, IV Deli, Freebirds (for world-famous burritos!), and the beach. And if you are one of the many who has not yet mastered the art of balancing, might I suggest you dig out that trusty scooter you refused to let your parents give away? Come on, you kept it for a reason.

Your second means of transportation: your bike. We know you still have it from those glorious years of high school, so bring it with you to college. (If you don’t have a bike, don’t fret. There is a bike shop just a few blocks away that has a wide variety of pretty colors). Tropicana Gardens has bicycle racks throughout the property, so you won’t have to worry about where to lock it. Take advantage of all of the bike paths throughout UCSB and Goleta. I highly recommend biking over to the Farmer’s Market at the Camino Real Market Place.

However, if you’re not up for the challenge, the bus becomes an excellent resource. Your SBCC student ID works as a bus pass on the Santa Barbara MTD and can take you to many other places besides school. You can look over to the Santa Barbara MTD website to get a more descriptive look at which busses will take you where. The 24x will take you to the Kmart/Costco Shopping center and it runs about every 30 minutes. The 24x will also take you downtown to the transit center. Finally, the 15x express bus will become your new best friend because it will take you directly from Trop to school and back!

Yes, taking the bus to school can take some planning (you’ll have to wake up a little earlier to secure a seat), but it’s also a great opportunity. Many SBCC students use the bus each day, so what better way to get to know people? Everyone is super friendly and eager to meet new people, especially those first few weeks.

So what if you are one of the luckiest people on earth who gets to bring their car with them to school? Don’t take this for granted. In addition to being able to easily get to Kmart, you will also be able to venture throughout Goleta. You can hit up Trader Joe’s, Michaels craft store or Bed Bath & Beyond. You will also have the opportunity to venture to Santa Barbara’s beautiful downtown, perhaps to visit the famous Mission, or to the many hiking trails Santa Barbara has to offer.

Now if you have a car, I highly recommend finding people who have classes at SBCC at the same time as you. You can offer to carpool with them, which will get you a pass to the carpool lot, saving you a lot of time trying to find a parking spot on campus in the morning. I’m sure those who you’re giving a ride will be generous and chip in for gas. But all in all, it’s just nice to have someone to accompany you.

I hope this information makes getting around in Santa Barbara a little simpler and a lot less uncertain.

What’s Included in your Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall Suite & What to Bring

There are many things that you won’t have to worry about schlepping when moving into your Tropicana Gardens suite. Trop outfits your bedroom with a mattress and bed frame (it’s a Twin XL) as well as a dresser, desk and chair. The living room is furnished with a couch, chair and tables plus a bookshelf. You may want to bring a rug, pillows and posters to personalize your space, but the living room is ready to go. I do suggest a door mat for wiping the sand off your feet after returning from the beach! A microwave is going to come in handy for those late nights where all you want to eat is your cup of ramen. You’ll probably want to bring a TV, but work that out with your roommates in advance to decide who will bring it. You might also want to bring a DVD player so you can check out one of the many DVDs Tropicana has available for residents to check out at the front desk. You can bring your own mini fridge for the living room or your bedroom to store yogurt, fruit, and favorite juice, or rent one from Tropicana at move-in day.

Your bedroom list will be a little longer. Make sure you bring your favorite pillow and blanket, in addition to the Twin XL sheets you’ll be purchasing especially for your college. In order to make your bed more comfy, I suggest investing in a mattress topper. A fan can not only help you stay cool at night, but provide some white noise to help you sleep. Your bedroom has privacy blinds, so curtains or drapery panels are optional.

It’s a smart idea for you to bring a lamp (desk, floor, or clamp-style) to shed a little more little in your room for those late-night study sessions. Bringing your computer is a must, but your printer is optional as Tropicana Gardens provides a printer in the study lounge for residents to use (as long as you don’t print out War & Peace!). Bringing a white board will serve many functions: creating to-do lists, drawing, writing notes to your roommates, keeping a chore log, or a way to keep score during game night. You’re going to want a laundry basket or bag to transport your clothes to and from the laundry rooms, located in St.Croix and Barbados.

A huge help for me this year has been having storage bins. You can find pretty, cheap fabric boxes that fit perfectly above your closet. Under-bed storage also comes in handy. You’ll want to get an alarm clock also, preferably one that doubles as a charging station for your phone. My favorite purchase that I’ve made for college has been this nifty door hanger from Urban Outfitters (http://tinyurl.com/lzmbpcj). It has a mirror, hooks for headbands, and trays for my make up. Command strips are going to be really useful for hanging everything up – and I mean EVERYTHING – from posters to framed photos to extra towel hooks.

When it comes to the bathroom, your shower has a sliding glass door, so a shower curtain is not a necessity, unless you just want to decorate! You’ll want to get a shower mat that sticks to the floor to prevent embarrassing slips. Shower caddies are a huge help for storing all your shampoos and gels; it’s a good choice to get one that hangs over the shower nozzle. You may also want to get a container/holder for your toilet paper so that you can store a few extra rolls in case you run out (this prevents that awkward call to a roommate – trust me!).

I recommend that if you don’t already have a bike that you purchase a cruiser, but wait until you’re in Isla Vista to do so. This will save storage space in your car and there are normally local deals around move in time.

Another great way to save space in the car on moving day is to use Bed Bath & Beyond’s “Shop Here. Pick Up There” free service. Just go to your local Bed Bath and Beyond, select your dorm décor, and pick it up at the Goleta store, just one freeway exit away from Tropicana.

What’s Included:

  • Bed Frame
  • Mattress
  • Dresser
  • Desk & Desk Chair
  • Couch
  • Chair
  • Tables

What To Bring:

Bedroom

  • Sheets (Twin XL)
  • That favorite pillow
  • Mattress Topper
  • Blanket/Comforter
  • Desk or Clamp Lamp
  • White Board
  • Photos
  • Hangers
  • Storage bins
  • Laundry Basket/Bag
  • Alarm Clock
  • Fan
  • Rug
  • Command strips (to hang up posters, photos, etc.)

Bathroom

  • Towels
  • Hanging Shower Caddy
  • Shower Mat
  • Toilet Paper Holder

Living Room

  • Door Mat
  • Microwave
  • Mini Fridge
  • Television
  • DVD Player
  • Door Mat
  • DVD Player
Finally, bring a few mementos to personalize your space. Pick your favorite photos of you with your friends and family to remind you of home. You’ll be able to find lots of cool ways to display them by checking Trop’s Pinterest page. Soon, you’ll make yourself a new college home!

Five Ways TEMPO Can Make Your Stay at Tropicana THAT Much Better

Leaving for college is such a love-hate relationship. On one hand you’re like, “Get me out of here! I can’t take this place anymore! I’m ready for my next adventure!” But on the other hand you’re saying to yourself, “Wait! What do you mean I have to leave, and be on my own, and be without my mom? I’m not ready. Please don’t make me go”.

When I was heading for college my freshmen year, I had spent the entire summer working at my local theater. I had only taken two weeks off, one to participate in a sleep away camp (my first, I might add), and the other was the week before I left for Santa Barbara. However, it was a decision of how I would spend that final week. I had the option of using it to have one last hurrah with my friends, saying my final goodbyes, and celebrating my birthday with my family. The other option was moving to Trop, my home for the next year, a week early to settle in, get to know people who would be my friends, and get myself acquainted with beautiful Santa Barbara. I opted to stay home to say my farewells.

At the time it seemed like the better choice. Shortly after arriving to college, however, I realized I had chosen poorly.

Returning to Tropicana Gardens as a Resident Assistant (RA), I was able to experience the magic and wonder that is TEMPO (Tropicana Early Move-in Program & Orientation). I honestly regret not doing TEMPO my freshmen year because ,while I would’ve been homesick for those first few nights, I would’ve been able to make friends sooner which would have bettered my overall freshmen year experience.

I got to see firsthand the amazing perks these residents experienced by moving into Tropicana Gardens a week early.

First off, residents could get their room unpacked and set up with no worries having to be in bed by a certain hour because of starting classes the next day.

Secondly, they got familiar with the City College campus. One of the great opportunities Trop offers is a “field trip” to SBCC. This is great preparation in figuring out where your classes are, so you won’t have to be that kid with a map when the first day arrives. You can also take advantage of this time to stop by the student center to get your student ID, which also includes your bus pass. That will help you save a few bucks getting to class that first day, and every day thereafter.

Third, you’re going to have more of a feel for both Santa Barbara and the Isla Vista community. Trop and SBCC offer a few programs to help you know your way around. One of the most popular that Trop offers is the famous Landshark, an amphibious vehicle that drives you through the downtown State Street area of Santa Barbara and right into the Pacific Ocean for a harbor cruise. Within Isla Vista, you will get to eat at many of the popular joints, so that you become familiar with places to get a late night study snack (my all-time favorite being Silvergreens).

Point Number Four: At Trop, you’ll also be able to stop in for some helpful advice from your RAs on topics that might be of use to you this year. They’ve “been there and done that” and are a great resource on everything from classes and teachers at SBCC to getting along with your new roommates.

Finally, there will be the opportunity to make friends with a variety of events that will be planned for incoming freshmen, including a trip to Zodo’s bowling, an ice cream social, and a scavenger hunt through Isla Vista. One of the coolest things that I witnessed during the scavenger hunt was two girls who were both friendly but a little nervous, finding out that they were both going to be on the Track and Field team. Connection made!

So if you weren’t already planning on coming a week early, I really hope you learn from my mistake and create an experience that will last a lifetime. For more information on TEMPO and other early move-in options, click here.

Top 25 Things To Do In Santa Barbara

Here are links to some really fun things to do in Santa Barbara and Goleta to keep your college life filled with adventure and beautiful sights!
  1. Kayaking: http://www.sbsail.com/kayaking.html
  2. Hiking: http://www.santabarbarahikes.com
  3. Jet Skiing: http://www.sbjetboats.com
  4. Shopping on State Street: http://www.santabarbaradowntown.com
  5. Drive-In Movie: http://www.westwinddriveins.com/westwind/index.php?r=drivein/location&idtheater=24066
  6. Eat On The Waterfront: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Restaurants+On+The+Pier&find_loc=Santa+Barbara%2C+CA
  7. Beach Volleyball: http://teamsideline.com/Org/Home.aspx?d=q1Nmq%2ftIOQGatKO7vaAzyg%3d%3d
  8. Biking along the Beach/Pier/ Downtown: http://www.wheelfunrentalssb.com
  9. Whale Watching: http://www.sbsail.com/whale_watching.html?gclid=CIy3w4bfyLYCFQTonAodBxUA4g
  10. Sailing: http://www.sbsail.com
  11. Santa Barbara Zoo: http://www.sbzoo.org
  12. Mission Santa Barbara: http://www.santabarbaramission.org
  13. Concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl: http://www.sbbowl.com
  14. Land Shark Amphibious Tour: http://www.out2seesb.com
  15. Camino Real Movie Theatre: http://metrotheatres.com/location.asp?location=7113
  16. Golfing at Glen Annie Golf Club: http://www.glenanniegolf.com
  17. Roller Blading: http://www.wheelfunrentalssb.com
  18. Lotusland Garden Tour: http://www.lotusland.org
  19. Santa Barbara Museum of Art: http://www.sbmuseart.org
  20. Granada Theatre: http://www.granadasb.org
  21. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: http://www.sbbg.org
  22. Stearns Warf: http://www.stearnswharf.org
  23. Santa Barbara Beaches: http://www.santabarbara.com/activities/beaches/
  24. Rock Climbing: http://sbrockgym.com
  25. State Street Ballet: http://www.statestreetballet.com
One of the best parts about living in the Santa Barbara area is the fact that there are so many things to do here and the weather is beautiful to be out and about.

My Favorite Restaurants & Cafés in Isla Vista

Whether you want some late-night munchies, or just a change of scenery from the Trop cafeteria once in a while, Isla Vista has a plethora of eateries in its two square miles. Hit up these places in IV for something different and delicious.

  1. Blenders in The Grass: Blenders is known for having the most delicious smoothies! They are a bit expensive at around five dollars a smoothie, but it’s worth it for an occasional treat. 6560 Pardall Road
  2. Starbucks: This well-known coffee shop is perfect in a college community for a late-night pick-me-up. 888 Embarcadero del Norte
  3. Silvergreens: This is a yummy and healthy restaurant that serves great salads, breakfast burritos, soups, and one amazing acai bowl. Nutritional information is right on your receipt! 900 Embarcadero del Mar
  4. Pizza My Heart: As a new pizza joint in IV, it has already been credited as one of the best pizza places in the Santa Barbara area. 6533 Trigo Road
  5. Crushcakes & Cafe: Right next door to Pizza My Heart is Crushcakes, which serves dainty and delectable cupcakes perfect for a delicious dessert after some pizza or Crushcakes’ own menu of breakfast all day, paninis, sandwiches, wraps, and hot and cold beverages. On Tuesdays, show your Trop key for a 10% discount (Tropicana Ten-Percent Tuesdays). 6533 Trigo Road
  6. Freebirds: The best Mexican food in IV! It is conveniently located in the middle of IV and one of the most popular restaurants. Their nachos and burritos are huge and very good! 879 Embarcadero Del Norte
  7. Isla Vista Food Co-Op: The Co-Op is one of my favorite places because it has organic foods and bulk candy, granola, and trail mix. I recommend Sunny Bears, which are candy gummy bears that are all natural. Their granola is amazing. 6575 Seville Road
  8. The Habit: This is a cost efficient and savory burger place with really good burgers and shakes. Their famous charburger is perfect when you need a break from dorm food or just want something filling. The Teriyaki Charburger with pineapple is my favorite. I get mine with a veggie patty. 888 Embarcadero del Norte #C
  9. Subway: Open 24/7! Everyone loves Subway and it is open all day every day. 888 Embarcadero del Norte #B
  10. Café Equilibrium: This café makes the BEST crepes. My favorite is the Nutella crepe with strawberries. They are not too expensive and you can even get ice cream on your crepe. 6549 Pardall Rd, #B
  11. Pita Pit: I have long loved Pita Pit and was so excited to see one in IV! It is similar to Subway, but with pitas instead of sub sandwich bread.
  12. Domino’s: Domino’s is an American favorite, perfect for late-night munchies. Every Tropicana building has a Domino’s kiosk where you can order pizza, pasta, sandwiches, wings or breadsticks, to be delivered to you right to Trop. Choose a 2-topping medium or large pizza for a special Trop only discounted price. 955 Embarcadero del Mar

You can also check out SBMenus.com to see a list of more restaurants that deliver and have takeout.

5 Ways to Stay Organized In College

  1. Get a Planner.
    The SBCC campus bookstore has many different planner options, one of which is the official SBCC planner which has all of the school’s important dates in it. It’s perfect for pulling out during class to write down the due dates of homework assignments or projects.
  2. There’s an App for that!
    If you have migrated into the modern age of technology, you might prefer pulling out your smartphone and typing it out. There are many different apps that can help you in this. I prefer to use iStudiez Pro because you can sync it to both your phone and computer. You can put in your classes (days and times) as well as your finals and it will remind you. It has 4 tabs at the bottom: Today, Calendar, Assignments, and Planner. The Today tab shows you what classes you have that day. The calendar has all of your classes and assignments. It’s also synced with your phone calendar so you can see those dates as well. The Assignments section is where you put in any homework you need to do. You can mark it for a specific class and set a due date. The Planner is where you can see each class you are taking for that semester.
  3. Own a Whiteboard.
    In elementary school, one of my favorite things to do was draw on the big whiteboard in the front of the class. I love being able to write things in bold colors with dry erase markers and then obliterate them and start new when I’m done. Because of this, I have a giant whiteboard in my room and it is a life saver. I am able to put my many different to-do lists on it, an inspirational quote, a random thought, or a doodle to bring a smile on my face.
  4. Map it out on a Calendar.
    Whether it’s on your phone, in your planner, on your computer, or hanging it on your wall, a calendar is a necessity. It’s great for remembering all of those important dates: spring break, finals, birthdays, Trop programs and events, etc.
  5. Keeping it Clean.
    This concept is so basic and yet is easier said than done. In order to stay on top of school, you need to be in an uncluttered environment. This can be achieved by a weekly cleaning of your room. You will find that you are able to think more clearly when your surroundings are neat and tidy. Schedule a clean-up day in your planner, sync it to your phone, add it to your calendar and draw it on your whiteboard!

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