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.