The University of California Santa Cruz
The University of California Santa Cruz - Comments and Student Experiences|
Disclaimer: I am an out-of-state student, and coming to california was a much greater culture shock than i'd expected.
First of all, this school totally proves its stereotype true. Everyone smokes weed. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. I came here very open minded about it, willing to try it, but quickly became a bit annoyed that everyone I met was stoned all hours of the day. Sure, they don't pressure you to join them, but no one likes being not stoned around stoned people, just like no one likes to be sober around drunks. Contrary to what people like to believe at this school, the frequent use of marijuana has led to an obvious lack of ambition among students. As a highly ambitious, career oriented individual, this has also been a bit irritating. When I read reviews on the school that said this same thing, I brushed them off, convinced that the presence of marijuana wouldn't be as great or influential as people were making it out to be- please learn from my mistakes. You will smell it at 7 AM & 11 PM coming through your dorm window. You will smell it on the path to the library. You will begin to think you're smelling it even when you're not because you're just always smelling it. You will meet many individuals that center their lives around 4:20 AM/PM. If you are not extremely comfortable with constant contact with marijuana, DO NOT COME HERE. Santa Cruz has a reputation for being a marijuana loving town, and it definitely lives up to it.
Secondly, I have always thought of myself as pretty liberal, but Santa Cruz takes it to a different level that it becomes close minded. Just, something to think about.
On a positive note- Everyone here IS really incredibly nice, friendly, nonjudgmental. I'm astounded on a daily basis by an act of kindness I witness. It is the most laid-back environment I've ever lived in, and I've never experienced less stress. UCSC students welcome all walks of life, and take everybody for who they are (unless you're a baptist conservative.)
Academics: I'm a psych major, but I'm also taking pre-med courses. In my opinion, it's very easy. I am studying way way less than I did in high school (although I did have a VERY intense course load in high school.) I still can't help but feel I am not being challenged enough. In all honesty the whole vibe of the school doesn't make me feel like they are very concerned about challenging students- it's quite the opposite. Most of the people I've met are very content with graduating and living in a tent in the forest because money is evil anyway, and all they need to be happy is the beauty of nature. I don't think UCSC has a very good reputation went it comes to post-graduation employment, and I that really doesn't surprise me.
If you're interested in a typical college experience AT ALL, don't come here. No one that comes here wanted a typical college experience, it is the anti-typical college experience. Anti-big sports and "jocks," anti greek life (if you're interested in greek life, I don't know why you're even looking at this school), anti doing anything that doesn't involve getting stoned in the middle of the forest.
If you want a laid-back atmosphere and a pretty easy course load, with genuinely ridiculously nice people, and you can't imagine anything more fun than spending weekend after weekend getting stoned among the redwoods or dropping acid/taking shrooms and exploring, then this is the place for you. You will absolutely love it here.
If it has ever crossed your mind that you might be sad about missing out on the big homecoming football games, or you kind of wanted to join a sorority, or you just are intrigued by the typical american college experience AT ALL, don't come here. You won't be happy here, trust me. This place is incredible for people that fit here. But if you don't fit, you're going to be really unhappy.
Personally, I've fallen in love with a lot of aspects of Santa Cruz, and part of me is really sad to say I have decided to transfer somewhere else next year. But it's just not for me, and everyone deserves to be where they belong. I hope this helps, and I hope you find where you belong and can be extremely happy. You only get to experience college once- don't blow it off or put your happiness on the back burner, make it count.