- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Creative Writing
- Gender: F
- High School: Napa High
- Transfer Student: N
It's big here. The campus is spread out, but there's a pretty good bus system, so getting anywhere around campus isn't TOO much of a problem, especially if you're not against walking. It does make for a segregated populace though, as there is no "common area" central to all of the mini-colleges, so people tend to stay within their respective living areas. Pick somewhere you want to hang out a lot to live. A major downside is the distance the campus is from any sort of normal civilization. First-years aren't allowed to have a car, and parking on campus is on the expensive side. A trip downtown on the bus is an journey (going to get groceries? It'll take around an hour and half), and forget walking to say, Taco Bell unless you're in for an epic journey. It is pretty here though, and close to the ocean. Surfing is actually a PE class, which is pretty sweet.
Whether or not you have intellectual conversations outside of class is up to you and whomever your friends are. Some people are incredibly stupid, some really intelligent. There are some pretty excellent classes offered here, with a focus on science in particular, which happens to be a subject I couldn't be less interested in. Art classes are restricted to art majors (there may be two exceptions), and I don't know anything about our drama department, which leads me to believe that it's very small. The Lit Department has its ups and downs - I've taken some excellent courses lead by terrific professors, but two of my favorites have left, either to seek better paying teaching positions elsewhere or to take time off to write a book. Professors and TA's always encourage students to meet with them outside of class, and tend to be very friendly.
I would say Christian conservatives would feel horribly out of place on campus, but I've met two or three, and they seem to have survived alright. People here are nothing if not accepting. There is a fairly active LGBT center/community, though it tends to really only gear up towards the end of the year, having only little group meetings throughout the rest of the quarters. Most of the students here are from California, in fact, I can't think of anybody I've met who ISN'T from California. It's a pretty diverse student body. All sorts come here.
The Best Things
The weather, the environment, and the variety of people and activities present on-campus.
The Worst Things
The level of academic intensity: too easy (for someone who was used to taking AP courses in high school)