This Year Has Had Many Enriching Experiences that Will Last a Lifetime

Well, here it is: my last Editor’s Soapbox as the features editor of the Guardian. I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on this year at UCSD.

In retrospect, this has been a solid sophomore year for me that followed an enviable freshman run. The year has had its ups and downs, but has made me a better person overall. (I know this sounds really sappy, but allow me to get nostalgic and mushy for a few lines.)

Coming into this year, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was living with three other guys in an on-campus apartment. For the first time in my life, I was one of the people in charge of maintaining a domicile, including cooking and cleaning. That in itself has brought about some interesting situations.

I remember that after I had been in the apartment for just two days, our refrigerator contained only two things: pizza and beer. I happen to think that that situation reflected positively on the residents of the apartment, but my roommates thought otherwise.

That brought on a whole new experience: shopping. It’s incredible how funny four guys can look while value shopping at the local supermarket. Four 20-year-old college students arguing about which box of macaroni and cheese is the best deal can be quite amusing to passers-by. We even put a few old ladies to shame with the amount of coupons that we had shamelessly pilfered from another student’s Sunday newspaper.

As I began to settle into my apartment, I also had to settle into my classes. After breezing through my freshman year with minimal studying, I was rudely awakened by the hell that is upper-division classes. Entering my sophomore year, I had yet to take an upper-division class. I simply figured that they would be a little more in-depth, but just as easy. Wow, was I in for a treat.

For literally the first time in my life, I found myself forced to actually study. It was quite a foreign concept to me. I tried to study in my room a few times, but that just led to embarrassing grades on midterms that clued me in to the fact that I needed an alternative ambiance for studying. That is when I found the place that would become my Mecca for the rest of the year: Denny’s.

What other 24-hour, white-trash haven caters to poor college students looking to further their academic enrichment? None, I say. Denny’s is a great place to go and get some serious work done. You can get your grub on and pound endless cups of coffee while learning the area of three-dimensional objects being spun around the x-axis.

As I grew accustomed to the rigorous workload of my sophomore classes (I was up to an hour or so of studying per week), I found that I needed to find a social outlet or two for my deep love of women, alcohol and cheap adrenaline rushes.

I found parties at UCSD to be exactly what they were my freshman year: few and far between. The good parties cost money and were usually broken up just when they really got rolling. I did notice that the student body seemed to make a more concerted effort to have fun this year, but not nearly enough. I still contend that we should party like it’s Sun God once a week, even though it would probably kill some of us.

While I’m on the social scene, I have to take a moment to write a little something about the ladies here at UCSD. Before my freshman year, I basically heard one word to describe the women of UCSD: unattractive.

When I got to campus last year, I’ll admit, I didn’t see it as having a gorgeous student body. I’m not saying that everyone here was Elephant-man ugly, but they were attractively challenged. However, since I have been at UCSD, I have noticed a fantastic trend in the girls of the second- and first-year classes this year: they are hot. This year’s freshman and sophomore girls are very attractive. I’ve even noticed quite a few upper-class girls who are looking pretty good as well. In all, I think that the stereotype of UCSD women as generally being ugly is completely outdated. I think that a simple stroll down Library Walk around noon will show that.

Another part of my social outlet was taking advantage of the fine Native American gaming establishments that are located so conveniently close to campus. In particular, I gambled at Viejas quite a bit (they should give me a share of the casino for all the money I’ve dropped there). There is nothing better than randomly deciding to take a midnight stroll up to see Dale (lovingly pronounced “”Dah-lay””), Bong, Malachi and the other wacky dealers that are so eager to take your money.

With so many other things going on in my life, it’s amazing that I was actually able to hold a job. As the year began, I also had to settle into my new position as features editor at the Guardian. I’d worked at the paper my freshman year but honestly didn’t know what it took to run a section of the paper on my own. Suddenly I was responsible for a full quarter of the paper’s output. My name was on it, so if it looked like ass, I was to blame. It was a lot of pressure early in the year, but I would like to think that I adjusted nicely and did a nice job with the section (I guess that you readers are the final judges of that).

I’ve tried to listen to the readers and cover the kinds of things that you wanted to read about. I tried to make the section interesting. I wanted the readers to realize that there was more to the features section than simply the crossword puzzle (which, despite my efforts, remains the most popular part of the section). In the end, I hope that I’ve made it a more enjoyable experience for you guys. Who knows, you might have even learned a thing or two from the articles that we’ve run. In any case, feel free to e-mail me at jcrouse@ucsd.edu with any feedback that you have. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say.

As far as next year is concerned, I don’t know what my place in the paper is going to be. I don’t know what my place in this school is going to be, for that matter.

My second year at UCSD has been completely unforgettable. I’ve met so many amazing people and had so many more incredible experiences that have made a permanent impact on my life that I can hardly believe it. I’ve heard that these are the best years of my life. Reflecting on that statement, I wouldn’t mind it all too much. I feel that these years have been good to me. I can only hope that the next two years here will be as good as the first. One can only hope.