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Get Your Guilty Pleasures

Everyone loves a good guilty pleasure.

And from one night stands to one too many shots of vodka, Isla
Vista is guilty pleasure central. Sure, we complain about being
misunderstood and it’s true that I.V. is a multifaceted
municipality with plenty to offer besides its world-renowned party
scene. But debates about the effect I.V.’s reputation will have on
our future job prospects aside, it is a commonly accepted fact that
I.V. is a town largely focused on its party scene.

Opportunities to indulge in guilty pleasures are more prevalent
here than those red plastic cups that seem to pop up at every
party. From watching The Hills instead of studying to watching your
waistline balloon because of one too many trips to Freebirds,
everyone has a guilty pleasure and a sob story about the havoc
their little indulgence has wreaked on their productivity or
personal life. There’s a reason we feel guilty when we indulge in
our guilty pleasures — hence the term.

I’m sure that’s part of the fun of it. As anyone with Psychology
101 under their belt will tell you, people like to do things that
feel deviant. And, as any girl with a “bad boy” or two under her
belt — literally or figuratively — will tell you, sometimes, the
badder it seems, the better it feels. When it comes down to it,
guilty pleasures often feel so good precisely because they are so
bad.

So, what’s an I.V. resident with plenty of opportunities to
indulge their wickedest whims to do? It’s unrealistic to think
people are going to stop screwing around because of the possibility
of STDs, just as it’s silly to assume the prospect of watching your
perfect abs turn into a puffed-up pooch is going to convince anyone
to put down that Pabst and bow out of beer pong. Plus, guiltiness
aside, guilty pleasures are just so downright … pleasurable. Why
would you want to give that up?

Now, I’m just a third-year student here at the University of
Casual Sex and Beer and when it comes to giving in to guilty
pleasures, I’ve already made more than a few mistakes I regret.
From sleeping with the wrong people to consuming copious amounts of
booze — two activities that are unfortunately all-too-closely
related all-too-often — I’m not immune to indulging in the “badder
is better” way of thinking myself. But, if there’s anything I’ve
learned during my time here at UCSB, it’s how to have my
proverbially pleasurable cake and eat it too — without suffering
consequences much worse than an extra hour or two at the gym.

My philosophy on guilty pleasures is simple. It basically boils
down to making sure my indulgences are always tempered with a
healthy knowledge of their consequences. I’m not going to skip sex
out of fear of STDs, but I am going to make sure my partner is
someone I know and trust. And I’m going to make sure I take
advantage of the fact that Student Health offers six condoms for a
dollar. I’m not going to avoid alcohol because I know I might have
a hangover in the morning. But I am going to make sure I space out
my shots, drink plenty of water, and maintain my ability to take
care of myself.

There is no doubt in my mind that living in I.V. has forced me
to really learn how to enjoy my guilty pleasures without letting
them get out of hand. I still love a good drink and a bad boy, but
after three years here, I know how to enjoy them without
endangering myself, my priorities, or my productivity.

When it comes down to it, isn’t that what college is all about
anyway? Ultimately, I think knowing how to balance doing what feels
good with doing what feels right is probably the most important
thing I’ve learned in my time at UCSB. Well, that and how to get my
work done without giving up watching my favorite trashy TV
shows.

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