By Perseus Laurent
It may be summer-hot outside, but make no mistake, it is fall everyone. It’s time for textbooks, backpacks, and in-between class trips to Starbucks. Without a doubt, fall 2014 at UCI is in full swing.
New year, new habits
The beginning of a new school year is a fresh start, you can either build upon the accomplishments of the previous quarter or you can pick yourself up from the dust of last quarter and do better. What ever worked or didn’t work for you last fall, now is the time to perfect it.
Bad time management has brought down kings and empires. Decide now that you will manage your time appropriately and have at it. If you want to save time and frustration, purchase your books online from the bookstore where you can just pick them up or from an online retailer and have them sent to your house so you can get a head start on reading. Reading an extra assignment or chapter a night will help reduce your load in the long run.
Start to get into your sleep-wake-eat-study-work routine. It takes weeks to get used to a new schedule, but starting early and being consistent will assure you that by the time midterms roll around, you are used to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Dude where’s my class?
While I would recommend coming to campus the day before classes start, to actually find your classes, it may or may not fit into your schedule. Some people cling to the last precious drop of summer freedom no matter what. Any case, even if you are a returning student, finding classes can be hard. I’m no map reader and I have a pretty good sense of where things are, but on day one of classes I found myself wandering around asking where my class was. I finally found out where it was, due to the kindness of strangers! My advice to find classes: dude, just ask.
New things on campus & oldies but goodies
As the new year unfolds before us, there are oldies at UCI that have become staples like: Shocktoberfest, Welcome Week, Greek rush, and the infamous boba sellers. There are also new surprises like the return of Professor Miles after six years in Greece and the UCI Anteater Express to the Irvine Spectrum on Saturday’s.
The new year at UCI is bound to throw W’s and curveballs at all of us. Lean on your fellow anteaters, prepare as best you can, and make it happen.
HAPPY COLLEGE NEW YEAR!
Zot proud, zot on.
By Sydney Ching
When I arrived for housing staff training, I wandered about the grounds of Mesa Court. I looked at the former site of the Mesa Academic Center, Commons, and Rec Center in horror. It was all gone!
I wondered where the housing staff would eat. I then realized we would have to go to Pippin Commons in Middle Earth, which amounts to a twenty minute trek. After three weeks of yondering far over the misty mountains to Middle Earth during training, Lot 5 Commons, the oversized container of a cafeteria was open for the school year.
I expected a dark and dingy place, but to my surprise, Lot 5 was more of a hobbit-hole, as a Middle Earth resident would put it. For non-Lord of the Rings fans, a hobbit-hole is “not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat.”
Same great taste, in a consolidated space.
Lot 5 contained the familiar round tables and chairs and the same set-up of a grill and sandwich station, salad bar, fruit stand, cereal and drink dispenser, bread box, and main line. Everything was just consolidated to fit the space.
When I walked over to the cashier to have my card swiped, I realized that it was the same staff member as last year. I smiled at Nora, the lady whom I befriended my first year at Mesa. She smiled back, asking, “Sydney?” I could not believe that she remembered me!
With thousands of people passing through her each day, it was a miracle she knew my name after three months. I was truly touched and hugged her happily. After three weeks, I finally felt like I was back home.
I had missed the blocks of baked oatmeal with warm milk and the bubbling over, freshly baked muffins. The one missing component of Lot 5 from last year’s commons is the omelet. I loved greeting the chef and requesting an omelet with the works: bell peppers, mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and ham. The chef would smile slyly, already knowing my order when I walked to the station, and stuffing more especially for me.
Even though the omelets are gone, there are scrambles. So overall, I am satisfied with my first meal here at Lot 5 Commons. I will be there again shortly for second breakfast. (Hopefully, someone understands my Lord of the Rings reference.)
By Marc Urbino
On Monday of Welcome Week, UCI’s annual Anteater Involvement Fair took place in Aldrich Park. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the park was more alive than ever. Hundreds of clubs and organizations set up booths around the entire perimeter of the park—promoting themselves, selling attire and food, and so much more—with thousands of students flooding in to check it all out.
Just a small portion of the many clubs that came out to AIF!
Being a part of the Student Services branch of ASUCI, our student government, we were in charge of several aspects of the event. While the Student Life & Leadership office took care of organizing all of the clubs, we assisted them in various aspects, including spray-painting the booth locations, slotting the on-stage performances, manning our info booth, and so on. That being said, several of us had to be there around 8 AM to begin set-up, but after seeing how well things turned out, it was definitely worth it.
One of the main attractions of the fair was the stage. Located at the upper portion of Aldrich Park, the stage featured performances from different groups of UCI students and alumni, varying from dance crews to bands to martial arts displays. The routines began right along with the start of the entire fair, each in 15-minute intervals. The order of each performance was as follows: Jodaiko, Modern Completely Insane Anteaters, Tawny Chan, Chinese Association Martial Arts, Ballet Folk, Jazzmine Farol, B-Boys Anonymous, Hawaii Club, 50 Shades of Shade, the Wushu Club, SPOP Modern, Capoeira, Uniting Voices, Chinese Association Dance Crew, Southern Young Tigers, and lastly, Common Ground.
A dance routine by Common Ground — one of the several awesome performances at the fair!
The clubs that showed up to the event were definitely dedicated to advertising themselves and trying to recruit new members. UCI has over 600 on campus organizations to affiliate with, and a large portion of these were at the fair. For the most part, one could find a club for pretty much anything — sports, culture clubs, Greek life, Quidditch, and so much more. Without these organizations, the Anteater Involvement Fair and the university as a whole, would not be the same.
I hope that any of you reading were able to get the chance to experience this event. It’s crazy to see all of the different ways students can get involved on campus, and how many people were willing to take the extra step to do so. If you didn’t get the opportunity to check it out, I highly recommend doing so next year. I remember that during my freshman year, this really helped me check out all of the things UCI had to offer, which helped ease my transition from high school life. Thank you all for reading!
By Austin Jonathan Soedarsono
There is a reason why UCI is ranked no.1 among universities under 50 by Times Higher Education. I remember nervously walking into my very first class (Asian American History 50), actually worried about the how good my professor was…
Bam! She got her Ph.D. from Yale - and is arguably the first Indonesian to have done so. And it doesn’t end there, just about every class was taught by accomplished professors who graduated from great schools: National Taiwan University, Stanford, Princeton, and (of course) UCI- just to name a few. Sometimes it is pretty amazing to think that UCI students are enjoying this elite roster of instructors at almost half the cost of the average elite private school. In retrospect, it was foolish of me to have been anxious about UCI’s academic standards. However, questioning education is one thing; coping with it is a whole new story.
I was given a blue UCI course catalogue, after my orientation, with every course organized and printed on that piece of paper (whatever that is). Unfortunately, I could not quite appreciate that booklet as much then as I could now (after three quarters). The good news is that even if you pick something from the list blindfolded, there is a fair chance you’re going to get a great class; but if you make the run for your money, you may have to click it up a notch. Make full use of the UCI Registrar: Student Access’ Degree Works and the Schedule of Class. Alternatively, you could take the manual approach. Hunt down and schedule an appointment with an academic adviser from your department. They are happy to help you wriggle out of your indecision.
I thought I used a lot of books in high school… I was wrong. - Austin
To enrich your education further, finding a seminar class for your department in your freshman year may be one of the best things you can do in your college career. I took one from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department (EECS 1) and I certainly wish I could do it again. These seminars feature different associate professors discussing their field of research. In this class, you will find opportunities to learn more about what you’re getting into, discover professors that appeal to you, and figure out the courses they teach. Seeing this coalition of accomplished people can be inspiring for some and daunting for others, but if you are capable of make a good impression, many great opportunities may open up for you (research and job opportunities).
Finally, in the face of all these courses, it is very reassuring to know that UCI has got your back. UCI’s Learning and Academic Resource Center (LARC) is a paid service that employs students that have completed a course outstandingly, to teach it. As a personal testimony, I have now used LARC’s services for three classes and the lowest grade I ever got was one “A-“. For the more independent learners, there are free tutoring/writing centers and countless study areas.
Just like many others, one of my best inanimate friends are the libraries, housing us with a sanctuary of silence and accompanying us through nights of finals week (they are open 24/7 on week 11).
The anteater academia has lots to offer, and UCI goes beyond (career fairs, alumni network, etc.) Without a doubt, the school offers top tier education. The workloads we choose for ourselves may be easy for a select few, hard for some, and harder for others. I would fall in the last category. While attempting to double major Computer Engineering with Business Administration (taking 23.3 Units in my freshman’s spring quarter). But utilizing the resources in UCI did not only help me save my GPA, but improve it in the last quarter. And if I could do it, I am positive anyone can.
By Gaurav Venkatesh
After successfully completing my first year at UCI, I can’t wait to get back and start my sophomore year. Being away from home and living with absolutely random strangers across the globe from different walks of life really expands one’s horizon of thinking.
I was fortunate to spend my first year with three distinct individuals at Campus Village housing. I had the whole of Asia in my dorm, my Chinese roommate would talk about the craziest things that happened in China and my Korean roommate made the best food I’ve ever had. UCI held so many events throughout the year that I haven’t had time to feel homesick. Every day has been a new adventure. As an international student, I was constantly haunted by the thought of not being able to fit into the American society before coming to UCI. However, the students have been so nice that the transition has been no trouble at all. It already feels like home.
I remember random students coming into our dorm, introducing themselves in the morning and all of us discovering Irvine at night. By the third week of college, we had already completed a run of the prohibited “tunnels.” I would advise anyone going into the tunnels to take an extra set of torchlight. The most horrifying part of the tunnels was when our torchlight failed and we were midway and lost. Luckily we had our mobile phones with us, but that didn’t help us when we heard wild animals. We were scared to death because we were warned that Irvine is sometimes visited by coyotes, hungry coyotes. We waited for half an hour until all the noises died and we made our way out. Definitely an adventure worth remembering!
The weekends at UCI are where most of our adventures took place. The most random things happened to us whilst we were roaming about. For instance, it was sometime in December when my friends and I had gone grocery shopping and I was complaining about how I wanted Indian cuisine so desperately. A lady in her mid-30s walks up to me and asked me if I wanted Indian food. Shocked, I replied affirmative; she gave me her number and asked me to send her my dorm address and would offer to send me Indian food for a small price three times a week. These small things in Irvine have won me over and made me its biggest fan.
After all home is where the heart is.
- Gaurav Venkatesh
By Jazlyn Nguyen
It has been a few weeks since my move-out day and I am struck in disbelief. Freshman year was definitely like a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, but the memories it left me remain unforgettable.
I still can’t believe my first year of college has gone by much faster than I could imagine. It feels like it was just yesterday when I first moved-in with the help of my parents and best friends.
I remember how Mesa Court seemed like a maze as I encountered about 80 new faces of my soon-to-be hall mates.
I knew a few high school friends, but they lived in different halls in Mesa Court, so I was alone on a floor of girls I didn’t know, living with a girl I had never met. I didn’t know what I should do, or how to properly socialize with people after everything was settle down.
Looking back, I realize that I’m probably never going to have that feeling again. Next year, I’m living in an off-campus apartment with two amazing girls who were my suite mates.
For this year’s incoming freshman class, here is some advice from someone who just went through what you are about to experience.
1) Leave your door open
For all the first-years who live in the residence halls, try to leave your room door open during week 0. Of course you do not have to prop it open 24/7. Just from time to time. I learned that it is the best way to let your hall mates, and especially your suite mates, stop by and introduce themselves to you.
YAY, new friends/neighbors! :)
2) Work HARD, you are here for a reason
This is something that not many people want to hear, but I have seen it unfold horribly so many times on campus.
Do not get caught up in all of the parties, friends, and happenings on campus.
Be able to keep yourself from all of the possible DISTRACTIONS that are around you. Remind yourself that you are in college for one major reason: to get a degree.
Don’t forget you and your parents are paying for those classes you are skipping.
Most importantly, UCI follows a quarterly system. Things move faster. Midterms happen 2-3 weeks after instruction begins. Finals come before you realize it.
So… STUDY EARLY. You can even study a little each day. The earlier, the better! Crunching it all a day before the exam won’t do justice.
Have fun and understand that there has to be time to focus too. There is time for both.
Learn to balance your schedule and it can be one of your best accomplishments in college.
3) Do everything you can
I know I was just saying there is time for both (social and school) but college is also only four years.
GET INVOLVED in organizations/clubs that share your interests. I let school and work absorb me and I didn’t have time to attend most meetings and social events. Looking back, I wish I knew how to organize my time better so I could actively participate in both.
Try out for SPORTS or join intramural sports (ucirvinesports.com)
UCI offer research opportunities and other campus activities such as ASUCI, Campus Representatives, Student Ambassadors, Red Cross, CORE, etc (campusorgs.uci.edu)
Enjoy your first year experience, but do your BEST!
New World Record for Largest Water Blaster Battle! - Welcome Week 2013
- Jazlyn Nguyen
At long last, summer has arrived! After long hours of preparing for just a few tests, the time has come to relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. Using our campus location to outer advantage, a couple of friends and I who had finished our finals by Wednesday decided that it would be a good idea to go to the beach to take in some of the sun for the day.
We all met at our campus’s student center, where we made our way into my car. From that point, we drove out towards where I live to check out Doheny Beach, roughly 30 minutes south of UCI. Though there were other beaches close by, for a change of pace for everyone else, that was the location chosen, particularly because of the several bonfire pits available that would become very useful later on as the day closed.
All of us arrived at the beach at around 3 o’clock. Though not the warmest time of the day, there was still enough light for us to enjoy it without staying there for too long of a period before we started the bonfire. The most of that time was spent sitting in the sun, talking about how finals went, and also going over plans for the summer. We also tossed a frisbee around, a football, and so on.
As the daylight began to fade, we chose to set up the fire. Good thing for us, everyone had come prepared with typical bonfire equipment and supplies—s’mores ingredients, speakers, chairs, firewood, and the like. With the fire set up, the time for more fun had come. We sat around earing, listening to music, and just overall enjoying each other’s company.
Candid shot of me and, better yet, SoCal’s beautiful sunset.
All in all, it was a great way for us to unwind after what proved to be a very tough few weeks, and school year overall. After putting in so much work, nights like these become really appreciated. I hope everyone taking finals did well on theirs. Have a great summer!!