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!!
UC Irvine offers many great and free resources for the betterment of its students, one of them being the Health Education Center. The Health Education Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Student Center, provides many resources that address nutrition, wellness, sexual health, and more. One of the many programs and peer groups that the Health Education Center has is IMAGE (Image Management Awareness Growth & Education). “IMAGE is a peer group … dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders and promoting a healthy positive self-image.” (UCI Health Education Center).
In conjunction with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, IMAGE held a two-day event where students could learn more and gain awareness about the prevalence of eating disorders.
The first day consisted of a free, mini crafts fair on Ring Road that allowed participants to express themselves. It featured booths where students could make their own parfaits, decorate journals and mirrors, and even take pictures at a photo booth.
Make your own parfaits and mirrors.
My roommate, Y-Nin, and I at the “BeYouTiful” photo booth.
A mini art gallery and contest showcased student artwork on the second day. Artists had the opportunity to freely express themselves and their visions of body image. The main purpose of this event was to encourage students to simply be proud of who they were and to make a pledge about self-love and self-acceptance.