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Davis, California

Friday, June 14, 2024

Column: Social safari

There are hierarchies here that go completely unobserved to the untrained eye. After three years of people watching, I have developed a keen sense of what lifestyle someone leads just by looking at them.

After arriving in Davis, people seem to slowly fall into what is easiest to refer to as a “type.” In this detailed field guide I will give the descriptions you need to distinguish one Davis persona from another. So grab your binoculars, get out your 20x zoom camera lens and let’s do some people watching.

The first type of Davisian (Can you say Davisian? Is that a thing I just made up? Is it actually Davisite and I just embarrassed myself?) I would like to discuss is the ARC member — the one who pays two separate visits to the gym each day.

When attempting to observe these majestic creatures it is easiest to head to our beautiful state of the art fitness center to see them in their natural habitat. However, this feels a bit like going to the zoo and I’m pretty sure people will think you’re creepy if you go to the weight room just to look at people.

This is why we have to pay attention to the key signs that reveal whether someone can be labeled as a true ARC member when you manage to catch up with them off the court. The easiest thing to look for is probably their clothing. If the observed considers it acceptable to wear a sports bra or poorly scissored muscle tee to class, then they are easily identified.

The next Davis citizen worth discussing is the socialite. A visit to their Facebook page will reveal that they have added three friends and been tagged in two albums since you saw them a few hours earlier that day.

Popular quotes from a socialite might include: “So I was at this party at Delta Sig when my friends from SOS wanted to get in so I talked to that girl I know who works at the bookstore and she brought me to talk to these guys from the crew team who went and handled it.”

The trick to ascending into the socialite class is not to know everyone, but to know one person in every social circle. It’s easy to target a new friend when you know someone they know. If you don’t believe me, then try talking your way into a frat party without a reference.

The socialite is the friend that gives you a hard time for not going out. Granted they come in handy on a Friday where you’re almost ready to concede to a movie night. However, this person can also make you feel an unreasonable amount of guilt for not taking shots on a Tuesday afternoon when you still have that Human Sex lecture later.

Another notable personality you might run into while adventuring through Davis is the workaholic. Unlike the rest of us who are either self-admitted or parent-considered alcoholics, these students are addicted to the much more dangerous substance — workahol.

Workahol addiction is no laughing matter. Remember the last time you saw your friend Bryan who started work at the Coffee House? Neither do I. That’s because your old buddy B-Ry has started working 40 hours a week in addition to his class schedule. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it doesn’t feel much different from reality.

The last personality I want to discuss is the scholar. While all of our parents think that we are here to “take classes” and “learn,” this person actually takes this to heart. While the rest of us are merely flushing tuition money down the toilet by having social lives and enjoying our youth while skating by with a 3.1 GPA, the scholar knows that nothing in life can be more fulfilling than complete and utter dedication to, well, scholastics.

Scholars can be spotted in places all over campus such as Peter J. Shields, the 24-hour room, Griffin lounge, or just about anywhere else someone can look at a book without catching judgmental glares from lazier students. You can distinguish scholars from average crammers by their unconventional tactics, such as creating a study plan and starting essays more than a day ahead of a deadline.

We all fill every one of these roles at a different time. I doubt any one of us has gone to the ARC every day and never been to a party or to the library. Davis students are a collection of “mutts” who come from each different breed. However, when sitting around campus and trying to guess people’s life stories as they walk past you, these categories can be an excellent jumping off point.

AARON WEISS can be reached at atweiss@ucdavis.edu.


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