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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Column: Goodbye, Davis

UC applications were due this past Friday. As I helped my little sister polish her personal statements before submission, I became nostalgic about all the things I will miss about Davis. There are so many — the baby ducks in the Arboretum, Gunrock’s crazy antics at football and basketball games, playing Humans vs. Zombies in the Death Star.

I challenge you to truly take pride in our school and our city. We are ushering in the next generation of Aggies and I want us all to take a moment to appreciate just how freakin’ awesome Davis is.

I’ve often heard people say things like “Davis is boring” and “There’s nothing to do here.” I even saw a YouTube parody about stereotypes of the “typical” UC Davis student’s day, in which the main character spent all his time with cows, counting the days since he got rejected from Berkeley.

What the heck, dude?

For someone to feel that way, they must not be very involved, because there is such an array of cool things to do. Besides, even if that guy did get into Berkeley, he probably would’ve been just as bored and dissatisfied due to lack of motivation to get involved with the campus.

But I can’t get too mad. I remember not even wanting to apply to a UC because I wanted to follow my then-boyfriend to our local community college.

It wasn’t until two days before applications were due that I finally began mine. At 11:55 p.m. on the day they were due, I was furiously typing the last paragraph of my personal statement. By 11:59, I hit submit and saw that I still had to find my mom’s credit card to fill out a payment information page. 11:59 and 59 seconds struck at the precise moment I pressed the final button that stood between me and potential admission to UC Davis.

And as the webpage took its sweet time loading the confirmation page, I thought of all the awesome Davis experiences I would never have because I wasn’t motivated enough to work on the stupid application sooner.

I am so glad a minute has 60 seconds instead of 59. Since that moment, I’ve lived the best college experience I could ever ask for.

Because I went to this school, I’ve gotten to write, direct and act for completely student-run productions through Dead Arts Society; intern at National Geographic through Davis’s Washington Program; play on the women’s rugby team; learn about my culture and outreach to high school students through Mga Kapatid and Bridge; get leadership training through the Center for Leadership Learning; dance in a two-person Chinese lion costume with the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association and learn how to be a reporter, videographer and editor through AggieTV.

These are all uniquely Davis things we can’t do once we leave this school.

Number eight public school in the nation, son. We didn’t get that for no reason.

There are just so many things to love about Davis — the Arboretum; the Bohart Bug Museum in the Academic Surge building; the Mondavi Center; the awesome food in downtown like Raja’s, Fuji’s and Thai Canteen; the variety of places to dance and meet people every weekend like Tres Hermanas, The Grad, KetMoRee and Little Prague.

We get the opportunity to do undergraduate research with renowned faculty at a top-rate research university — which I highly recommend doing. Could you imagine being able to say, “Why yes, I did conduct research and write an undergraduate thesis for one of the top universities in the entire United States”? You even qualify for getting high or highest honors at graduation by doing this.

If you actually attend lecture and do the assigned readings, you’ll find that the quality of our classroom education is unparalleled.

And these are only things I’ve experienced in my time here. Could you imagine the cumulative activities of all 31,000 students?

It has been my pleasure writing for this community. I’ve enjoyed reading your emails and was touched by all of your encouraging feedback. Thank you for being so responsive and taking the time to read my columns.

JHUNEHL FORTALEZA is savoring her last two weeks as a Davis undergraduate. Keep in touch with her at jtfortaleza@ucdavis.edu.


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