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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

In Transition: C-C-Student

Remember the day you found out you had been accepted into UC Davis? I do — it was a Friday afternoon and I was at work. I got the email and immediately freaked out. I couldn’t believe it had actually happened!

I decided to wait about a week to tell my parents. They had decided I needed to go to community college for a few years, so the least I could do was punish them with the old “I didn’t pass my last semester of community college classes — just kidding I actually got into UC Davis” fake-out.

Anyway, once they had both gotten over their “near heart attacks,” time felt like it flew by. I was packing, moving, taking classes, studying for finals and now I’m filing to graduate.

It’s been a wonderful whirlwind and has given me a lot to say.

Just like Grandpa at every Thanksgiving dinner, let me tell you some stories and give you some advice — here are some things you should and shouldn’t do once you’ve officially become part of a university system (whether it’s undergraduate or graduate).

1. Do come up with a really cool way to tell your parents you’ve been accepted, but also anticipate that telling them you’ve “failed some classes this semester or whatever” will lead to a pretty intense, and loud, lecture — even if you’re in a restaurant. And yes, that’s from personal experience.

2. Do join some clubs and find ways to get involved on campus. I was never particularly “school-spirited” in high school — though I do have some particularly horrifying high school Dance Team memories that may make me appear so — and I never assumed that would change once I got to college.

But it did. As soon as I found out I was accepted into UC Davis, I immediately tracked down a list of all the on-campus organizations and clubs.

I was so excited to actually have something school-related to be excited about.

Even as a senior, I love having that opportunity. UC Davis students are lucky to have access to tons of interest groups, intramural and club athletics and a huge Greek life. Take advantage of what’s around … which brings me to say,

3. Do utilize on-campus resources. Take a day to check out the Student Academic Success Center in the SCC, or the Student Health and Counseling Services website. Go to your professor’s office hours. Join the various Facebook groups. Why not?

You’ve got nothing to lose by going, and if your CCC was anything like mine, then surely you’ve already wasted time with stuff like this — except now, the difference is that it will actually help.

So don’t let those old CCC flashbacks stop you. Following on,

4. Don’t just think of UC Davis as a more difficult version of your CCC. Your CCC wasn’t just an improved version of your high school, or an extended version of your high school experience, so this won’t be like that.

5. Don’t waste too much of your time dabbling in different subjects. This may be the pot calling the kettle black, as I was the girl who planned to major in dance and English and minor in writing and take textiles and exercise bio classes — but still. You only have about two years here, and you don’t want to be cramming in the last few classes you need in your final quarters.

6. Don’t be all work and no play. Yes, UC Davis classes are incredibly difficult, and yes every student should get their money’s worth out of their education by putting in 100 percent effort all the time, but the experience is also part of the education.

Follow me for just a second … I’m not suggesting that you go out and party every night. BUT, if you’ve never ridden the (hungover) struggle bus (or in my case, the 8 a.m. Unitrans V Line) to class the day of a midterm or had a nervous breakdown because of a caffeine high, then you’re just not prepared for the real world.


To be more like SARAH MARSHALL’s grandfather by lending her some advice or telling her funny stories, email her at smmarshall@ucdavis.edu.



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