This past Saturday, UC Davis hosted Decision Davis, a day for admitted students and their families to visit the campus to help decide if this is the school for them. In honor of the incoming class of Aggies, the Editorial Board has compiled a list of things we didn’t know about Davis before we came here — though we wish we had.
- It gets cold and wet (for SoCal folks)
If you’ve had the privilege of growing up in Southern California, your idea of cold weather is probably anything that’s under 60 degrees. So please, please, please heed this warning, from one SoCal transplant to another: it actually gets cold in Davis! And not just “oh it’s chilly I think I’ll put on a cardigan” cold but rather “you’re biking to your 8 a.m. class winter quarter and you’re genuinely afraid your fingers are going to get frostbitten” cold. For Northern Californians, Davis might not seem that cold, but if you’re coming to Davis from any part of the state where it rains three times a year, be prepared for actual wintry weather. Invest in a pair of gloves for when you’re biking to class, leave the heater on all day if you’d like (and be glad you don’t have to pay for utilities while in the dorms) and stock up on tea bags and hot chocolate packets for those chilly, rainy days.
- Mexican food is good (for NorCal folks)
Picture your favorite SoCal Mexican restaurant. Maybe it’s a hidden treasure that you’ve been frequenting since you were a kid, maybe it’s an authentic, family owned favorite. Whatever you are picturing, nothing in Davis will compare. Your NorCal friends will rave about the carne asada fries at El Burrito and become regulars at El Toro Bravo’s taco Tuesday, while you daydream about the Mexican food you left behind in SoCal.
- Fearless squirrels
On an average campus, squirrels are peaceful woodland creatures who frolic among trees and scatter when you come within three yards of them. At UC Davis, however, the furry nut-eating gremlins are far from the adorable animals seen on Saturday morning cartoons. Don’t bank on squirrels getting out of your way as you’re biking through campus. Your best bet is to swerve around them lest you hit one and feel the wrath of a dozen other squirrels gnawing into your bike tire to avenge their friend. If you’re eating, make sure to keep all acorn-sized food in covered containers and if you’re walking under trees, beware of falling rodents. Other than that, the squirrels make cute Snapchat stories.
- Allergy epidemic
Think you have allergies? Just wait until spring quarter at UC Davis. By week three, you won’t even remember a time before your clogged nose, itchy, red eyes and inability to breathe. Your inhaler will become your best friend. Your second best friend: Kleenex. In the spring, students and professors become immune to the sound of sniffling noses and wheezy breaths. The worst part about this phenomenon is the fact that these allergy symptoms manifest themselves the same way as a common cold does. It’s confusing and very annoying, but rest assured that those Emergen-C packets from Rite Aid aren’t the cure to your scratchy throat. Try investing in some Claritin. On the bright side, allergies can be used to your advantage. Allergies can be rough, so give yourself a break: take a day off, lay low, stay inside, maybe break out the Netflix. But try not to use allergies as an excuse too often; remember there’s an outside world out there, and it’s beautiful — especially in Davis.
- You will get in a bike accident
You think you’re doing everything right — you didn’t bike on the first day of the quarter, you avoid traffic circles during passing periods and maybe even leave for class early to avoid biking with rushed students. But, inevitably, the day will come when you get in your first bike accident. Whether it is your fault, or some other careless biker smashes into you, don’t be embarrassed. Think of it as a rite of passage into the world of UC Davis.
- Good place to OD on boba
If you think college is all about drinking, you’re right. Though vodka sodas are common drinks of choice for Friday night, the more frequent beverages are gallon jugs of boba. If you’ve never heard of boba (or haven’t ventured a mere five minutes into Davis), boba is a Taiwanese bubble tea filled with chewy tapioca pearls. The days of Starbucks-carrying college students are long gone. The more modern crowd accompany their 7 a.m. lectures and late-night study sessions with a chilled, tapioca-filled glass of sweet milk tea. With 20 boba shops stationed around the city dishing out drinks to thirsty college students, you never have to walk far to get your daily tea intake. The only problems are choosing where to go and dealing with the boba cup-sized hole in your wallet.
- Pressured to take a moment for gay rights/pledge to CALPIRG
If you’ve ever walked around UC Davis for a day, you know to keep your head down, earbuds in and to walk fast and sternly as if you’re perennially in a rush. No, this isn’t to deter potential muggers. Lurking in the corners of the Memorial Union walkway are friendly-looking clipboard holders who will extend their hand as a plea for you to take a moment for gay rights or pledge to CALPIRG. The smiling, T-shirt-wearing individuals look safe enough, but after four years of constant solicitation, you’ll learn to heed our warning. Don’t make eye contact or you’ll turn to stone, or worse, sign up for a $20 monthly plan for the rest of eternity.
- We actually have a newspaper
Contrary to popular belief, UC Davis has a daily, student-run, online-only newspaper, The California Aggie. The Aggie serves as the oldest news source on-campus, providing all students, staff, faculty and community members the most interesting information they need to know about Davis. Another surprising fact: there is actually news to report on in Davis. Although local breaking news, like the pepper spray incident, doesn’t happen on a daily basis, The Aggie’s reporters and photographers feature a wide variety of topics and events, including UC Davis athletics, art shows, student organizations and ASUCD meetings. With over 100 staffers working in the deep, dark, windowless depths of their Lower Freeborn office, The California Aggie is your number one stop for all UC Davis news. Check out their website, like their Facebook page for daily updates and subscribe to their weekly newsletter here!
- You will get lost in the Death Star
When entering the Death Star, remember to bring your Death Star starter kit: a year’s supply of food and water, sleeping bag, tent, fire-starter kit to cook, sunglasses (it’s bright in there) and flares. By entering the Death Star, you have 10/10 chance of getting completely lost. Nobody knows how many students at any given time are stuck somewhere in its depths; it might take a few months — sometimes years — but they appear again eventually. Just make sure you don’t enter with the mindset that you know where you’re going, because you don’t (and you never will). YouTube is riddled with “How-To” guides on navigating the Death Star, but unfortunately they’re no match for the real deal. Just ensure you say proper goodbyes to friends and family before you decide to brave the Death Star. It might be a while before you see them again.
- Ninety percent of your diet will consist of late-night cookies
If you’ve had a well-balanced diet your entire life, prepare for things to change. The freshman 15 is real and it comes in the form of warm, chocolate chip cookies served after 8:45 p.m. in unlimited amounts. Served in clear plastic bowls, the freshly baked delicacies are dished out in twos (or if you’re a cookie connoisseur, dozens) for late-night munchers to fuel up on before all-night study sessions. If you’re not feeling the post-9 p.m. Dining Commons ambiance, swipe out a box of cookies for your private eating pleasure. For vegans, the DC offers delicious animal product-free cookies as well. Yeah, your jeans will fit a bit tighter after week three, but hey, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.