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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

University of California stereotypes


Students from different UC campuses share ideas about each other

Ever wonder what other UC students think about UC Davis? Bikes, cows and agriculture are all words often used to describe Davis. It’s that one farming school in the middle of nowhere, right? Not exactly. But since California residents and students tend to generalize each of the UCs, labels get thrown around to describe every campus, helping spread surface-level conclusions.

California has nine undergraduate UC schools and each has its own personality. There are a lot of preconceived notions about each campus and, whether they are correct or not, they circulate throughout California’s population. For example, Jason Chay, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major at UCLA, sees Davis as a bike-friendly agricultural town.

“Davis has cows, a lot of cows, a lot of bikes. [It’s] flat and very ag-based,” Chay said.

According to Derik Bessler, a second-year aerospace engineering major at UCLA, even people who do not know much about the area know that Davis is farm-centric.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s a cow town, you know, farm-y,” Bessler said. “When I think of Davis […] first thought is maybe like ‘oh they didn’t get into a certain UC they wanted.’”

While Davis is ranked high academically, some students refer to it as “UCDidn’t get into LA or Berkeley.”

But UCLA students also get labelled as students who likely did not get their first-choice UC.

“We are Berkeley and Stanford rejects,” Chay said. “We are the kids who tried really hard to get into Berkeley but got rejected but now still try hard.”

The UCLA stereotypes reach further than the reason the students are there, according to Bessler.

“There’s lots of hills [here] so everyone is like ‘oh, so you must have really good legs and calves’ — UC Legs and Ass — that’s what people say sometimes,” Bessler said. “Everyone is really into school spirit, I feel like more people who go here are very pro-UCLA, like they’ll let you know they are going there.”

According to David Sun, a fourth-year civil engineering major at UC Irvine, UCI is commonly described as a commuter school.

“One of the biggest things that you’ll hear is that UCI is a commuter school which a lot of people experience in their first year,” Sun said. “Most of their friends go home from the halls even if they are dorming — which is something that I definitely experienced — a lot of times people will say the social life is kind of dead on campus.”

While Irvine isn’t known as party city, UC San Diego is the campus that has been dubbed “UC Socially Dead.”

“Socially dead, that pretty much sums it up — UC San Diego […] but the location is really nice,” Bessler said.

UC San Diego is known to have a quieter social scene but is in a gorgeous area of California, which draws students in. Similarly, UC Santa Barbara boasts a wonderful location, but its main draw for students is the social scene.

“Well, I know everyone thinks that we party too much and that it’s just a big party school and that there is a lot of drugs and alcohol — kind of like a no-rules place,” said Ian Schwann, a third-year psychology major at UCSB.

Whether or not UCSB lives up to its stereotype, students from all over the UC system know Santa Barbara as a beachy party town.

“From a social standpoint, you definitely think it’s one of the higher party schools of the UCs,” said Austin Chadwick, a fourth-year molecular biology major at UC Santa Cruz. “Strong Greek life presence, beachy, a lot of skateboarding and good weather is probably the stereotype. I’m picturing short-shorts, tank-top riding around on a little Penny board, very bro’ed out, a lot of like social gathering — that’s kind of how I’m picturing them.”

One UC in particular is known for its competitive cutthroat nature, according to Drew Fagerlin, a first-year economics major at UC Berkeley.

“Everybody is a try-hard,” Fagerlin said. “People are mean, competitive, always busy and they think they’re better than everybody.”

Since UC Berkeley is known as having a “know-it-all” crowd, it is interesting to see how many other UC students are upset about being more or less Berkeley rejects.

“People who go to Berkeley are very smart, some of them have an ego,” Bessler said. “They are very academically motivated and driven, very liberal [with] hippie kind of vibes there.”

And while Berkeley is thought to have a lot of hippies, it is nothing compared to the Slug Capital of the UCs — Santa Cruz.

“UCSC is definitely super liberal, a lot of like hippie, nature stereotypes,” Chadwick said. “I think a lot of people think of it as a forest because it’s like very outdoorsy and natural, like a free-spirited kind of thing, compared to most of the other UCs that are more urban and city-like.”

According to Bessler, UC Santa Cruz is one of the most relaxed UCs in the system.

“My first off-the-bat thought when I think of stereotypes of [UCSC] is that they are all super laid-back stoners,” Bessler said.

While Santa Cruz is thought of as a chill scene, other UC’s, such as Riverside, are known for their rave culture.

“UC Riverside’s nickname is Ratchetside,” Sun said. “A stereotype is there is nothing to do in Riverside so the gyms are really packed and people get really fit just because there is nothing to do. A lot of them are very into raves.”

According to Sun, UC Riverside can be summed up in one sentence:

“People there know how to party, they have good concerts, they are buff [and] there is nothing to do,” Sun said.

Last but not least is UC Merced,  the newest addition to the UC system. Young in age and located in central California, it is often forgotten, according to Alex Benson, a fourth-year economics major at UC Davis.

“Where even is Merced?” Benson said.


Written by: Elizabeth Marin  — features@theaggie.org


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