The Editorial Board shares most embarrassing freshman mistakes
Emily Stack, Editor-in-Chief
The Aggie’s office in Lower Freeborn is a maximum-security facility; the big doors are always locked from the inside, and the main entrance has a code to open the door and a second alarm code, both of which only the managers know. No one gets into the office who shouldn’t — no one, that is, except hapless freshmen who forget things in the office and need to get them after everyone else has locked up and left for the day. I trotted up to Student Services and asked if they could please get facilities or maintenance to open the office, whereupon they helpfully gave me the door key that bypasses the code. What they didn’t give me was the code to disable the alarm, or a warning that there even was one. I opened the office and promptly set off the alarm — which notifies the UC Davis Police Department — and had to call the editor-in-chief in a panic, remind him who I was, have him call off the cops, and shamefacedly apologize for my rookie mistake. (Luckily, we weren’t charged the $100 fee for false alarm calls.) It’s been three years and I’m now in charge of monitoring the alarm, but I’m still a little skittish around it.
Olivia Rockeman, Managing Editor
As a San Diego native, my experience with “weather” before moving to Davis was a low of 65 and a high of 80. I arrived to my freshman dorm with the classic Southern California wardrobe: 10 bikinis, flip flops, workout clothes and one sweatshirt for those frigid 62-degree winter days.
That November, I came down with the freshman plague and experienced Davis’ torrential downpour for the first time all in one week. I was so sick with the flu that I shivered in my bed, even under a pile of blankets. My neighbor, Alessandra, noticed that my lips were turning a dangerous shade of blue. She came into my room and used the “hot” setting on my hair-dryer to blow warm air into the room to keep me from getting too cold. Later that week when I was feeling better, my roommate and I took a Unitrans bus to Target and purchased a space heater. I still use it to this day.
Moral of the story — come prepared. Davis’ weather will surprise you.
Hannah Holzer, Campus Editor
I often forget that I live in the city of Davis. Both years I’ve been at UC Davis, I’ve either lived on campus or very close to campus, so I tend to ignore the actual residential parts of the city. But one weekend, I was hired to dog sit for close family friends. I ventured onto Unitrans thinking (incorrectly) that I could figure out public transportation (I was wrong) and got off a few stops too early. Trapped in the suburbs of Davis, I got lost in an apartment complex and ended up walking over a mile to what I thought was the correct neighborhood (wrong again). I attempted to unlock the door to what appeared to be the right house (it wasn’t) until I realized a decorative stone placed next to the front door engraved with the last name of the family who lived there. This was not the right family, nor was it the right house nor was it even the right street. Then I backed away slowly, rerouted Google maps, walked another quarter of a mile and found the right house. Just when I thought I’d successfully made it, the right key to the right house failed to work. A neighbor had to come and help me and we struggled for about 15 minutes to open the door. As a last-ditch effort, I tried the key for the dozenth time and the door magically opened. My advice: maybe just don’t venture away from your dorm area.
Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee, City Editor
My most embarrassing freshman moment was actually from high school. Being a nerdy 14-year-old, I not only had a large backpack half the size of me, I also had even more binders that somehow wouldn’t fit. Plus a lunch box — that’s right, my mom packed me lunch every day of high school. In addition, I carried a travel mug filled with hot chocolate, of course, as those were my pre-caffeinated days. As I rushed to take the stairs to my next class during the five minute passing period, one of the binders I was carrying slipped and hit my foot, causing a domino effect. Naturally, I tripped over said binder, and all of the sudden I was that embarrassing freshman who somehow managed to fall up the stairs. Why I thought I needed 1.5-inch binders in the first place for high school classes still puzzles me, and I still cringe when I think back to that day.
Taryn DeOilers, Opinion Editor
I initially came to Davis as an environmental policy analysis and planning major. Before coming to my senses and realizing that I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, I promptly switched into comparative literature — but not before I slogged my way through such STEM classics as chemistry, calculus and biology.
It was Winter Quarter, and I wasn’t doing too hot in biology. I consistently scored below average on all my tests and labs, and I absolutely hated the material. Yes, meiosis is fascinating, but to actually know the minute details? No, I’m okay. Let’s keep the mystery alive. But I knew my GPA was on the line, so I decided I was going to absolutely crush the final. I studied almost non-stop for a week in advance, walked into that classroom the day of the final feeling like a superstar and walked out feeling — well, not quite like a superstar, but maybe an above-average-star. Take that, science! Not so hard after all, huh? Maybe I could even be the next Elon Musk or whatever.
Yeah, no. I got a low D even with the curve. Somehow I still passed the class, but that was my wake-up call that perhaps science wasn’t in my future — and that’s okay. So, freshmen out there: There are a lot of weird, pointless “competitions” between the majors. Material engineers think they’re better than math majors, math majors think they’re better than English majors and everyone thinks they’re better than comparative literature majors. Don’t listen to any of that nonsense. Find what you’re truly interested in and go wild — because there’s nothing better than actually wanting to be in a classroom.
Liz Jacobson, Arts and Culture Editor
Unlike my colleagues, I unfortunately don’t have a wild, crazy story to share. However, I will offer my most sage piece of advice: do not wear your Aggie card around your neck on a lanyard. Don’t do it. I know it’s so tempting. You think, it’s just so convenient! But DO NOT DO IT. I am only so passionate about this cringe-worthy freshman faux-pas because I too, wore my Aggie card around my neck for all of my first year. I understand why we do it. Freshman use their Aggie cards for everything: to get into their dorms, to procrastinate-workout during their first round of midterms, to eat at the Dining Commons, or use up all of their Aggie cash at the Segundo Market within the first three weeks of the quarter.
So if it’s so convenient, why do I advise against the lanyard? It’s a dead giveaway that you’re a freshman and that only increases your chances of being the victim of a group of upperclassmen yelling “FRESHMEN” out of their car window on Russell Boulevard, which is just downright annoying. So, my advice is to just keep it in the small pocket of your backpack.
Olivia Luchini, Features Editor
I believe that my most embarrassing freshman moment probably stemmed from the fact that I became lactose intolerant when I turned 18 because my body decided that I should have an impossible time eating at the dining commons. Basically, I started getting dairy sensitive late in high school, but I’m nearly certain that I now have a dairy allergy. Predictably, a lot of the cuisine offered at dining commons is very dairy-centric. You’ve got that pizza, that cheesy pasta, some frosting on pastries in the morning, and so on. For someone who was used to eating dairy for her entire life, I was like, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Munch. Munch. Munch.
The worst that can happen is communal bathrooms. So, a cute little detail that I should probably include is that dairy makes me yack, and while other saucy teens might be yacking due to some cool shenanigans, I was doing it because I just LOVE garlic bread. I had two ideas about what my floormates thought. First of all, they might have thought that I was gravely ill. This would add up because every time I threw up, one of them would come running into the bathroom offering to help. This was embarrassing because I quite literally did this all to myself. The second thing that they might have thought was that I was a raging alcoholic because this would always happen at night after I swiped in for some late night pizza. This would also make sense because sometimes I’d hear little feet walk in and then leave in a hurry, with no help offered and sort of “judgy” sounding footsteps.
Basically, listen to your body and give it nutrients that it actually wants. Don’t eat cheese if you’re lactose intolerant, no matter how Italian you are. Oh, and eat a veggie when you get the chance.
Harnoor Gill, Science Editor
I like to repress all memories of freshman year of college when I can get away with it. When I am forced to reflect upon that year, as I am at the moment, my face assumes a very indecent, sour expression. Through the powerful psychological forces of repression, I have succeeded in burying the cringe-worthy memories so deep within my mind that it is almost impossible to recall. Still, one memory manages to penetrate my cranial surfaces.
One day, I was playing table tennis with a friend at Cuarto at a late hour at night. Nobody seemed to be around, so we retreated into the goofiest of states and became very “loopy,” as my friend would say. I started singing and doing the god-awful “stanky leg” dance that was so popular a few years ago. Without warning, a few guys walk in and catch me with my back turned to them, doing the dance with vigor and passion. They were quite amused and my friend nearly peed herself laughing. As for me, I was considering electrically shocking my brain to erase the humiliating memory. Anyway, I can now laugh at the memory and just remind myself not to take myself too seriously.
Dominic Faria, Sports Editor
My first year here in Davis got off to a hot start when I forgot to attend one of my classes on the very first day of instruction. Yes, despite setting my class schedule months in advance and moving into the dorms several days before the academic term actually began, I still somehow managed to forget entirely that I had TWO classes on my first ever day of being a college student. I only realized that I had failed to show up to the class later that evening while reviewing my schedule, ironically to make sure I was prepared for my classes taking place the following day.
A panic attack ensued, while images of me being kicked out of the university flashed before my eyes. As I fought off the thought of packing up everything I had just moved into my dorm room, I ultimately gathered enough courage to email the professor of whose class I had missed. Should I say I was sick? Beg for forgiveness? Just tell the truth? Eventually I decided to be somewhat candid. I explained the reason for my absence; I had mistakenly read the incorrect time on Schedule Builder. After apologizing profusely, I sent the message and waited in agony for over an hour until the professor replied. She told me that it was no problem, and just come prepared for the next class. Crisis averted. I continued the quarter as if nothing happened.
And that’s how I missed my freshman seminar on my first day of college. If I was able to bounce back from that, I think all of our newest Aggies can bounce back from anything.
Written by: The Editorial Board