A change of pace

The value of an idyllic college town filled with resources is unbeatable

Spring Quarter has been filled with remote instruction, working from home, virtual workouts with friends and countless zoom calls to maintain sanity. I am back in my hometown, and to make the most of it, I reconnected with old friends.

During a high school friend’s social distance-compliant birthday celebration, a mix of my old friends, who are seniors at various colleges, and their roommates reflected on our last four years. Suddenly someone asked, “Why are UC Davis students so happy?” and all heads snapped toward me, eager for an explanation.

Everyone had only heard positive experiences from friends who attend Davis. The others were swapping horror stories about their colleges while I felt a sense of pride when I realized they envied the ease and joys of my college town experience.

As I reflected on my years at Davis, I remembered that the biggest lifestyle change was the pace of life. Hailing from Los Angeles and having attended a private high school in the middle of Hollywood, I was accustomed to chaotic 45-minute commutes to and from school, car dinners, friends scattered across the city and driving myself everywhere from the time I turned 16.

My freshman year at Davis felt like a convenient dream, since everything I needed was within walking or biking distance. All of my friends lived within minutes of my dorm, and even when I moved off campus, my furthest friend was just a 10-minute drive away. The close proximity of downtown and the lush Arboretum provided a sense of community and serenity.

While UC Davis is in a small college town, it is packed with resources and bountiful opportunities. Clubs and intramural sports introduced me to a new set of friends. Spanish classes catapulted me across the world to study language and culture and connected me to my first fellow Aggie staff members. Professors were eager to help me learn — they provided me with teaching opportunities and aided my professional growth. 

I challenged myself at the start of college to join at least one new activity or club each year. I was looking for an opportunity to be a graphic designer and was fortunate that The California Aggie was hiring. Remotely creating graphics for The Aggie for the past two years meant that I did not work in person with my Aggie colleagues, but it trained me well for remote classes and work during shelter-in-place. While peers were struggling to adapt to online learning and working from home, The Aggie had prepared me to work online and to be a self-disciplined and independent worker.

I will fondly remember my years at UC Davis for its community and opportunity. Davis surpassed my expectations as a college town, and the university provided a nourishing environment to grow and prepare for the next step. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Written by: Tessa Koga

Tessa Koga joined The California Aggie in fall 2018 as a graphic designer. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in design and a minor in history. 

This column is a part of our 2020 Senior Issue. The rest of the issue can be found here.