College is four years dedicated to drinking, partying, socializing and never remembering a thing the next day. That is the perception of college many freshmen have, whether they hear it from older siblings, friends or media.
It is said to be the ‘best time of your life,’ but what exactly do people mean when they say that?
None of the freshmen interviewed in this article know what to expect in their upcoming years. But they all share similar goals: to meet as many people as possible, pass all their classes, learn to be more responsible and just have fun.
When Morgan Richards, first-year chemical engineering major, was asked what she thought of UC Irvine so far, she said, ‘I love how big it is; I feel like I can walk forever.’
It is not surprising that Richards and other freshman feel overwhelmed by UCI’s size: 1,489 acres.
With approximately 24,000 students, 1,400 faculty members and 8,300 staff, it’s no wonder why the school is ‘Under Construction Indefinitely.’
Shannon Leypoldt, first-year dance major, said she was ‘pleasantly surprised’ by what UCI has to offer.
‘So far I think the school is absolutely amazing, the people are so nice and helpful, and I feel like my success is something that is really important to them,’ said Deandra Arena, first-year political science major.
The size of college is a shock to many incoming freshmen, whether it is the lecture halls that accommodate more than 400 students, the events and activities on and around Ring Road or just the time it takes to walk from one side of campus to the next.
Helpful Hint #1: Pace yourself. Give yourself at least 10 minutes if you are walking from the Multipurpose Science and Technology Building to the Social Science Laboratory.
Mark Chu, first-year undeclared major, said he is excited and looking forward to starting school, but then he added, ‘I signed up for 18 units. I’m [dead].’
Helpful Hint #2: Do not kill yourself by trying to take all your classes at once. You have four years here; take it easy in the beginning.
Colin Dubel, first-year undeclared student, contrasted high school and college. ‘I like to expand and learn about different things, and I love how you actually have options for classes and not a set schedule.’
New students are also impressed by dorm life.
‘The water pressure in the bathrooms is wonderful,’ said Giselle Laurie, first-year dance major.
‘I love the dorms. It’s totally my style, and not like a hotel,’ said her suitemate, Lital Abrahams, first-year drama major.
There are many things freshmen must learn to adjust to upon entering college, especially when living in the dorms.
An only child might have to learn to deal with another person living less than 10 feet away from them for a whole year. The antisocial, independent crowd is forced to take part in activities and games held by the housing staff. Germaphobes must live in a house with 60 strangers.
One adjustment all freshmen living on campus have to make is being away from home. Many freshmen instantly think of college as a way to escape parental control, which is true. But at the same time, they tend to overlook the part where they must develop into responsible, independent, mature adults.
Do your own laundry. Wake yourself up for class. Actually make it to class. Do your homework. Shop for your own groceries. Develop healthy eating habits. Manage your spending. This is the lifestyle to which freshmen must adapt.
There is no parental control, but then control lies in the hands of the freshman.
When asked what his plans are now that he is away at college, Albert Chen, first-year business economics major, said, ‘To pass my classes.’
Helpful Hint #3: Read to pass your classes. The more you wait to read, the more it adds up, and the less you make the effort to actually read. Start reading the homework assignments once they are given out and you will avoid this common mistake.
‘I think college will change me, and I think I will find out more about my personality,’ said Ashley Shibuya, first-year biological sciences major.
College will change you, whether you live on campus or not. Responsibility definitely factors into your growth as a college student. Many adults overlook the fact that college is a transition phase for most, and belittle our role as students.
Most college students can vouch for the fact that freshman year was not an easy transition to make. It takes time and multiple adjustments to get used to college life. But what college molds you into lasts a lifetime.
College is a time to ‘test the waters,’ according to Chu. It’s a time to see what fields you might be most accomplished in, what time of day you work best, how different people contribute to your social environment and what really inspires you.
‘The school I came from wasn’t very diverse, and coming to UCI, I was looking forward to the diversity of people and cultures,’ Richards said.
College does offer a more diverse atmosphere for students, but here at UCI, culture is definitely a distinct feature offered to all students.
A last note to all freshmen: have fun this year. Do not stress out. It’s the easiest year you have to just have fun, and it will be over sooner than you can imagine. Just take it easy, breathe and let the good times roll.
Filed Under: Features