UC Irvine has an interesting student population encompassing all ethnicities and walks of life. Most people seek new experiences and gain new perspectives on life when they come to a college like UCI. However, for many students, these benefits are but a memory of their freshman year.
Housing makes college more enjoyable by bringing students together to share ideas and experiences. You can try to meet people in class or join a club on campus, but when you share a room or live next door to someone, you experience the same small nuances every day. You truly get to know your dormmates and form friendships that are hard to come by these days.
When you live in a well-built dorm like the Unit I and II halls of Mesa Court, which are designed to emphasize community, you get a much more interesting college experience. Why should UCI care? Well, because someone should. Someone on staff has to have the seemingly unimportant job of making UCI an interesting school to attend.
I’m guessing that most administration officials think that encouraging more clubs on campus is the answer, or maybe adding a Starbucks or even a pub. Those ideas are decent, but the fact is that most students live in bland, off-campus apartments and hardly interact with other students, apart from passing a bunch of people on Ring Mall.
Sure, we all have our circles of friends, but I know that I lost many of my contacts simply because we live so far apart. Is it just me? Sure, living in the dorms was a hassle. They were noisy and unsanitary, but that’s what college life is supposed to be like. It’s not supposed to be all neat and organized … hell, no. Save that for the next 50 years of your life.
UCI: please build some housing that makes students like where they live. Let’s have a layout that incorporates a homely atmosphere and original architecture, not just economy. After a month at Mesa Court, I became attached to the feel of it, the joy of seeing my friends and the fun I could have just by walking out of my room. Can anybody say that about any other place in Irvine?
Over the last three years of student life at UCI, exciting activities and interesting experiences have been few and far between. Even when I lived across the street from the university, I rarely interacted with my neighbors. Well, there were a few times, but it wasn’t the same as the dorms.
You can’t just wander down the hall and chill at your suitemate’s room or plant some girl’s thong that you found in the laundry above his door so that it falls on his head when he opens it. You can’t even hide in your friend’s closet at night and wait 15 minutes to scare the shit out of him.
When you live in an apartment, it’s hard to get to know the person next door. But if you walk by someone’s open door every day, you might as well say, “What’s up?” which leads to parties on Thursday nights and random drunkenness in the halls.
It all starts with a situation where people are encouraged to interact. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. Just try living in Newport North for a year and seeing how many new people you meet.
I’m going to graduate from UCI, and my transcript is full of hard classes with decent grades. From a scholarly standpoint, my last four years have been well spent. But there has been a void in my life for the last three of them: the lack of connections with other students.
Sure, I still see my dormmates and we still joke around, but since we all live apart, it’s just not the same. If UCI plans to create a campus community, it should be similar to a Unit II hall like Cumbre. When you live in that kind of community, it’s hard for life to get boring. And boring is the only word I can use to describe my last three years at UCI.
I’m just an average dude with a busy schedule who enjoyed my first year of life on campus because I learned a lot and became a better person. I’m pretty sure that “building character” or “promoting personal growth” is somewhere on the official list of UC goals … so let’s start with housing.
Eric Flores is a fourth-year civil engineering major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed Under: Opinion