It Turns Out I’m Not a Bruin, So I Guess This Anteater Just

I have been a columnist for quite some time now, but I still have the hardest time coming up with something to write about. Unlike some of the people I know who generally have an idea of what they want to write before they take on a column, I generally scramble until a day or two prior to my deadline trying to think of a topic.
But there’s only so much you can say about hockey until you just get boring and repetitive (though I might have been able to pull it off this week thanks to ‘The Great One’s’ current scandal).
However, a suggestion was made to me this week that made a lot of sense: comparing UC Irvine to some of the more famous UC schools. I had actually thought about this for a while, but never really saw how I could incorporate it into a sports column.
Thinking back to when I first wanted to write about the UCs and their reputations, I really don’t see where my difficulty of incorporating the idea into a sports column came from. All I really have to do is talk about each school’s athletics, which is really where the reputation comes from, isn’t it?
I mean, why do you think UCLA is so well-known? It’s not because of its students’ personalities, I can at least say that much. It comes down to their sports. I won’t even try doubting that UCLA is great at sports, but so is UCI. No one realizes that, though, at least not outside of Irvine. Until recently, in fact, our men’s basketball team was in first place in the Big West Conference. That’s a big deal but no one really talks about it. I doubt most of UCI even knows that we were in first. I can’t say anything about those who don’t pay attention, however. If it wasn’t for my job here at the newspaper, I probably wouldn’t have known either.
But it doesn’t end at sports. Generally, people don’t think of UCI when someone says they want to go to a UC. It’s all about Berkeley, Los Angeles or San Diego (better known to many as the ‘schools we were rejected from’).
My brother, for example, just received a partial scholarship to UC Riverside, but has decided to hold off on any final decisions until he hears back from Berkeley. Even he agrees, however, that taking the scholarship to UCR would be a huge benefit for those funding his college education (i.e., my parents who are thrilled with the fact that they might not have to pay one more tuition after all), but he’s still going to wait. Mostly, he just wants to leave Southern California, but the idea of going to one UC over another because of its reputation isn’t a big factor for him. Still, he thinks if you’re going to go for it, why not go big, referring to his mighty Cal, of course. I completely understand what he’s saying just because Berkeley’s reputation is so established, but regardless of which part of California you live in while pursuing an undergraduate degree, aren’t we all getting a UC diploma in the end?
As far as careers go, it doesn’t really matter where you are now, but where you end up. Most jobs these days look for more than just an undergraduate degree. These days it’s all about going to graduate school and getting your master’s. That in itself is actually something to laugh at since back in the day, a high school diploma would have ushered you into the type of job that now might require a MBA.
Even one of my professors recently spoke of how necessary a post-graduate degree is. Then again, he is completely biased toward economics and claims that only economics majors will make any money after they graduate, and that any student taking a course for pass/not pass will be seen by a potential employer as someone stupid. The pros and cons of being an econ major and avoiding pass/no pass is something that I’ll argue against some other time, mostly because I’m trying to avoid rambling myself away from the topic at hand.
I really don’t see why people think lower of themselves because they attend one UC over another. UCI, specifically, is still a highly ranked school that does make a lot of significant advances. It’s just because we don’t have a reputation known to the general public. Then again, we have developed quite a reputation from the UCIMC scandals, but I doubt anyone really wants that associated with their undergraduate degree.