Zot to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Irvine is boring. There’s nothing to do. UCI’s dead on the weekends. If you’re a new student, you should be prepared to hear this all the time. If you’re a returning Anteater, you’ve probably heard this, said this and believed this for awhile. Or, you’ve broken the apathetic mold and found UCI to be the college experience you always wanted. So what’s the secret? What makes or breaks your UCI experience?

Honestly, this week is the best week of the year. This is the week you can get your name on mailing lists, sample clubs, get to know your new hallmates and explore Orange County for the first time. You  could also watch hours of Netflix in your room like you do at home. (Brief suggestion: watch Netflix with your hallmates instead!)

Start off on the right foot and UCI will treat you right. You will find adventure, you will make memories and you will love your school.  Hell, you might even find yourself aware and informed about the issues facing your campus to the point of being moved to get involved. In our many collective years here at UCI, this editorial board has seen countless instances of just one student starting an avalanche. Do you want to break a world record? Start planning. Do you want to protest something you don’t believe in? Start organizing.

You may be overwhelmed by the budgetary crisis, the faltering economic system and all the articles saying that these are not the best of times to be in college, but shut that out. Perhaps all those concerns are real, but college will be worth it. You’ll learn some stuff you care about, you’ll forget a lot of stuff you don’t, you’ll take on internships, you’ll join a club that forms your future, you’ll meet some of the coolest and craziest people ever in classes, the pub, your housing community, the ARC or a party.

So here’s the real secret to success you need to know: make it your own. For us here at the New U, we can safely say that our college experience may not be the typical one, but we can say that it’s pretty excellent. From the first story each of us took to the first production day as a team, each of us took an active role in sculpting our college experience. Each of us has found family here at the New U or elsewhere in our other circles of friends. Regardless of what we’ve all done, UCI did not make us its inhabitants; rather, we made it our home.

Things won’t be handed to you here. Professors won’t beg you to hang out with them during office hours so they can write you a recommendation letter. Clubs won’t form around you. You will not get great grades if you never go to class. (Well, maybe that’ll happen for some, but definitely not all of them!) You will not get into good graduate programs without trying. And you certainly won’t have fun if you don’t seek it out first.

Anteaters, be good to each other. Put yourself out there – bake for your hall, knock on doors and invite people to go out, join an academic club, find a religious organization, sign up for research units and check out random interest groups. Do it. We promise it’ll be worth it.

And you know what, while you’re at it, you might as well start talking to people in your classes. Lifelong friends can be made in Humanities Core (weird, we know) and your Spanish class might have the most perfect combination of personalities, so tap into that. Talk to the people in your major classes — they’ll answer your annoying questions about missed lectures and homework, they’ll trash-talk awful professors with you, they’ll peer-edit your paper the night before it’s due. Sounds like a good friend, right? And even crazier, you’ll find yourself willing to do the same for them.

Whatever you do, find a family here. Invest in them. Love them. This is the time to make great friends and connections that could last you a lifetime. They’ll change you, they’ll grow with you and you’ll do the same for them. Some day in the future you may just find an old friend in a high place just when you need a new job. And maybe you’ll walk arm-in-arm with them at your graduation four or five years from now.

Please send comments to newuopinion@newuniversity.org. Include your name, year, and major.