Do you remember your first quarter here at UCI along with all the anxieties that came along with entering a four year university? For some of us, the anticipation and trepidation of entering the real world is still fresh in our minds (chances are, if you’re a first-year reading this, they still are). Jumping from one environment to a completely new surrounding is, after all, a memorable experience, whether you’re an impressionable first-year, nose still wet from the high school womb or a transfer student who must face the task of trading old habits for new ones.
In discussing his transition from a suburban public high school in Elk Grove, first-year Adrian Francisco says, “It’s not much different than Irvine besides the expensive prices of everything there, but it’s a completely new environment. In addition to the newfound freedom that I get from being so far away from home, you know you’re not with the same people from high school because they actually like to learn and get involved, and [they] hopefully worked their butts to get here.”
As most new undergraduate students come to discover, unfortunately, the prospects for freedom and higher education in a four-year university comes with a toll … literally. Having to pay for some homework services definitely came as a shock to Claudia Paredes. A first-year from middle-class suburbia, Paredes considered financial issues top amongst her fears for college.
“I didn’t think I would have enough money for my books and for any other expenses in the three months that I was in school.” Not wanting to worry her parents with finances, Claudia rationed her paychecks to cover costs. “In the end everything turned out alright even though I spent the quarter with 26 bucks in the bank.”
Even Francisco, who claims to have taken careful measures to prepare and pack for whatever was necessary in college, reminds us that no one is exempt from life’s sudden impulses. “What caught me by surprise is that I found myself pledging my first quarter.”
Currently an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, Francisco received a fistful of reality in the fall quarter when he realized how starkly different juggling schoolwork and extracurricular activities in college is from high school.
“Classes were surely something worrisome as I can tell from the first quarter. You can’t get by doing the minimum middle-effort from high school. Studying is required and everything. I thought I was doing so well in my classes based off the quizzes and midterms, but the final told me otherwise.”
As prominent and typical as these freshmen concerns are, not all actually spawn into existence. Most of us have heard (if not experienced) the roommate horror story for instance, but for some fortunate people like Francisco, they remain unfounded fears. “The thing that worried me was the roommate situation — I went completely random and ended up with a person I wasn’t too certain about. We’re good now, but that anticipation for the announcements was horrible,” said Francisco.
While wide-eyed freshmen spend their first quarter adjusting to college life, transfer students engage the school year geared with prior experience behind them, though they do encounter their fair share of difficulties. Victor Lichter, a third-year transfer from UC Riverside, feels the change now that he is able to commute to school from his hometown in Westminster.
“It’s definitely different from having my own place and I am not going to lie, I regret it! I love my family but it’s just something extra to think about when you have to live according to someone else’s schedule. I am moving out as soon as I can,” said Lichter
Having already undergone the initial introduction to college life, Lichter has not experienced anything too unprecedented, though he did have this to say on his first quarter here: “Cute girls are everywhere at UCI. It’s just nice to be able to look around and find beauty abundant. I didn’t know beforehand that it was going to be like this, but it’s a pretty sweet surprise!”With the first quarter of the year behind them, exciting and challenging as it may have been, most freshmen and transfers learn what they can from it and come back ready to face whatever else life at UCI decides to throw at them.
“Sometimes there was a breakdown here and there, especially during pledging,” says Francisco, “but from that I’ve learned that it’s good to find a support system amongst your friends to help you get through it.”