What Makes UCI Unique?

This being only my second quarter at UC Irvine, I’ve made quite the shrewd observation in regards to the student body of this great university.  I realized that all those stories and rumors of the different majors possessing their own unique and random quirks and traits apart from one another is actually very true.  I came to this conclusion just last week when I was exploring the school attempting to find all of my classes for the new quarter.  Being an English and literary journalism double major, I only had classes in the humanities wing last quarter, and all within Humanities Hall.

This quarter though, things got a little spiced up with my courses being scattered among the various regions of the school, including two in the science section in Steinhaus Hall and in the Physical Sciences Classroom Building.  While traversing these foreign parts of the school, I found there was a completely different vibe in this area as compared to in the Humanities section.  Being used to the Humanities section and of the typical smug, yet goofy, fun-loving ways of the English, literary journalism, language and history majors, I was surprised to see the somber demeanor that swept throughout the corridors and passages of the science buildings.

Everyone scurried to their classes and had such a severe and professional air that emanated from them. The science people didn’t converse with one another as the Humanities majors do as they scamper to their whereabouts, and instead looked ahead of them as they pondered and ran equations and theories through their minds, or so I suppose they were doing.  I find it hilarious that the various majors can be differentiated from one another through their idiosyncrasies that reveal their schools of study.  The claims I make are tales that have been substantiated through my own keen observation.

Deciding that this was an interesting notion to explore further, I decided to do a little research and in-depth surveillance on my own, so after my morning Italian class I headed to the Claire Trevor School of the Arts with my binder and intent gaze in tow and I perched myself in front of the Contemporary Arts Center building, anticipating 9:50 a.m., when the classes would be released and I would get my chance to observe the art, music and dance majors in their natural habitat.

When 9:50 struck and the classes began to disperse, I was intrigued by the also quiet yet eclectic and eccentric demeanors of the art students.  They quietly went on their ways, mainly sticking to themselves.   Many donned black garb while others went the other way in flashy, fun, gaudy colors and scarves that expressed their inner creativity.  The dance people on the other side were a tad more communicative with one another, and in their leotards and swept up buns, they radiated an energetic grace.  While in the arts wing, I definitely felt a cool serenity that fostered the inner vigor of the Van Goghs and the Yo-Yo Mas of UCI .

My last stop on my research excursion was to Engineering Hall to visit my friend and neighbor in his lab.  While traveling through the engineering and computer sciences vicinity, I encountered a whole new ambiance.  A hush was swept over this region and made it into the most silent of all the areas of the school I had visited.  Leaves slowly fell from their branches and quietly perched upon the sidewalk as composed students sat mutely before their computers and iPhones, intently staring at the screens.

The people who were in motion around the area had avoiding eyes that seemed to gaze at the imaginary equations and machinery that were before them in their minds.  My friend fits perfectly in this area, as he has a solemnity and intelligence about him that helps him greatly in his many successes as he works at getting his doctorate degree.  I found also that the people in this area dress similarly to one another in V-neck cardigans in monotonous colors that draw away from any sense of lavishness; instead they only fixate and support rational efficiency.

From the biomedical engineers who from my observance are studious and yet know how to party hard, to the music majors who are perpetual and fun-loving nerds and outgoing introverts at heart to history majors who are entertaining yet reflective it is apparent that there are certain traits and qualities that are shared among majors.  There are always the exclusions of people who do not fit these stereotypical typecasts, but it is fun to know that if I am ever in dire need of a good time, that the biomedical engineering building is not far away, and a great party is just around the corner.

Stephanie Weldy is a third-year English and literary journalism double major. She can be reached at weldys@uci.edu.