Personally, the campus tour persuaded young, high school me that UCI was the epitome of the suburban lifestyle — homogeneous and unappealing buildings, endless attempts at the occasional greenery despite being in Southern California and the quiet of student life.
But, as I’ve come to realize, there is no tour that quite compares to being a student at UCI.
As a senior in high school, my first opinions about the tour were that it was a show consisting of a sporadic spew of meaningless facts and a tiresome display of ugly buildings. I didn’t take the time to appreciate the campus climate that resembled a breezy Saturday morning — where the whole day is left for you to make something out of it. I didn’t yet understand the welcoming and spirited student life that permeated the environment of poorly-designed buildings with flyers, posters, booths and the always amicable passers-by.
As a senior in high school, I thought that what mattered was the place itself I was looking at.
True, UCI may not be as glamorous to look at or as highly ranked as some other schools.
But, as a student, I’ve come to learn that the exterior of the buildings I study in or the name of the school don’t matter. Rather, the experiences I’ve gained and the friends I was able to make because of the supportive campus climate allowed me to thrive better than I ever thought I would.
Now, I understand that UCI can’t compare to other schools. Nowhere else is there the friendliness that UCI has. So, yes, the buildings aren’t exactly pretty, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Annie Nguyen is a first-year political sciences major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After taking a personal tour of UCI over the summer, I immediately thought of the sheer size of the campus and the number of times I would lose my way when searching for my classes. Because there was little student life on campus, my expectations matched my reality.
Not until fall quarter did my impression of the school change. It was lively, loud and the feeling of “home” pervaded the campus. There were several resource centers to aid students struggling financially, scholars longing to study abroad and those seeking a role in student government. The immense support system was a strange concept to grasp after coming from a small school. Along with the numerous support centers, the smell of freshly-cooked food along Ring Road instilled the idea of “mama’s home cooking” after the race to make a morning lecture.
Each day solidified the school’s emphasis on providing an exceptional learning environment and a memorable college experience.
While walking to classes — which proved rather easy to find due to the school’s circular layout — the campus’ beauty forces me to walk at a slow, calm pace to take in the lush, thriving trees, the clean campus and the never-ending sun.
College serves as the foundation for future success. My impression of UCI, now, is that the school acknowledges the need for academic growth and believes that key factors, such as campus vibe, are able to sustain that drive to succeed.
Lilith Martirosyan is a first year business administration major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again.
Campus tours have overrun the campus, and, if possible, made the Starbucks line even longer than usual. But how much do these tours influence the decisions of potentially incoming freshman?
Despite the encouragement of my parents, I never took a campus tour of UCI and yet, here I am, paying more than I ever have and loving every minute. The purpose of these tours is to give students an idea of what it would be like to attend UCI. That’s impossible to do in an hour walk around Ring Road.
These tours are more for parents than students. Parents tend to have this anxiety that their child has to know the campus inside and out before making a decision to attend. They want to know that UCI is one of the nation’s top research universities, but students want to know that Taco Bell will be open until 1 a.m. For attending students, the hordes of people walking through Student Center during campus tours are an inconvenience.
I understand students’ desires to see the campus, but families will gain about the same amount of perspective from spending a day at UCI that they do by taking a tour with facts their forget. I did research online, found the school that was right for me, and walked onto campus for the first time on day one of classes — and it all worked out just fine.
Caitlin Antonios is a second-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I actually took a tour of the school during SPOP. In terms of helping familiarize me with the campus, it honestly had little effect. The tour was too quick for me to actually take stock of buildings, although I do believe it was an interesting way to be introduced to UCI; I learned several interesting facts about our campus that I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. The tour highlighted the coolest and most unique aspects of our campus, so that walking away from it, I was pretty hyped about attending UCI.
However, the tour as it is now aims at giving a brief overview and highlight reel of the campus. This might be imperative in attracting potential students, but it does not equip already-admitted students with the knowledge of the campus that they’re actually going to need and will apply when they start their academic careers at UCI.
I think tours would be a lot more useful if they were split up in terms of major and college to help students familiarize themselves with the buildings and classrooms where they would be taking the majority of their classes. Each college in and of itself is pretty big and complex, with several buildings each.
In addition, students should also go on in-depth tours of essential administrative buildings. For example, learning how to navigate Aldrich Hall or the many resources at the Student Center would be more useful for incoming students, considering most current students utilize the services in those buildings quite frequently.
Ashley Duong is a first-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
UCI is practically in my backyard. As a commuter with plenty of alumni relatives, I never took a campus tour, since I knew it was likely I’d become an Anteater myself. While my decision wavered at times, I chose to attend UCI to save money for graduate school, whatever that entailed.
My friends and teachers gave me a hard time for this, arguing that I’d miss the quintessential “college experience” by commuting and going to a school so close to home.
To be honest, I didn’t disagree with them. As I started my freshman year, I believed UCI would be an extension of high school, except the stakes were higher — another four years spent in the epitome of suburbia, presumably in a library on the brink of a caffeine-fueled existential crisis.
While the latter is somewhat true — a highlight of my first quarter was realizing Del Sushi delivers to the Ayala Library — I’ve realized that UCI has given me countless opportunities that I might not have received at other schools.
Maybe I don’t have one of those Mesa Court sweatshirts that everyone wears around midterms week, but I’m grateful to have professors who inspire their students to stay curious. I’m equally grateful to go to a school that’s 20 minutes from my house, a beach and at least three shopping districts.
So, really, campus tours shouldn’t be so heavily emphasized in choosing a university. Sometimes the campus has to grow on you, and that’s not something that can happen in an hour-long trek with a horde of other people.
Brittany Pham is a second-year biological sciences major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I went on my first tour of UCI after already being accepted, so I knew that no matter what I saw I would have to embrace it.
From what I remember, my first tour wasn’t super impressive. It was mostly just being walked around Ring Road with about 50 other kids and being told all the generic UCI facts like, “If you speak into this hole, it sounds like Darth Vader” or “This is Humanities Hall, which is basically our campus movie theater.”
The one thing that still strikes me about my first visit to UCI, was Aldrich Park and how big it was. Coming from a high school which only had about three buildings, a football field, a gym and a couple of other fields, the size of it (and the campus as a whole) was pretty astonishing. Now, I walk through campus fully aware that it isn’t as gigantic as I thought it was, but for that one day, Aldrich Park was a legitimate forest.
In reality, I’m not sure that any university could have fit into what my expectation of college was. What I know now, though, is that how a campus appears on first look is way different from how it actually is, and I’ll always respect a humane campus. Say what you want about how UCI looks, but at least it’s a mostly humane school. At least they don’t charge $60,000 per year for tuition.
Roy Lyle is a second-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at email@example.com