Me in UCI

The internet is back at it again with a new meme, this time focusing on where people live. Twitter is currently filled with people making jokes about how they describe themselves inside a specific place, and how they describe themselves outside of it, with the latter overflowing with pride.

It’s like that for UCI students — we don’t know how to talk about UCI when we’re in it (unless you’re a tour guide, in which case, kudos to you), but we somehow manage to describe it when we’re not. In fact, it’s easier to talk about UCI to people who aren’t UCI students.

It could be that I’m incredibly competitive, but it’s easy for me to gush about UCI because I want to show people that UCI is the best. I don’t talk about UCI often, but when I do, it’s not hard to explain why.

Personally, I love UCI, but my love for this university didn’t start because of Peter The Anteater. I was able to appreciate this institution during my first year. Since that year ended, there are many things that I credit for my Anteater pride.

Ring Road saves lives. The fact that the main campus is a circle means that even though you can get lost on campus, you will eventually find the place you are looking for if you just keep walking. At the same time, main core is divided by schools, so if you have lecture at the Social Science Lecture Hall, you know you need to go to the social sciences side of campus. The same goes for humanities, STEM, education and everything else.

There is a beautiful park right in the middle of campus. Yes, we have heard of universities that have parks scattered around their campus, but UCI literally has a huge park right in the middle of campus. Aldrich Park is probably one of the best aspects about UCI for the students. If you need to take a break from studying, you can sit on the grass; you can have a picnic; take a nap. Here, everything is an option — the park is open 24/7, so go enjoy it.

A little fun fact is that some movies have been filmed on campus, including “Planet of the Apes,” “Poltergeist” and “Ocean’s Eleven.” So yes, UCI students are best friends with Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Since our first year, UCI students are taught how to zot, and we are encouraged to ZOT ZOT ZOT everywhere. Besides the fact that we are trained to be Anteaters, former president Barack Obama came to UCI to give a commencement speech and learned how to zot. So, we as Anteaters get to say that Obama is an honorary Anteater as well (yes, he did zot wrong, but we don’t talk about that).

Every year, UCI has its own little music festival, Shocktoberfest. It happens at the beginning of fall quarter to welcome the students to a new year. Kendrick Lamar, Kehlani, Rae Sremmurd, and more have performed in the Bren Events Center, and students get to see their favorite artists for a very cheap price.

UCI also provides a diverse and welcoming environment. Walking around campus, I love that I see people presenting themselves in whatever fashion, shape, or form they wish to. UCI can be a haven for anyone since the campus offers an open setting.

For people who are interested in journalism, UCI is the only UC that offers it as an undergraduate major. Other UCs offer communication majors, but if you wish to learn how to write, UCI offers a literary journalism major which does just that. It also prepares you for the future with skills that you will definitely need if you wish to pursue a journalistic career.
When people ask me why I love UCI, I just say that I am never lost because I can always find my way, that the campus is beautiful, that George Clooney and I hang out on Fridays and that there is no better fit for me. So, yes, during the school year I may be stressed with classes and a bit sleep-deprived, but as soon as break starts, I can’t wait to go back to UCI.

Oriana Gonzalez is a second-year literary journalism major and a gender and sexuality studies minor. She can be reached at orianag@uci.edu.