As a study abroad returnee, I can honestly say that choosing to study abroad was one of the best decisions that I made during my undergraduate career here at UC Davis. There are over 300… More
As college students, we spend most of our quarter maintaining a delicate balance of work hard, play hard. As tempting as it is to become a couch potato over Winter Break, there are still plenty of important things to do. Here are 21 things to make the best of your winter vacation.
1. Apply for scholarships and internships.
This doesn’t have to consume your entire break! Spend a couple hours applying various scholarships and internships. All you need is one yes!
You don’t have to wait until Jan 1st to hit the gym. Keep your body happy and healthy to stay in top condition as you feast during those holiday meals. It’ll help you look, feel, and perform better.
3. Host a holiday get together
Gather a group of your oldest friends and talk the night away. Play some fun games and reminisce old times while celebrating where everyone’s paths have led them.
4. Update your resume/cover letter
Add anything new that you’ve become involved with, and spice up what you currently have. It’s always good to have a fresh resume ready for whenever an opportunity arises.
5. Catch up on Reading
When was the last time that you read something for leisure? Probably years ago! Cozy up with a book of your interest during one of those rainy afternoons.
6. Purge Your Closet
Take time to clean out your closet and donate old clothes to those in need. Some good places to donate to are local shelters, crisis centers, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army.
7. Cook a meal for your family
You’ve somehow survived at least one quarter without food from home. Show your family what master chef skills you’ve acquired from having to feed yourself.
The holidays are a good time to give back to your community and help those in need. Volunteer at a local shelter, soup kitchen, or parade to spread the holiday spirit.
9. Go shopping for Loved Ones
It’s sales galore during the holidays! Find a perfect gift for your friends and family and revel in that look of joy when you get them what they’ve been wanting.
10. Do a DIY project
Whether or not you’re creative, try a fun DIY by yourself or with some friends. You never know what you might create!
Traveling abroad can be a life changing, noteworthy experience. This doesn’t have to be very expensive or require a plane ticket; road trips are just as exciting!
12. Play in the snow
It only snows during winter, so make the best of it while it lasts. Be sure to bundle up before building a snowman, creating snow angels, or starting a snowball fight.
13. Ice Skating
Ice Skating is a wintertime classic. Even if you don’t know how to ice skate, grab a pair of skates and a buddy to enjoy this activity together!
14. Visit a theme park
Go to a nearby theme park for old time’s sake. Be a kid again!
15. Jam out to some holiday tunes
What’s more fun than singing your heart out with the ones you’re most comfortable with? Rock out to your favorite holiday album, or my personal favorite, Michael Bublé.
16. Baking cookies
What warms the soul more than freshly baked cookies? Bring the household together to bask in the smell of deliciousness sweetness.
17. Watch a movie or show
There are a variety of movies that come out during the holiday season – action, comedy, suspense. If you prefer your home screen over the big screen, snuggle up and find your new favorite show on Netflix.
18 .Do some self reflection
Look back on what worked for you and what didn’t to make sure the next quarter is as strong as it can be! It can only get better from here.
Although there might not be enough time to commit to a full fledged internship, now’s a good time to catch a glimpse at what your future career field may be. Regardless of if you know where you want to go, this is a valuable experience.
20. Make some money
Plenty of stores look for temporary help around the holiday season. Keep an eye out for businesses needing short term help or neighbors looking for odd jobs to be done.
21. Get some well deserved rest 🙂
You don’t get too much time to just take a step back and relax, so turn off those alarms and recover. Pamper yourself!
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor
Do you know, out of the 37,398 students enrolled in UC Davis in Fall 2016, 11.73% are international students? (As sciency as I am, I did the math – this is 4387 students!)
College is a great time to explore and experience. UC Davis not only provides great academic programs, but also creates a rich globalized environment where students can meet people from different cultures and nationality backgrounds.
The students in the official statistics above are F-1 or J-1 visa holding students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They either study at UC Davis for a full four-year degree, for short term exchange, or for language programs. However, some students who had their entire education before college in another country, or moved around several countries, will also self identify as international students even if they are U.S. citizens.
For all the official and self-identified international students, know that you do have support from the College of Biological Sciences and that you are not experiencing the transitions alone. Here are some advice from a third year international student peer to anyone who has moved to UCD from far away:
Reflect: What to gain from the UC Davis experience?
As an international student, the first thing you will want to consider is, what do you want to gain from this study abroad experience? The earlier you identify your goal, the more time you can work on it and the more experience you can gain. Everyone has their own unique goal at UC Davis. If you want to immerse in American culture, join clubs and go to events. If you wish to improve on public speaking, take classes and do related internships. If you want to do research, start looking for opportunities in research labs. There are so many things you can do to design your own study abroad experience. Enjoy the best time of life!
Culture is an essential piece embedded in personal values and social structures. You may be aware of some cultural differences beforehand, but unexpected culture shock moments can happen. Be flexible when you experience unfamiliar situations, and be open to try new things (a food, an activity, or a GE class). Look at cultural differences as part of your UC Davis learning and don’t limit yourself!
As you already know, UC Davis is in the quarter system, which is different from many other schools. Time can go by really fast on a quarter system, and by the time you know, it is already the first midterm! Remember to attend classes and utilize office hours/tutoring sessions to clarify any questions. As an international student, it is also very important to maintain full time status by taking at least 12 units every quarter. Other than that, remember to reach minimum progress every year, which is an average of 13 units per quarter. Read more about good academic standing on the UC Davis Office of the University Registrar page and visit the Services for International Students and Scholars if you have concerns related to your visa status.
UC Davis is a big campus, space-wise and population-wise, but you can definitely build your own sense of community. Professors and advisors are more than happy to help international students with questions related to academics and non-academics. The International center, Cross Culture Center, and the Student Health and Counseling Services are also great resources to seek help. Most importantly, be open to making new friends, and remember to stay in contact with family and your old pals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other people for support!
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year, Genetics and Genomics Major
As winter is slowly approaching, it seems as though everyone gets attacked with the sniffles or has some sort of cold. Is it the change of weather or the failure to take care of your body? Or is it both? Even though cold weather arrives, sickness does not have to automatically follow. There are certain things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim to the common cold.
Below are some simple things you can do to stay healthy and feel great during the winter:
1. Sleep! With midterms right around the corner, students tend to get less and less sleep. However, lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds and decreasing your school performance. Think of sleep as a way to recharge your internal battery. Similar to a cell phone battery, as soon as you see the warning sign, you quickly locate a charger to prevent the phone from dying; why are we not doing the same with our bodies? Are they not more valuable than a cell phone? When you feel that your internal battery is decreasing make sure to get rest or check out one of the many nap locations Davis offers.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet!
Students’ diet mostly consists of coffee, granola bars, or something from the nearby vending machine that will provide quick energy to get throughout the day. Even though this is the norm, it is not always the healthiest option. Students should not neglect their basic needs, but instead make an even better effort to nourish their bodies. If you want to get better results in your academics, it is scientifically proven that a healthy diet is necessary. Eating foods that are high in the essential vitamins and minerals will help keep your immune system strong. Some examples of this will be Vitamin C and Zinc so make sure to include fruit, veggies, plenty of lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and nuts in your diet. A very useful tool to purchase all your fruits and veggies in Davis is the fruit and veggie map. Also, the Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) offer nutrition and cooking classes at no cost to students. These classes encourage students to make their own meals and are meant to provide the student with cooking skills and nutrition education.
3. Exercise Regularly! As students, our lives revolve around midterms, papers, quizzes, homework, and the list goes on. Can you imagine trying to fit in a workout when you feel like you do not have enough time for all the assignments that are due? But did you know that exercise increases memorization, improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, and helps your immune system fight simple infections such as the common cold or flu. Wow! That should be more than enough reasons why you should exercise. During a study break, visit the gym at the ARC or you could do simple exercises in your own room. If I have been studying for a while and start to get restless, I’ll take a walk around the building or practice my handstands. The little exercise break gives my brain a rest and then I can continue to study effectively.
4. Stay warm! Even though it still feels warm outside, the weather is changing and cold season is near. In a few weeks, it will be time to wear all those warm scarves and sweaters that were tucked away all summer! Since the temperature is dropping, it is more important than ever to bundle up. Temperatures drop quickly in Davis, so even though it may be warm during the day, at night it may be freezing. So always make sure to bring a jacket just in case.
Remember, even though cold weather is approaching it is still important to take care your body physically and mentally. Choose to stay healthy because by doing this, you and your body will benefit and you will get great results in return! Keep in mind, taking care of your body is very important, especially since you only have one!
BASC Peer Adviser
Fifth Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Religious Studies Double Major
Starting a new student organization might seem intimidating, but if you follow these simple steps then you’ll be good to go in no time. Last Spring I decided to start my own organization called Princess Pals at UC Davis. This is a club where students dress up as Disney Princesses to bring joy to children in hospitals, homeless shelters, schools, etc. We hold special activities such as tea parties, art and crafts, and story telling. By completing these steps quickly, we were able to become approved in just a few weeks.
1. Choose a name for your organizations
a. The name you choose must not violate the university trademark. You can use the school’s name only to describe location (i.e Princess Pals at UC Davis or UC Davis Princess Pals)
b. While you may have member requirements, they must not be discriminatory (they cannot be based off of protected characteristics such as sex, race, etc)
2. Fill out “New Student Organization Interest Form”
a. You will create a profile with your Kerberos ID and proceed to fill out the form at https://orgsync.com/login/ucdavis
b. Keep in mind the purpose and mission of your organization because you will be asked on the form
3. Recruit 4 other currently enrolled UC Davis students to be officers in your organization.
a. This step usually takes the longest! All 4 students must review and verify the form prior to submission for approval
b. Make sure you get their emails and phone numbers to include on the form and to have for future communication
3. After you are approved as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) you’ll most likely want to create an Agency Account through the school. This will allow you to…
a. Reserve rooms on campus
b. Apply for CFC grants and other on campus financial services
c. Rent equipment from on campus services
To activate your account you will need to bring $35 in cash or check to the ARC business Center along with a printed copy of your registered student organization confirmation email.
Good luck! As long as you follow these steps you’ll be ready to go in no time!
If you have further questions then the Center For Student Involvement (CSI) is the place to go. They are located on the 4th floor of the MU and their phone number is (530)752-2027.
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
The school year is finally winding down and summer is fast-approaching! For many students, summer is the perfect time to relax, to soak up some sun, and to catch up on your favorite Netflix shows. However for pre-health students, summer can also be the perfect time to gain worthwhile experiences to boost your application.
What is the best way to spend my summer?
The truth is that the possibilities are endless. The best way to spend your summer really depends on what you want to accomplish. Is there a specific part of your application that is lacking? Do you need more volunteer hours? Do you need more clinical experiences or research? Do you need to boost your GPA? Or perhaps you have questions that you still need the answers to?
Before you start searching for experiences, I suggest that you sit down and take some time to ask yourself the questions above. What story are you trying to tell the admissions committee? Are you an individual who is passionate about working with underserved communities? Or are your passions driven by research? Or perhaps mentoring and advising? Once you start identifying who you are and what you are passionate about, then it will become much easier to navigate the internet for potential experiences. You will be able to narrow down your search and to eliminate opportunities that you don’t find interesting.
What is my story?
For me, I didn’t sit down and ask myself these questions until the end of my freshman year. Before spring quarter, I was really eager to dive into internships and to get involved, but I was overwhelmed by all the opportunities available. I didn’t know how to navigate campus resources and how to be selective about my experiences. I simply said “YES!” to the first internship that showed interest in me. This was a HUGE mistake because I was miserable in some of my first internships. I was so determined to find any internship that I forgot to stay honest with myself. So at the end spring quarter, I began to ask myself: Who are you really? What do you enjoy doing? Where do you want to be in the next few years? I realized that my passions were working with undeserved communities, children, and students. I wanted to pursue advising/tutoring and to gain clinical experience. With these desires in mind, I went to the Internship and Career Center and the Undergraduate Research Center to get help! They were able to help me narrow down my search to find experiences that accurately portrayed who I was as a person.
What types of experiences can I do?
There are countless opportunities that you can pursue, including:
Summer is the perfect time to do research. During the school year, it can be difficult and exhausting to juggle a full course load with 10-15 hours of research each week. But in the summer, you have much more time and energy to dedicate towards your lab work.
A common misconception is that laboratory research is the only kind that pre-health schools like. However, ALL research on the UC Davis campus is valuable. In addition to lab research, you can try clinical research and social science research. The most important thing is to find a project that truly interests you!
I recommend going to the Undergraduate Research Center as the first step. The URC advisors can help you to connect with professors that are doing research in a subject of your interest. They can also help you to draft a strong cover letter and resume.
Another thing you can do over the summer is internships. There are countless internship opportunities on the internet, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Health Related Internships (HRI)
The HRI are unique to UC Davis. HRI are a wonderful first step to gaining clinical experience within a hospital setting. And the best part is that there is NO application or interview necessary! Simply sign up for a pass time and choose the position and time that works best for you. HRI span across many health-related fields including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition, public health, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. These internships can be a great way to learn more about what specialty you hope to pursue in the future.
- Medical Missions
MEDLife and the Global Medical Brigades are two popular programs on campus that will allow you to travel while gaining hands-on clinical experience.
- Health-Related Internships through the Washington Program
- Volunteer at a Student Run Clinic
UC Davis’ student-run clinics serve various underserved populations in the Sacramento community. Volunteering at a clinic will not only provide you with valuable clinical experience, it can also pave the way for future leadership opportunities!
Explore Your Hobbies and PassionsLastly, but most importantly, spend your summer doing something that you are passionate about. Admissions committees want to learn about who you are as an individual outside of school. Pursue your hobbies! Hang out with friends or even your dog! Read a book, go hiking, or maybe try something completely brand new. Whatever you choose to do, remember to stay true to you!
I hope you found this blog useful! Good luck with the rest of your quarter and have an amazing summer!
4th year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Class of 2017
BASC Peer Advisor
If UC Davis was a category in the game Taboo, one of the tabooed words would be “animal.” UC Davis is internationally acclaimed for our animal facilities. There are so many resources available to expand your knowledge, which may be particularly appealing for Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity or Marine and Coastal Science majors, or just if you love animals. Take advantage of all the unique opportunities our campus has to offer-whether it is simply to learn more, or to get involved!
One of the most notable animal facilities on campus is our iconic dairy cow barn near the Tercero Residence Halls. However, there are many more located all throughout campus. Most of them are open to students interested in learning more. If the gate is open, you are welcome to walk in and talk to a staff member. The facilities generally have open hours for the public. Here are just a few examples:
California Raptor Center
The Raptor Center is open for free, self-guided tours during their open hours Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm and Saturday from 9am-12pm. You can learn about the rehabilitation of all kinds of raptors like red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, or barn owls.
There are three Avian facilities on campus: Hopkins Avian Facility, Meyer Hall Hatchery, and Meyer Hall Avian Facility. The Hopkins Avian Facility is located across from the University Airport and houses species including chickens, parrots, kestrels, and finches. Meyer Hall Hatchery supplies chicks and eggs to other Avian facilities and departments on campus. The Meyer Hall Avian Facility is an intensive research facility with controlled environments and chambers.
The Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA) Aquatic Center located on campus by the University Airport is the largest freshwater fish research facility of all the University of California campuses. Besides acting as a research space, some Aquatic Center animals are released to natural reserves at Putah Creek and Jamison Pond. It is open for tours by appointment during its open hours Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm.
The Horse Barn is mostly run by students and houses several stallions available to the public, with proceeds going back towards the equine education program. Tours are available by appointment during open hours: Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. Fun fact: the one-and-only Gunrock was housed at the House Barn in the 1920s.
The Cole facility is a research facility with many studies involving cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. It also encompasses the Meat Lab and the Small Animal Laboratory, which houses rabbits, hamsters, rats and mice. The Meat Lab is located in Cole C Facility and is open for meat sales on Thursday and Friday from 1pm-5:30pm.
Learn more about each Animal Facility here:
Get details about the Meat Lab here:
Barn Residency Program
Can’t get enough of these precious animals? UC Davis offers a Barn Residency Program, which is an opportunity to live-in at one of the nine animal facilities on campus. In exchange for housing, students work in the facility for approximately 10 hours per week. The facilities include: Dairy Barn, Swine Barn, Horse Barn, Sheep Barn, Beef Barn, Feedlot, Feed mill, Hopkins Avian Facility, and Goat Barn. Animals and free rent? Moo yeah! Check out the website below for specific requirements (you have to be able to lift a bale of hay):
You don’t have to be an Animal Science or animal-related major to immerse yourself in the opportunities that the campus has to offer. This is an underrated benefit of attending an agriculture school-don’t miss out!
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior Major
As busy college students, it is easy to forget to self-care and maintain our physical health. However, as finals approach, it’s particularly important to take time to de-stress and relax. I have personally found that an excellent way to do this is by sticking with a general rule- exercise in any form, 4 times a week and in 30 minute increments.
Here are several great exercise resources to consider as a UC Davis student:
The UC Davis ARC
The indoor track, weight room and huge collection of exercise machines can give you the perfect workout at no extra cost during the school year. However, during the summer, you must be a registered in summer courses or else there is an extra fee. Jogging, strength training, heavy lifting, circuit training- these are all fantastic ways to stay in shape!
If you are new to the gym, the ARC provides personal trainers who can help you set long-term goals and learn how to safely use the huge collection of weights and machines in the building. Other facilities, such as the swimming pools and rock climbing walls, are also available.
Group exercise classes are also a great way to learn a new workout routine under supervised instruction. Available classes range from cycling to Zumba.
If you already enjoy playing a sport, Intramurals (IMs) are a fun way to meet people and team up for playing with friendly competition. Sports offered include basketball, flag football, volleyball, kickball, pickleball, soccer, softball, tennis, ultimate frisbee and even Quidditch. If you do not have a ready formed team, you are still welcome to register for IMs as a free agent. More information on personal training, group exercises classes and intramurals can be found at the CRU website.
The UC Davis Department of Physical Education provides a huge range of PE classes every quarter that are open to all undergraduate students. Classes are usually offered for 0.5 units, and meet for 2 hours every week. UCD students are allowed to take up to 6 units of PE classes for credit in their academic career (more classes may be taken beyond 6 units, but students will not receive credit for these classes). A huge variety of sports at every level is available, and the instruction is excellent because many classes are taught by seasoned trainers or university athletic coaches. Courses include kickboxing, rock-climbing, volleyball and weight-training, just to name a few.
CRU Outdoor Adventures
Particularly popular for summer adventures with friends, the CRU Outdoor Adventures center offers exciting ways to be active through white river rafting, hiking and camping trips in beautiful natural areas around California. More information can be found here:
Although taking time away from work or study may seem counterintuitive, this strategy actually optimizes performance because exercise hugely boosts energy levels and concentration. Exercising regularly not only benefits your general well-being, but also greatly increases your studying productivity.
Take time out of your schedule to have fun and energize!
4th Year Biological Sciences Major
BASC Peer Adviser