What I Would Have Done Differently: A Third Year’s Exploration of the Top 3 Things I Wish I Knew

When you start out at UC Davis, the experience is new, no matter who you are. Whether you are a first year fresh from high school near or far, a transfer student, or a returning student that took some time off, getting acclimated is a hardship that everybody struggles with. Now, for some, the period of hesitation before fully diving into what college has to offer can be a little on the longer side. That’s OK!! Getting your footing is not something to push too quickly. Take your time, and follow these quick tips for the best transition into the life of an Aggie.

When I came to UC Davis as a freshman, I did not have any real role models for help when it came to applications, choosing classes, choosing a major, choosing roommates, etc. It was all new to me. My mother went to university in Spain where she is from, and my father received his degree so long ago that everything has changed too rapidly to get a grip on it. As the first of my siblings to give college a go, I was spearheading my own entrance in the college life. As a third year and a new Peer Advisor in the College of Biological Sciences, I am still constantly learning new things about what it means to be here, so I felt it best to use this platform to tell you a few things I wish I had known/done from the beginning.’

First: It is NEVER too early to make an academic plan.

Now, you may be thinking, what is an academic plan and how/where do I make one? And let me tell you, you are not alone. So much information is relayed during orientation, that it is almost impossible to catch it all. So, here is what you do.

Open your Oasis file at oasis.ucdavis.edu and sign in with your Kerberos ID and passphrase.

In another tab open up your specific College’s Majors page and find your major’s requirement list. (hint: another way to do this is by using the catalog.ucdavis.edu resource which allows you to select “Degrees and Programs” on the lower left of the home screen. Scroll to your Major by alphabet and boom! There you have it.
Use this as your guide for choosing classes, and always make an appointment with a Major Advisor or come see a Peer Advisor in your College office if you have questions

On Oasis, hit the “Forms and Petitions” tab in the top bar of your Oasis File

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Once here, hit the blue “Submit a New Form” button on the right and scroll to the “Academic Plan” option from the list of options.

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Now, you will have a blank canvas for you to input all of your major required courses, minor courses, GE’s etc, so that you can efficiently plan out your time. No more going into Pass Times blind! Just type in a course code and off you go!
*Don’t forget to save it when you are done so you can go back later!

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Ok now for the Second Tip: It is never too early to consider doing a Minor.

Something that I wish I had known early on, was that minors usually require around 20-25 upper division units for completion. This is super do-able! If you find something outside of your major, say a language or music, or another interest that you discover while at Davis, consider a minor! Take a look back at the catalog or at UC Davis’s Master List of Minors for more information (link: https://www.ucdavis.edu/minors )

If you find something you like, plan out the required classes in your Oasis plan! Often times, minors can fulfill some or most of your required GE credit as well so talk to a major advisor and consider your options!
Finally, we reach Top Tip #3: Go to the Involvement Fairs, Dorm Floor Dinners, and get involved with your Peers!

Often times, acclimating to a new environment is best accomplished through finding people with common interests. Find out what is available. Our campus has hundreds of student-run and community-sponsored organizations to be a part of.

Whether it is associated with your major, cultural identification, hobbies, minor, or something you have never thought about being involved in before, being a part of a club or other social system is always a good route to take.

Get to know your neighbors! When moving into the dorms or a new apartment, when starting a new quarter/class, or when signing up for a new club, meet the people around you. Making connections to other students and faculty is a major force in making UC Davis home.

To wrap this up, if you have kept with me to this point, I want to say that you can do it! Starting at a new university is difficult for so many people and for a variety of different reasons. Share your experiences with friends, family, other students, your neighbors, advisors, you name it!

Here at UC Davis, we are always looking to offer you as much as we can in order to make this the best campus possible for everyone. Let us help light the way for your most successful college experience!

Sandra McAteer
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major

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