Exploring UC Davis’ Fitness Resources

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.


PE Classes

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!

Janis Kim
4th Year Biological Sciences Major
BASC Peer Adviser


How to prep for a professional exam while being a professional student

Imagine a typical day: wake up in the morning, make breakfast, catch up on the news, and get ready to go out and have some fun! Before you get too happy, we all know this is not a typical day in the life of a college student; especially, not for a student trying to get into graduate school while also working part-time, taking classes, researching and volunteering.

Granted, everyone in college is busy with one thing or another, but the difficulty of studying for a professional school exam on top of the work you’re already doing can be immense. This, however, does not mean it cannot be done. In fact, here are some ways to manage your time, keep your morale up, and make sure you’re preparing appropriately for the professional school exam itself.

Staying on top of everything can be an enormous challenge, but one thing that makes this undertaking manageable is planning out what needs to be done first, finding a way to stick to that plan, and executing it in a timely fashion. The best way to do this is by using a calendar or planner, whether it be online or hard-copy, this is an absolute must to keep track of the multitude of activities you are involved with. Another helpful tool is sticky notes; these can be found on any laptop app. store and they elucidate short-term goals, putting them at the forefront of your to-do list. In terms of managing your time with respect to any non-class related activities (research, volunteering, clubs, extra-curriculars) – prioritizing is key. Prioritizing involves internal examination and an ability to discern what needs to be done now and what can be done later. This can be influenced by social pressures as well as personal motivations, but it is by far the most crucial aspect of time management – both in and beyond the classroom.

Here are some time-management workshops offered by the SASC that might help: http://success.ucdavis.edu/study-strategies/index.html

Once you have prioritized what needs to be done now, you can work on methodically attacking each task. Using a sample day from my life, I hope to show exactly what I mean:

Sam’s Schedule
7:00-8:25 AM:  Wake up, eat breakfast, get to school, pack study snacks, check emails
8:25-9:00 AM: Get to school, grab a coffee, walk to work
9:00-10:30 AM: Work at College of Biological Sciences – Peer adviser job
10:30-11:30 AM: Eat, clear my head, head back home,
11:30-1:00 PM: Go to the gym for a workout, shower, head back to school
1:00-2:00 PM: Review lecture material prior to class
2:00-4:00 PM: Lecture – MCB
4:15-8:00 PM: Study for professional exam (In my case, the MCAT), get dinner as well
8:00-9:30 PM: Have club meeting
9:45-12:00 AM: Study for my classes
12:00-12:45 AM: Head home, unwind, plan out next day

Now this is just a given day from my week, but it was particularly useful in showing how many activities and commitments a given student might have to deal with and how prioritizing involves doing some things more and ultimately saving other tasks for later.

Ideally, once something is planned, it should be set in stone and followed, but anyone who has planned something knows that this is not the case. Often times impediments or road-blocks appear and plans can be delayed or even foiled. In times when something does get in the way of your plan, you should deal with it first and find a way to make an adjustment to the plan you had made previously. Some of these road-blocks can involve adversity: emotional, academic, social and even personal. When adversity does strike it is important that you keep your morale up, approach the issue in a positive light, and take it one step at a time. This means that no matter how devastating something might be, you have to know that you can overcome it. Furthermore, keeping your morale up, entails staying healthy mentally. This means not overloading yourself, being able to have a social outlet, communicating feelings with others, and having some personal time. A small way to help yourself in this department is to set aside some slots of your schedule as personal time, kind of like what I do from 10:30-11:30 AM in my schedule.

There are also numerous services that help with this offered by SCHS and can be found here: https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/services/mindspa.html


Lastly, the professional school exam itself is meant to be one of the criteria used for selecting students into a specific graduate program. This means that it is substantially difficult in nature and a huge test of a student’s skills they have accumulated as an undergraduate. Studying for the exam presents many challenges to a student, especially during the academic year – he or she must find time to balance their current workload, commitments and activities while preparing specifically for their exam. Doing this is enormously difficult but vastly rewarding as well. To help yourself, you may consider scheduling an appointment with Health Professions Advising ( http://hpa.ucdavis.edu/ ) or explore using a test prep company such as Kaplan, The Princeton Review etc. If you implement the proper planning skills, make sure to keep your morale up, and methodically approach your professional exam then you have put yourself in the best position possible to succeed and make your dreams a reality.

All the best and good luck,
Sam Bhatnagar

Peer Adviser – College of Biological Sciences

4th Year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Nuts and Bolts: Winter Quarter

davis_signHello again everyone, I hope you’ve all enjoyed these unusually warm and sunny October days! Don’t let the summer weather fool you however, we are well underway here at UC Davis and believe it or not it is already time to look ahead to winter quarter. As you begin to plan out your winter quarter schedule, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Let’s break them down:


As most of you know, pass times are the dates assigned to you indicating when you can register for your classes. Things can get a little tricky beyond this especially when you start to consider the different pass time intervals and the different number of registration units that each allows. The easiest way to keep this information in line is to make a list.

Winter Quarter Pass 1 Registration: Nov 2-Nov 13
17 units allowed
Pass 1 Open registration:
Weekdays 6:00 a.m.–midnight (PT)
Weekends 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (PT)

Winter Quarter Pass 2 Registration: Nov 23- Dec 5
19 units allowed
Pass 2 Open registration:
Weekdays 6:00 a.m.–midnight (PT)
Weekends 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (PT)

*open registration means that you can adjust your schedule during those times after your passtime

You can view your assigned pass times on Schedule Builder, right below the yellow search buttons. A key thing to note about Pass 1 is that you may not wait list a class during this time. You must wait until Pass 2 to wait list courses. AP units will no longer contribute to an earlier pass time in an effort to be fair to students who did not have access to AP courses in high school. This is effective October 26, when pass times are released. If you feel confused about anything I have written so far, you may visit the Office of the Registrar’s website to access all of the information listed above.

2. Units:

Unit count is an important thing to consider when registering for classes because it can affect your status as a student as well as your academic standing.

12 units= full time status (you qualify for financial aid and may live in the residence halls)
13 units= minimum progress (must average 13 units a quarter and have 39 units by the end of the year to be in good academic standing)

Remember that wait listed units do not count towards your full time status. Therefore, you must ensure that you are registered for 12 units by the start of the quarter to receive financial aid (if you qualify for it). You can do this by registering for a backup class that you can drop if you get into the wait listed class or keep if you do not get into it.

If you are a first year student and living in the residence halls I encourage you to attend the Residence Hall Advising Team (RHAT) program “Planning Your Winter Quarter Schedule” to learn more about both pass times and unit requirements. Please contact your RA if you wish to find out when RHAT will present on your floor.

3. Studying, Fun, and Wellness

While it is crucial to fully understand the information I mentioned above, it is also important to be self-aware when planning your winter quarter schedule…or any quarter schedule for that matter. What I mean is, take a moment to reflect on how you are doing so far. If you feel like 0014_arboretum_walkwayyou are totally in control here at UC Davis and your grades are where you want them to be, then feel free to continue at your pace. However, if you feel like you need more room to breathe and you want to work on improving your grades, it is perfectly okay to lighten your load. We have student peer advisers and staff advisers here at the Biology Academic Success Center (BASC) that can help you plan a schedule to best fit your needs and still meet university, college, and major requirements. I also recommend that you visit the Student Academic Success Center (SASC) if you would like to learn more about tutoring options BEFORE you even begin your next quarter; this way you can fit tutoring into your schedule!

Once you feel like you are on the right track with academics, start to think about how you physically feel so far. Are you exercising the right amount and eating a well balanced diet? Are you generally healthy or do you notice an increase in sick days? Make all the necessary adjustments in your daily routines to make sure that you are the best version of yourself as often as can be. Our previous blogs cover topics such as campus recreation, wellness, and campus activities, which you can browse through to learn more about things you can do to improve your lifestyle!

I hope you found this to be a helpful read and that you feel more prepared to make the right decisions for yourself come winter quarter. Drop by the BASC with any questions or leave a comment below. One last note: enjoy the rest of fall quarter! Don’t let all the talk about next quarter distract you from the present.

Take care,
Daiana Bucio
4th year Genetics & Genomics
BASC peer adviser







Reflection for the New Quarter

With the Spring quarter fast ahead, there is no doubt that some students feel a little anxious as they progress through the rest of the academic year. I wanted to share a technique that I have been using which has helped me personally during recent quarters. The basis of the technique is simple: reflection for improvement. The following template is only a suggestion; feel free to adjust the reflection process however you want. Nonetheless, the intended effect is to strengthen your purpose and your goals. Best of all, it takes no more than 15 minutes to complete.

Part 1:

1. Name your favorite class from both Fall and Winter. What were its attributes that made you feel this way? (For example, some classes are heavily lecture-based. Did you enjoy sitting in lecture? Or are you a podcast warrior? Did you like discussion sections or laboratory sections?)

2. Think of an achievement from the past quarter(s) that you are proud of. How did this make you a better person or further your goals? (e.g. Did you go to office hours like you told yourself to? Were you proud of that paper that you spent hours working on? Did you get the officer position in the club that you wanted?)

3. Name some new people you met during Fall and Winter quarter. Did you make any new friends within that group of new people? What did you do to maintain the relationship? (e.g. Did you join a new club? Did you get to know your TA/professor well? How do you keep in touch with friends?)

Part 1 Debrief:   These first couple of questions may seem trivial, but being able to articulate these things reflect the general level of happiness that you experienced last quarter or this quarter. For example, if you are unable to name a class that you genuinely enjoyed, it might be indicative of poor course selection. You may also want to consider whether or not you truly enjoy the major you are pursuing. The degree of satisfaction and fulfillment with the quality of life as a student directly correlates with performance in school. Hence, it is not an option to choose classes that illicit your interest and  to partake in extracurriculars that you genuinely enjoy. If you are unsure about what classes you want to take in the College of Biological Sciences, please come and drop in for peer-advising at the BASC! Our peers will be able to help you explore your interests in Biology. Also, search/browse all 650 clubs at our school as listed on the website for the Center for Student Involvement.

Part 2: These basic questions examine your work ethic and academic well-being. Although these questions are fundamentally subjective, one should be as objective as possible in providing a honest answer.

1. What was successful about Fall quarter or Winter quarter? Were your goals and objectives met? (e.g. Did you get the grades you were aiming for?) If so, what specific things did you do to make your successes happen?

2. What wasn’t successful about the past quarter(s)? What do you want to do differently the next time you face a similar ordeal? (e.g. Were you constantly late to class or skipping class? Did you forget to do assignments because you did not take the time to organize a calendar?)

3. Did you make time to utilize any of the many resources our campus offers to reach your goal(s)? A list of campus resources can be found here on the UC Davis student housing website. In addition, check out the Student Academic Success Center to get academic tutoring/help.

4. Did you take care of your mental and physical health? What are some outlets of relaxation for you? How effective are they? (Some students like meditating, some like hitting the weights, others enjoy a stroll through the Arboretum from time to time. If you are interested in taking exercise classes, please check out the services that the ARC provides.

If you ever get sick or hurt (physically or emotionally), please visit the Student Health and Counseling Services.

I hope that the exercise has been beneficial for you. It is important to remember that success means different things for different individuals. Thus, feel free to add/subtract/change any questions as you deem fit. However, with the power of introspection, one can seek continuous improvement to progress toward one’s goal.


Wilson Ng
BASC Peer Adviser 2014-2015

Getting Enough Fresh Air During Winter Quarter

A new quarter is now upon us! I usually picture Winter quarter as full of rain, cold wind, and long days spent indoors. In Davis however, this is not always the case. It is not uncommon for many weekends in February and March to be warm and sunny, enticing many of us to begin spending more time outside. There are many notable benefits to spending time in the outdoors. These benefits include helping you relax by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, cleaning your lungs, and even increasing your energy for a sharper mind. Here are some of my favorite activities to ensure I am getting enough fresh air:

Outdoor Time Makes You a Better Person

1. Bike

This is easy to do in a place like Davis. There are so many biking trails and most roads have a big enough bike lane in order to bike in safely. This makes it easy to bike from place to place to run errands, giving us a great opportunity to breathe in fresh air and increase blood flow without having to go out of our way. Although it may be cold during the winter, don’t be afraid to bike! Just grab some gloves or a beanie and you’ll be be able to keep warm while biking.

2. Study outside

This can be as simple as choosing a table outside rather than inside at the MU or Silo. I also like to bring my books to campus on weekends and sit at the tables outside the Student Community Center to study. The campus, as well as downtown Davis, have so many opportunities to choose outdoor seating when the weather permits. This is a great way to get some studying in and be surrounded by a peaceful setting at the same time. If the sun is out, studying outside can also increase your Vitamin D levels. Increasing Vitamin D levels is important because your body must have Vitamin D to absorb calcium and support bone growth.

3. Exercise

As we all know, exercising has tons of great benefits. If many of you are like me, your New Years resolution includes exercising more! Reading about the benefits of exercise may motivate you to fulfill your resolution and exercise more. The Student Health and Counseling Services describes the benefits of exercise in detail.  Exercising at the ARC is one of the most popular ways students get in their daily work out, so if it’s too cold to be outside I would recommend taking a run on the track or even signing up for some group classes, which can be done through their website.

4.  Play a sport

Playing basketball at Dairy courts is one of my favorite ways to relax. During winter quarter it’s a great option because it is usually less crowded than the basketball courts at the ARC. The court lights stay on late, usually 1am, so if you want to get out for a quick breath of fresh air you have the option of doing so late at night. Hutchison field, located right next to Dairy courts, is a great spot to kick around a soccer ball, play flag football, and/or baseball. If it’s warm enough, I sometimes like to just lay on the grass and stare at the clouds. Going out to either of these facilities always makes me feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the books!

5. Explore the Outdoors

The Arboretum is a great place to immerse yourself in nature. Located right on campus, it’s easy to take a break between classes and take a walk or run. There are a couple different areas of the Arboretum with different groves and trails, and they are all detailed on the new campus map, under “Places of Interest.” where you can I often go to the arboretum to read the plaques about the different types of trees and flowers, it’s relaxing and keeps me knowledgeable on our California native plants!

If you have good time management skills, the UC Davis Outdoor Adventures program has some great weekend events planned this quarter to help bring out the adventurer in you! Since Davis is so close to many great parks and recreational facilities these adventures are great for exploring. For example, the program offers an Intro to Cross Country Skiing trip to Tahoe, a Tomales Bay Tour in Pt. Reyes, and Yosemite Car Camping.

Remember that your first priority is school, but making sure you get some time outdoors this Winter Quarter will be very beneficial to your health!

Have fun!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser





How to Succeed in Upper Division BIS series

All College of Biological Sciences (CBS) students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree have to take our core BIS upper division series. Depending on your major, you may choose to take BIS 101, 105, 104 or BIS 101, 102, 103, and 104. Let’s briefly discuss each class:

  • BIS 101- Genes and Gene Expression: In this course, students will learn in detail about nucleic acid structure and function, gene expression, replication, and regulation. Many students have previous exposure to the topic from a general Biology class but this class will guide students beyond introductory level genetics. A special feature of this class is an optional 1-unit, P/NP discussion section, BIS 101D. The discussion creates a space for approaching problem-solving and is highly recommended for students to enroll in.
  • BIS 102- Structure and Function of Biomolecules: The class focuses on the many aspects of proteins, lipids, and membranes. Key concepts from general biology, such as weak bond interactions, amino acids, the different levels of protein structure, and pH/buffer calculations, will constitute a substantial amount of the course. Additionally, students will learn new concepts, such as enzyme kinetics, enzymatic assays, as well as protein purification.
  • BIS 103- Bioenergetics and Metabolism: The student will be exposed to enzymes and substrates of the major metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, fermentation, Kreb’s cycle, Electron Transport Chain, and the Pentose Phosphate Shunt.
  • BIS 104- Cell Biology: Course content includes membrane receptors and signal transduction, cell growth and division, extracellular matrix and cell-cell junctions, and the immune system.
  • BIS 105- Biomolecules and Metabolism: This one-quarter course includes select topics from both BIS 102 and BIS 103, ranging from the fundamentals of biochemical processes to energy metabolism. Hence, some CBS students can choose to take BIS 105 in place of both BIS 102 and BIS 103. ***Note: Cell Biology majors and Biochemistry majors have to take both BIS 102 and BIS 103.

But how are these classes different than the general Biology series?

With few exceptions, professors that teach upper division science often have high expectations from their students. Professors generally lecture solely on concepts/facts and then expect you to solve problems based on integration and application of that lecture material. Hence, a lot of students get frustrated since they are not in the habit of thinking “outside the box.” Those students usually have a mindset of “just tell me what to know, and I’ll learn it.” To maximize your chance of succeeding, students should make an effort to:

1) Time manage! For each hour you spend in class, expect to allot at least two hours for studying. This rule of thumb exists for good reason and helps you practice good-studying habits. With the amount of content that you will be responsible for, allot time to review old material since exam-content is generally cumulative and concepts build upon each other.

2) “Cover all your bases.” Make sure you understand all the major concepts first and then tackle the finer details. If the lectures are recorded, re-listen to the podcasts to clarify any topics that may have been initially confusing or unclear. Students who make an effort to know their notes inside and out will be rewarded. (Pay attention to graphs, charts, experiments etc…)

3) Practice! Professors assign homework to get their students thinking, and much of the time exam questions are based off of homework problems. Practice exams, if provided by the instructor, give big hints as to what you can expect to be on your test. Creating your own set of notes independent of the professor’s slides can be a good source of additional practice. Recreating images or flowcharts for the purpose of note-taking will definitely give you an edge on the exam!

4) Seek help! Since problem-solving may or may not be covered in lecture, students usually have a multitude of questions about assignments. To address their concerns, professors/T.A.’s/ tutors have office hours on a weekly basis for open discussion. Try to think of office hours as an integral part of your learning experience and less as an “optional” resource, especially for the upper division sciences courses. The Student Academic Success Center also offers drop-in tutoring for BIS 101, 102, and 103. More information may be found here: http://success.ucdavis.edu/academic/

5) Help others! Don’t underestimate the learning potential from explaining concepts to your colleagues. Your classmates will quickly detect the holes in your understanding of the subject, to which then you can explore and address. This ties in directly with tip #2 since having a comprehensive and thorough knowledge of the material is crucial to your success.

In addition, forming study groups is advantageous  so that you and your classmates have a chance to debate about core concepts and help each other get on par with the material.

A final note is to just have fun with and enjoy these classes. Although it is challenging, the coursework is designed to prepare you for graduate programs as well as for your future career. In hindsight, all of the hard-work that I invested into my upper division classes paid off because I became detail-oriented and learned to think both globally and critically. With the concepts of the lower division courses serving as a foundation for those of the upper division, your educational journey with CBS will open your mind to the fascination of modern biology.


Wilson Ng
BASC Peer Adviser 2014-2015

Preparing for Round Two of Midterms

It is now the seventh week of Fall Quarter! Like most of you, I am always surprised at how quickly the quarter progresses. By now, we have all taken our first set of midterms and are most likely preparing for the second set. Many of us may be looking to improve our scores, since the first set of midterms is always difficult because we are unfamiliar with the class or the professor’s teaching style. Here are some tips I always try to keep in mind when preparing for my second set of midterms:


Self-Evaluate Your Work

Self-evaluating previous work is essential for improvement. Although the material from the first midterm may be different than what will be tested on the second midterm, reviewing your old midterm for errors can be very helpful. Under the pressure of taking an exam, it is common to make easily avoidable mistakes. Looking back on your work from the previous midterm can help you become aware of these mistakes and avoid making them a second time. It is also important to think about what worked and what didn’t when you were studying for your midterm. Did you study individually or in a group? Did you study at home or on campus? Did you go to office hours? These are important questions to ask yourself, because it will help you determine what works best for you. If something you did wasn’t helpful, try to change it. Taking the time to self-evaluate your work and study habits is always worth it!

Seek Help

There are so many resources on campus designed to help you succeed academically. For example, you can go to your professor or TA’s office hours, academic tutors in the SASC, or residence hall tutoring. Using any of these resources can be the difference between getting a B and getting an A. If you didn’t try out these resources when studying for you first midterm, you might want to consider trying them for your second midterm, or at least dropping by to see what they have to offer. I remember being disappointed by my first Chem 118A midterm score, so I decided to attend the weekly workshops at the SASC, and was able to improve my second midterm score. We all know practice makes perfect, and what better way to practice than with someone who already knows the material?

The SASC also offers Study Skill Workshops through out the quarter. These workshops cover a variety of topics, so you can pick and choose which ones you would like to attend based on what you think you need to improve on. There are sessions covering a variety of topics, including time management series, success strategies, and core study skills.

Stay motivated

Always keep your goals in mind and remember what you are working towards. Doing this will help you stay motivated to keep up with your school work and do your best on your second midterms. I have always found it helpful to reflect on my goals and my future plans, because it keeps me motivated to do well and finish the quarter strong.

Remember to Stay Healthy

This time of the quarter is always stressful because the quarter is winding down and finals are just around the corner, so it is more important than ever to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep, eating enough fruits and vegetables, and remembering to exercise can go a long way. Although you might feel like you need to study all day, remember to balance your life and keep your body healthy. I always try to do this by going to the ARC to study. I like to use the quiet study rooms during the day, and when I need a study break I’m able to go exercise. I also remember to bring healthy snacks so I don’t resort to eating unhealthy. This keeps me feeling healthy and awake, so my studies end up being more productive.

When it comes to focusing on health, the Student Health and Counseling Services center at North Hall is a great place to go. They offer programs like “What is Wellness?” which describes the seven dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, social, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, and occupational) and how we can work to balance these dimensions in our lives to stay healthy.

Midterms can be really stressful, but remember to stay focused, positive, and healthy. Good luck!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser