WhyUCDavis: My Aggie Experience

Congratulations on being accepted to UC Davis! You did it!! All of your hard work has paid off. Now, all that is left is the final big decision. Where will you spend the next four years of your life?

For me, UC Davis was not my top choice. Ironically, UC Davis was my last choice. I spent all of my life in Sacramento and I was eager to travel far, far away from NorCal. I wanted to move away from my parents and to enjoy the freedom that I didn’t have at home. When I was accepted to UCLA and UC Davis, it was a no-brainer. I was set on UCLA. I didn’t visit either campus or look into any programs, but somehow I convinced myself that UCLA was the perfect fit for me. (Looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking!) Several weeks later, I received financial aid packages from both institutions and was disappointed to learn that UCLA did not offer me much assistance. Financially, it was obvious that UC Davis was the better decision. Still, I clung stubbornly to the idea of moving away.

My parents finally convinced me to go to Decision Day and to give UC Davis a chance. I followed along reluctantly, determined that I would not enjoy my visit. However, as I strolled along the beautiful Arboretum and explored the giant quad, I felt my bitter resistance slowly fade away. The campus was beautiful. There was this welcoming and laid-back vibe that instantly caught my attention. Everywhere I looked I saw happy smiling faces. I loved watching all the bikers zoom by, and I was eager to join the students relaxing and picnicking in the quad. As I walked downtown, I longed to explore all the little cafes and shops lining every street. I was pleasantly surprised by Davis. No it wasn’t a fast-paced city, nor was it a busy beachside campus, but UC Davis felt like home.

I am very grateful that I chose to be an Aggie four years ago. UC Davis has challenged me academically and prepared me for my future endeavors in medical school. Entering my first year in Davis, I had very little knowledge of the medical profession and was not sure where to start searching for internships and research. I was relieved to learn that this campus had tons of resources to help students succeed. Personally, I utilized three main resources: the Health Professions Advising, the Biology Academic Success Center, and the Internship and Career Center. These resources pointed me in the right direction and helped me to stay connected on campus. Now in my senior year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with human cadavers in anatomy, to work at the UC Davis Medical Center and Shriner’s Children Hospital, and to serve on the executive board for the Bayanihan Clinic, one of the student-run medical clinics in Sacramento.

Lastly, UC Davis has given me a diverse community of friends and colleagues. I met my closest friends here on campus, and I couldn’t imagine my life today without them. There is a place for everyone here at UC Davis.

I know this big decision can feel very intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be! Explore every campus. Ask lots of questions. Trust your gut! You will find your answer. I found my home at UC Davis and hopefully you will find yours here too!

Victoria Nugent
4th Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
Sociology Minor
BASC Peer Advisor

Why UC Davis?

By the time I was applying for colleges, I already knew that UC Davis was my top choice. People are often surprised to hear that the school I had my heart set on from the beginning was one hidden away in a small town surrounded by a wide expanse of farm land. I was not interested in agriculture and contrary to many young children, I never even had a phase where I wanted to be a veterinarian. So why was I interested in the school that is internationally acclaimed for exactly those two areas? Admittedly, I made my decision even before I did my research on the academic programs of the school. For me, it seemed like UC Davis was able to create an environment where students seemed more happy than stressed and ultimately that positive atmosphere was what attracted me to the school. Fortunately, though, UC Davis also happens to be a leading institution in the biological sciences.

I first visited UC Davis in the middle of high school because my parents thought it was an appropriate time to start visiting potential colleges and UC Davis is a relatively short 2-hour drive from home. Walking around campus, I immediately noticed the student involvement in nearly every aspect of the school. All of the campus food places and centers were staffed by students. Even those giant red buses were driven by students, to my initial hesitation. This was important to me because I felt that students were very integrated into campus life and a part of the school itself. Everyone on campus and downtown was surprisingly friendly-and in a genuine way. There was a sense of community where everyone was more than willing to interact and support each other. Most importantly, I felt at ease in Davis.

Decision Day for me was simply to learn more about the College of Biological Sciences. In hindsight, the academic support, resources, and programs should have been the first thing I considered before I signed my Statement of Intent to Register, but I already had a general idea of the school’s science emphasis. I knew UC Davis was a top-notch research university that would offer endless opportunities to get involved in research and more. However, what really caught my attention as something that stood out from other schools was again, the student involvement and peer support. Whether it was the student-run clinics, or the peer advisers, I knew I wanted to be a part of the Davis community.

UC Davis turned out to be the perfect choice for both myself and for my parents. I wanted a school that I could identify with, become a part of, and feel at home in. My parents wanted a school that was not too far from home, and more importantly a school in a safe area. Although an extremely safe environment was not one of the first things I was looking for in a school (it should have been), I am now very grateful for that sense of security, especially since I frequently bike home from school very late at night. Mixing all those priorities together, UC Davis turned out to be the best of both worlds.

For many insignificant life decisions, I find myself overthinking every possible benefit or consequence. Even at the quaint downtown ice cream shop, The Good Scoop, I can enter a mini crisis deciding between the ever reliable geranium flavor or going with one of the changing daily flavors instead. And yet, when it came to choosing the school I would call home for 4 years-arguably a more important decision than choosing ice cream-I did not hesitate to choose UC Davis because of the immediate comfort and homeliness that I felt as I walked around the Davis area for the first time. Three years later, I still have not regretted my decision.

Amanda Dao
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior Major

Why UC Davis

Three years ago, I received acceptance letters from UCLA, UC Berkeley, and a few other universities. After visiting all of the university campuses, I decided to go to UC Davis. In retrospect, I am very glad that I made this decision.

As I grew up outside of the USA, many people were surprised that I chose to attend a school that is less well-known internationally. However, UC Davis stood out to me from other universities for several reasons. The first reason was its unique academic environment. I was particularly excited about UC Davis’ excellent biology and studio art programs. As a large research university located near several hospitals, I knew UC Davis would provide me with opportunities to explore my career interests in biomedical research and healthcare. UC Davis is generally known for providing a very high quality education, and this is reflected in its repeated appearance in the national Top Ten Public Schools lists https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/top-public. Although UC Davis’ academics are high-quality and competitive, I was attracted by the fact that the learning environment is not cut-throat. This combination of a challenging but friendly learning environment was one of the main reasons I decided to attend UC Davis.

I was also very drawn to UC Davis’ location. I grew up in a big capital city, so I was specifically hoping to go to a college in a less urban environment. The beautiful campus is located in a tree-lined, small college city with a lot of quirky charm. Although the city is small, it is diverse and has a lively downtown. It is also within driving distance to both Sacramento and San Francisco. The city of Davis itself has a friendly and unique culture, with an unusually health conscious, eco-friendly lifestyle. For example, the main mode of transportation in the city is the bicycle, and the entire city is surrounded by a circle of jogging trails and parks, known as the Green Belt. Many locals enthusiastically spend their time buying organic produce, exercising and recycling. The safe city and charming campus collectively provide a very high quality of student life, and this was another reason why I chose UC Davis.

I also decided to attend UC Davis because of its diverse student population. As with most of the UC’s, UC Davis’ student body is very large and very socioeconomically and ethnically diverse. Therefore, the atmosphere is inclusive and the university provides many opportunities for an active, social life, as there are hundreds of student clubs and ways to get involved. https://www.ucdavis.edu/campus-life/clubs-organizations/

Overall, I believe UC Davis is a hidden gem of a university that provides a rich array of academic and social opportunities. Campus resources such as tutoring, internship opportunities and academic advising resources are excellent, although they have to be pro-actively pursued. http://success.ucdavis.edu/ http://icc.ucdavis.edu/ Due to its large size and sometimes overwhelming plethora of opportunities, UC Davis is particularly well-suited for students with go-getter personalities. I can whole-heartedly recommend UC Davis as an excellent place to enjoy your college experience.

Janis Kim
4th Year Biological Sciences Major
BASC Peer Adviser

Why UC Davis?

I didn’t have the most linear experience deciding where I wanted to go to college. Rewind to 3 years ago, I was absolutely set on going to a private school in Colorado so that I could be on their figure skating team. I was so certain of my college plans that when I found out that I was accepted to UC Davis, I shrugged off the accomplishment, not giving it much thought, while my friends around me who also got their acceptances were crying from happiness and celebrating.

So what happened? Obviously I’m not at a private school in Colorado. What initially changed my college trajectory was me and my family’s realization that an out-of-state, private school was not financially plausible. So suddenly, with only a few weeks before I had to commit to a school, I needed to find a plan B. At first, I was crushed and didn’t even want to look at other options, but finally, after moping around for a few days, I decided to seriously consider my other options.

My mom and I scheduled tours at four universities around California. First up was UC Berkeley, tempted by the university’s prestige, I really wanted to love it there. But, it just didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t see myself going there. As cliche as it sounds, it just didn’t click. So, even more discouraged at this point, I moved on to the next school – our very own UC Davis.

I unfortunately don’t remember my tour guide’s name, but I do remember their avid and genuine enthusiasm for the school. And as we walked throughout campus, I was struck by how friendly everyone was. Students biking past yelled “Go UC Davis!” and various other exclamations. (It probably helped that I didn’t tour during midterms or finals.) It seemed as though, even though UC Davis is a large university, it was still a community – an observation that I still stand by today. Having grown up in a town of 7,000 people, this feeling of community and familiarity was and is very comforting to me.

Hearing from the tour guide about the various resources on campus also added to that feeling of community. It was apparent that UC Davis took student support very seriously. My interest was peaked when I heard about all the internship and research opportunities. Previously, I had pictured going to a UC like being a tiny fish in a huge pond, where opportunities like internships were elusive and hard to come by. Hearing that there were centers like the Internship and Career Center was both surprising and exciting.

Incredibly relieved that I had liked the campus, I spent the hour and a half drive home glued to my phone, doing research about the different academic programs at UC Davis. All I knew at this point in my life was that I wanted to major in something science-y, but I knew nothing beyond that. Reading about majors like Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (my future major), Biomedical Engineering, and Genetics, among many others, made me realize that going to a big university like UCD would give me so many more options than if I went to a small private school. As a very indecisive, stereotypical Pisces, having so many options to choose from was a huge factor in my ultimate decision to attend Davis.

So, after realizing that I could easily see myself biking around the campus for the next four years and learning about the different academic programs offered, my mind was basically made up. I ended up cancelling my tours at the last two schools I was considering attending and submitted my intent to register that next week. And, here I am, 3 years later, incredibly grateful for my winding journey that led me to become an Aggie.

Katie Galsterer
3rd Year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Class of 2018
BASC Peer Advisor