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Life > Experiences

5 valuable things I learned from the UCDC Program

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

This last quarter, Winter 2024, I had the privilege of taking part in the UCDC program that the UC system runs. I got the chance to live, learn, and work in the nation’s capital alongside some of my peers, as well as meet many other students from all the UC campuses. If you’re reading this article, I imagine you’re thinking about doing the program as well. I’m here to tell you 5 things I learned while in DC that made the experience really worthwhile, and maybe it will be for you, too.

  1. Working a job you love makes it easier to get up in the morning.

While I was in DC, my internship was at the central library of DC, the Martin Luther King Jr, Memorial Library. I had to be at work at 9:30 every morning, which gave me about an hour and a half to get ready and get out the door. Although sleeping in was sometimes easy to give in to, knowing that I got to go to work doing something I really enjoyed in a place I loved made getting out of bed much easier. 

  1. Short distances are more walkable than you might think.

Before leaving for DC, walking down to University Village felt like an exhausting trek. After living in DC for three months, all walks in Riverside feel manageable to me. It’s not until you get the chance to walk some places that you realize how walkable quite a few things are.

  1. Reliable, widespread public transportation is a human right. 

That being said, Riverside still heavily relies on car-based infrastructure, and if you wanted to walk to the mall, that would be a day-long hike. Coming back to Riverside after having carte blanche on the train and bus system of DC was a hard transition, and it made me appreciate first-hand the importance of having reliable transportation to just about anywhere. It’s better for the environment and your wallet.

  1. Bars are kind of fun. Happy hours even more so.

I’ve spoken before about how I’m not a drinker, but the bar experience in DC is pretty fun. Going out for mocktails with friends every couple of weeks made for a really enjoyable way to end a long week of work and class. Getting out of my comfort zone and discovering new, cozy places to enjoy something tasty with good company was plenty of fun and something I’m going to miss. 

  1. Making friends anywhere you go is an absolute must.

Growing up with a parent in the Air Force, I got used to moving around and starting from scratch when it came to making friends. This has lasted into my adulthood, and I made many good friends across the UC system during my time in UCDC. It reminded me that friends don’t just come to you — you need to put yourself in situations where you can find your people and have fun together.

Although this is just a small cross-section of my overall UCDC experience, they were the biggest reasons why I’ll be grateful that I applied for and got into the program. In addition to the amazing connections I made, I had the time of my life getting to “study abroad” in my own country. If you’re a UC student and you’re not sure if the experience will be the right fit for you, regardless of your major I implore you to take the plunge!

Evelyn Homan

UC Riverside '24

Hiya! I'm Evelyn, and I'm a fourth-year English & Creative Writing double major, as well as an Honors student researching independent studying in the 21st century. I love literature, midwest emo and goth rock, alternative fashion, and talking. A lot.