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10 Tips for Surviving Your First Quarter at UC Davis

You’ve just submitted your State of Intent to Register (SIR) and paid your deposit to UC Davis. Now, you’re officially an Aggie!

This is both an exciting and nerve-racking time for you, trust me, I know. After all, I was in your shoes exactly a year ago! And I’m sure you have a lot of questions, just like I did. Now that it is spring quarter, I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of life at UC Davis. Here are some of my tips to help you successfully navigate your first quarter of college!

1. Attend Welcome Week

Welcome Week takes place on the days following your move-in day. You will have a few free days before classes officially start, so take advantage of these days because you won’t be swamped with any assignments just yet. Use this time to familiarize yourself with the school and to meet new friends. The school puts on a series of different events, such as rallies, “The Buzz,” movie nights, and more. These events are really fun and a great way to make friends as well as to score free swag!

2. Take a Light Class Load

The quarter system moves fast, and it can definitely be overwhelming if you have never experienced it before. Your first quarter involves a lot of adjustment, including dealing with homesickness and learning how to be on your own. Maybe you want to work and join student organizations as well. Because you will be brain-scattered, it is best to take a light class load first, so you can ease your transitioning and settle down. I recommend taking 12-14 units for your first quarter here at Davis.

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3. Explore Campus

UC Davis’ campus is the largest in the entire University of California system; simply put, it is massive. There is so much to see, and I recommend that you check out all that our beautiful campus has to offer. Try out the food at the CoHo and the Silo, take a stroll at the Arboretum, channel your inner artist at the Manetti Shrem Museum, or see a show at the Mondavi Center.

4. Explore Off-Campus

One of the best parts of going to UC Davis is the college town that it’s in. It is often difficult for many students to leave their college campuses because they don’t have any mode of transportation. However, the town of Davis is amazing because almost everything is within walking or biking distance, so you can easily hang out with your friends off-campus! In addition to walking and biking accessibility, UC Davis’ buses, Unitrans, are amazingly efficient and will take you all around the town. UC Davis is also extremely close to Sacramento, the Bay Area, and Tahoe for adventurers who want to take a weekend and/or day-trips.

5. Study, Study, Study

Starting a new life in a new place is exciting: there’s a lot to explore and lots of people to meet. But remember, you are at UC Davis first and foremost as a student and you are here to get your degree. Many students get too caught up in their newfound independence and disregard their academics, resulting in academic probation or academic dismissal. While it’s great to balance your academic and social life, make sure you remember to prioritize what is really important.

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6. Get Involved

The best way to make the most out of your college experience is to get involved in something bigger than yourself! UC Davis has over 800 student organizations, and there is a place for everyone. Check out the Involvement Fair in the fall and see which organizations fit you the best. This is a great way to make friends and to develop yourself in other ways that are not academic. Joining a student organization definitely helps to find your home away from home. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up being apart of the Her Campus family!

7. Introduce Yourself to Everyone

As a new Aggie, you probably don’t know too many people around campus just yet. However, this is one of the best parts of being a new student…making new friends! There are over 35,000 students at UC Davis, so you’ll be surrounded by so many diverse individuals. Introduce yourself to everyone (especially during the first week) in your classes, in your hall, or at the DC (dining commons). That initial “hello” could help you find your new best friend!

8. Budget

College is expensive. Between class textbooks, course materials, club dues, transportation, and food money, it’s really easy to find yourself struggling financially. Keep track of your money and be smart about what you spend on. There are many ways to save money, and as a college student, this is essential.

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9. Call Your Parents

College is stressful, especially on the quarter system. It’s also really hard being at a school away from home, and trust me, you will miss your parents. My relationship with my parents became a lot better when I moved away because I learned to appreciate them a lot more. Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I call my parents and they make me feel a lot better. Your parents miss you too, and they would really love getting a phone call from you!

10. Stay Healthy

Freshman 15 is real but it doesn’t have to take over your college experience. One of the most important things you should do as a college student is to take care of yourself. Access to UC Davis’ Activities and Recreation Center (the ARC) is free, included in your tuition, so take advantage of it! Working out not only makes your body feel good but can help you perform better academically, too.

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In addition to exercise, make good dietary choices. The DC has several healthier options, so be cautious of what you put in your body. No matter how delicious they are, you don’t need those late night cookies every day.

These are the things that I’ve learned as my first year of college is coming to an end. Good luck, and see you in the fall!

Rose is a second-year Communication major at the University of California, Davis. She loves Harry Potter, Disneyland, and spends most of her time either binge-watching Netflix shows or napping. After graduating, she hopes to work in the Public Relations or Advertising field.
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