5 Things No One Bothered to Tell Me as a Freshman

Looking back on my freshman year, I don’t know how I made it out alive. I was the last to know every college pro-tip, but the first to find all of this out when I couldn’t afford to drop any classes (#doublemajor). Please, for your own sake, read below for five of the important things that no one told me as a freshman—save yourself while you still can.

1. You can drop classes mid-quarter. 

Although it doesn’t explicitly state on the UC Davis website, you must have a good enough reason, such as mental well-being, drastic life changes, or other things severely impacting your life. To do so, you must ask permission from your college’s Dean’s Office and, if accepted, you will receive a PTD (Permission to Drop) number which can be entered into Schedule Builder. 

2. You can change your class from Letter Grading to Pass/No Pass after the deadline.

Similar to dropping a course, you must obtain permission from your college’s dean’s office in order to change your class to Pass/No Pass grading, Prior to this, though, you must fill out an Undergraduate Course Change form and have legitimate reasons for needing to take the class Pass/No Pass—an increase in work hours, for example.

3. You can take less than 12 units a quarter.

If you're forced to drop a class mid-quarter for certain circumstances, you are also allowed to dip below 12 units. As long as you make up those lost units in other quarters, you're good to go. For example, if you drop a 4 unit class when at 12 units total, because you’ll be at 8 units, you may take and complete 16 units the next quarter.

4. You can use DC swipes for ANYTHING at the on-campus Starbucks.

For some reason, I always assumed that you could only use Flex Swipes for food items, but you can apparently use swipes to buy amazing things like Starbucks mugs and cups. This would have come in handy during holiday times when I couldn’t think of anything good to get for various family members, but no one bothered to tell me this little secret.

5. Participation in classes pretty much just means going to lecture.

I always thought that in order to get participation points for class, you had to actually participate in class and speak a lot during lecture and discussion sections. Turns out, the professor doesn’t completely take into account how much you speak, so your grade is pretty much the same either way. This is especially great for people like me who feel awkward speaking in class.

Now that you know these tips, use them wisely during your upcoming years at UC Davis!

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