Why UC Davis?

The most common question I’m asked as a tour guide is why I chose UC Davis. However, after four years I have found that the more important question to ask is why I stayed.

I often joke at the end of my tours, the sheer fact that I am a senior and still willing to walk backwards for 3 miles around campus rambling about Davis, should be a testament in itself as to how much I love Davis. It usually gets a laugh or two, but I mean every word. Let me take you on a short tour not of why I chose Davis, but why I stayed…

The Place

I don’t have an elaborate story about why I chose Davis. In fact, I originally applied thinking it would be a back-up school (shows how naïve I was about college rankings). I always thought I wanted to live in a city, not in the middle of Ag-land. However, after touring Davis for the second time I sat on the quad under a tree in the middle of Spring and something just clicked. Cliché I know…but that’s when I decided I wanted to go to Davis.

Looking back I think what clicked in that moment was that Davis was very collegiate. It may sound odd but when you are on campus you feel like you’re at college. If you’ve ever walked through the Quad on a sunny day, the Arboretum in Fall, or Centennial Walk, you know what I mean. Wide-open grassy areas lined with trees, the Memorial Union bell tower ringing every hour, trees that actually change with the seasons (this is a big deal for Southern Californians). It’s like something out of a movie.

Photo Credit: Nikki Zanchetta

The Opportunity

I knew Davis would offer me outstanding academic opportunity, however, I have gained so much more than an education in my four years. Davis has given me the opportunity to be anybody and do anything, and change my mind along the way. I’ve had the chance to play club volleyball, join a sorority, have on campus jobs, study abroad, write for a student publication, go on outdoor adventures, etc. I’ve been given the opportunity to experience things I never thought to try. I’ve met people from various backgrounds who have taught me more than I could learn in any classroom.

Everyone I talk to has been able to find a community, a family, and a home at Davis.

The People

Davis is one of the top 10 happiest campuses in the country. I think this is because a majority of people in Davis are genuinely friendly and kind, which makes other people friendly and kind. There is such a strong sense of community in Davis where everyone is looking out for each other. For example, one day I sat down in class only to realize that my wallet was no longer in my backpack. Of course I started to panic and ran out of class back to the spot on the Quad where I was sitting. Of course it wasn’t there. So I walked back to class making a mental checklist of all the things I would have to get replaced and accounts I would have to freeze. Feeling defeated I sat down and check my phone to find that someone messaged me saying that they found my wallet and turned it into the police station. And this isn’t an uncommon thing to happen.

There have been multiple times when I was sitting at a table by myself in the CoHo and a stranger sat down to share the table, and we ended up having a full conversation, became friends, and still say hi to each other around school.

However, the personal friends I have made throughout college are the main reason I would never dream of going to another school. I got extremely lucky freshman year to be placed in a dorm with some of the most amazing people in the world, many of whom I’m still friends and roommates with today. We have been through everything together and the thought of us living in different cities in a few months, is probably the hardest thing about graduating. They are so much more than my friends, they’re my family

Photo Credit: Seannie Bryan

Every school has a million and one reasons why you should go there: the sports, the academics, and the rankings. But more important than the numbers, is how a school makes you feel. I remember the look on my mom’s face the first time I referred to Davis as home. I could tell she was a little sad, but was ultimately happy that I had found a place I felt I belonged. And that’s what college is all about.

I don’t have a good explanation for why I chose Davis, but I stayed because it became my home.