Audrey Fong: Life as a Transfer Student at UCI
Audrey Fong is an English major who transferred into UC Irvine last year. I met Audrey in French class where we struggled with French language tenses together and bonded over our mutual love for boba and our shared pre-teen emo phases.
I got the chance to interview her about what it’s like to be a transfer student at UCI, and here’s what she had to say:
Hi Audrey! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to start us off? A fun fact maybe?
Outside of school, I’m obsessed with music, boba, and my dog, Charlotte, who is Insta-famous! I love managing her career as a model and influencer. I’m also the social media intern for the School of Humanities, so if you have questions or suggestions, lemme know!
So what’s your *academic* history?
When I was in high school, UCI was my favorite college that I toured! However, I was born and raised in Irvine, so I had always wanted to go far away for college because that’s just what you do, you know? So I went to NYU because I had always wanted to live in New York and it turned out I absolutely hated it there. I ended up coming back home and in order to transfer to a UC, you need two years of college credits, so I did a year at Irvine Valley College. When it came to transferring, I had a lot of options, but I knew I had to go where my heart was - UCI. UCI is just such a fun and friendly school, so I couldn’t pass it up when it came to transferring.
Before you transferred to UCI, what were you looking for in a school? How did your experiences at your previous schools inform your choices?
The two main things I wanted out of college when I was in high school were: a big school so I could meet lots of people and a good reputation. UCI has both! When it came to transferring, I already knew I loved UCI from when I toured it as a high schooler. The friendly campus and safe community were big pluses for me. It’s awesome that I can walk around in Irvine at night by myself and feel safe.
Did it take you a long time to adjust to UCI? Was it what you were expecting?
UCI completely surpassed my expectations! After NYU, I had low expectations for college and looked at it as just four years I had to get through. After a week or two at UCI, I was really happy that I chose UCI. Everyone was open and willing to help me out with finding classes, figuring out how to use Canvas (an online resource many UCI instructors use), and introducing me to their friends. Getting a job on campus and creating study groups were two of the best ways I found community on campus. It didn’t hurt that my French class was crazy tight and even after finishing my year of French, I still get lunch and hang out with them. Adjusting to UCI honestly depends on you. If you’re friendly and just try a bit, you’ll get a good response.
How do you feel about the classes you’ve taken at UCI compared to previous institutions? What about professors?
The professors at UCI are amazing! Not only are they incredibly intelligent, they’re also super funny (Shoutout to Professor Tucker, Silver, and Christensen for sharing interesting tidbits of their lives and for always having witty comebacks). What I like the most about my professors is how invested they are in your personal growth. I’ve found that many professors, even ones I’ve never had classes with, want to help me with my research and with my career goals. Julia Lupton and Christopher Fan have been supportive of my social media work with the School of Humanities, while Professor Wu is always down to talk about your research topic or about anything you feel like. At NYU, office hours felt pointless - like you were doing them to get brownie points. At UCI, I’ve only gone to office hours with Professor Wu and Silver, but both of them gave me insightful tips for my essays and pointed me in the right direction. They also answered all of my questions, which is super important. I work with some staff as well like Annabel Adams, Joann Jamora, and Doug Luebbe from the School of Humanities and they’ve all been great helping me feel like I’ve found my place at UCI.
Outside of the classroom, what type of on-campus activities do you do? Any clubs?
Outside of class, I’m the social media intern for the School of Humanities and a staff member of NAR, the Campuswide Honors Program’s creative works journal. Starting in the fall, I’ll also be a social media director for New Forum, an undergraduate literary journal. I love the work I do and the groups I’m a part of. They’ve been great ways to meet students and faculty across UCI, while also teaching me skills that I can use to improve my dog’s Instagram. Finding a group to belong to can be hard, but it’s worth it to find those wonky friends that are always down to get boba with you.
How has it been as a transfer student getting involved with campus life?
It was hard at first because I’m a commuter and most club meetings are at night. I’d go home after class and then I’d be too lazy to hop back in my car to go to a club meeting. What I did to get involved though was hang out with other transfers and talk to counselors about options that might be good for me. Karissa Sorenson, a CHP advisor, has been really supportive with my involvement with NAR.
What’s something you wish you could change about UCI? What’s something that you’ve experienced at a different school that you wish UCI would incorporate?
I honestly love everything about UCI because you can tell everything is student focused from the plethora of microwaves on campus (so you can bring food from home and save money) to the easy availability of food (Ring Road, Zot n’ Go, etc.) and the student food pantry. Can you tell I’m food focused? It’s just a lively campus and it feels good to be somewhere where everyone is excited about what they’re doing. It’s also cool how much wildlife we have on campus! The only thing I would change is maybe better air conditioning, but I don’t mind too much because I know less air conditioning means more eco friendly.