Students at UCI come from all sorts of places and circumstances before they end up in Irvine. I decided to ask some of my friends why they chose UCI and see if their answers could provide some insight for prospective students.
Interviewee number one is Audrey, a third-year Biology major from Palos Verdes, California. When she was little, she wanted to be a geologist.
Number two is third-year Computer Science major Jacob from San Diego, California. He wanted to be an engineer!
And last but certainly not least is Elijah, a third-year born in the Philippines and raised in Redwood City, double majoring in Education Sciences and Drama and minoring in Urban Studies. His father is a chef, so when he was a kid, he wanted to be a food scientist so he could help his dad make cool food. How cute is that?
What are a few of your favorite on-campus involvements?
Audrey: My favorite on-campus involvement would definitely have to be Soulstice League. And Reps, of course, and I’m a Community Assistant.
Soulstice League is a sketch comedy group that hosts UCI’s premiere talent competition, Soulstice. “Reps” refers to Campus Representatives, the tour guides on campus. Community Assistants (or CA’s) live and work at various university-owned housing complexes and help to make those communities feel more like home for their residents.
Jacob: Cyber @ UCI and AEPi.
Cyber @ UCI is the cybersecurity club on campus that Jacob is the creator and president of! AEPi is one of the Greek fraternities on campus.
Elijah: I work at the LGBT Resource Center as the student outreach intern, and I work with UCI’s Campus Climate Commission to help create events that will help our campus’s social climate. I’m also involved with Theatre Woks, the Asian/Pacific Islander student theatre group.
Tell me about the first time you visited campus.
Audrey: My brother went to UCI, and I was in fourth grade when he applied, and I remember coming here and looking at Aldrich Park and thinking ‘Wow, this place is huge!’ I remember thinking that the Mesa Court Eatery had the best nachos in the world.
Jacob: I came here on a super cloudy, gray day when there weren’t many students around and I liked the peaceful vibe of the campus.
Elijah: It was a few days before I had to submit my SIR (Statement of Intent to Register), and the moment I stepped on campus, I felt like I could be a student here. I felt like I belonged here.
Why did you choose UCI?
Audrey: My brother and my cousins came to UCI and I knew UCI had a good name, but what I really liked most about UCI was the biology program. Our biology department doesn’t make you specify right away, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with biology, so knowing I could enter generally and then find what I was actually drawn to sparked my interest. And besides, it’s close enough and far away enough from home, it’s so beautiful, and there are so many great food places around.
Jacob: I knew I could do a lot of research at UCI, and I also really liked the peaceful vibe I got when I visited the campus.
Elijah: Comparing it to the other schools I was considering, I liked the vibe better here, I felt like I could see myself better here, and I looked at student race and ethnicity ratios and I saw myself better represented here. I also looked at the Drama program and the LGBT Resource Center, and I realized that everything that I would want is here.
What is one of your favorite things about UCI?
Audrey: I always feel like I’m meeting new people on the regular and I love that. I was surprised by how small it could feel, because even though this is a campus with over 30,000 people, I always find myself bumping into people I know.
Jacob: I like the people here. Everyone is super nice and has a good balance of academics and social life.
Elijah: I remember thinking ‘UC’s are super competitive!’, but it doesn’t feel that way here. I feel like I can go at my own pace, and it doesn’t feel like a competition.
Do you think you made the right decision?
Audrey: Yes! I honestly can’t imagine myself anywhere else. The way I’ve grown as a person just from UCI, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
Jacob: Yeah! I really like UCI and I love Irvine. I feel good when I’m here.
Elijah: Yes! I feel like I belong here 100%. I feel very fulfilled here. I honestly am just looking forward to every new week, every new day, every new quarter. I feel like this school became home for me so fast that I couldn’t have anticipated it. I never imagined I would feel like I belong in a place so far away from home, yet felt so connected and so rooted.
Any advice on choosing the right college for you?
Audrey: Know that whatever you choose, everything is going to work out in one way or another. But when you’re choosing, don’t worry about the name, don’t worry about the rankings or anything like that. Find a place where you genuinely feel like you belong and you feel like you can prosper. Pick a place where you think you can grow in your major, or you yourself can grow so you can be the best person that you could possibly be. Pick a place that you think can help make your dreams come true.
Jacob: Visit the campus if you can, because you don’t really know what it’s like until you’re there, and usually once you’ve found the right place, you have that “click” moment where you think ‘This is where I want to be.’
Elijah: If you have the resources, visit the school, and really imagine yourself in the space, and see if you feel like you can tap into your best potential, or if you get that gut feeling, like ‘This is where I belong.’
Thank you so much to Audrey, Jacob, and Elijah for the interviews!