I came into UC Davis with a fixed mind of pursuing a career in environmental science. I dislike walking through my community and seeing empty areas of soil that could be more aesthetic and beneficial for the people. I dislike visiting other communities; comparing them to Richmond and asking myself, “Why can’t Richmond be like this?” always displeased me because I could never find an answer. I envision my community a place where many people in the future refer to Richmond as an environmental friendly community rather than the violence-related community that the media has portrayed of it. I firmly believed that the only way to make Richmond a more eco friendly community was to attend a four-year university as an environmental science major. Thus, I decided to attend UC Davis as an Environmental Science and Management major in seek of finding an answer to this dilemma. One year attending UC Davis, however, has changed the way I visualize my future goal of making Richmond a more sustainable community.
Winter quarter was a period overwhelming with influential opportunities towards learning more about myself and my interests. I enrolled in an animal science class to fulfill one of my general education requirements. This course was, by far, the most challenging course I’ve enrolled in, yet it interest me the most. I loved learning about the history of companion animals and the benefits of owning one. Through the class I made a few friendships and we conversed about our future goals. I listened to their dreams of pursuing careers related to working with animals: veterinarian, animal breeder, animal nutritionist, etc. I envied them; the careers my animal science friends seek interest me. However, I want to make a positive contribution towards the sustainability of my community, so switching majors was not a choice at the moment. During a conversation with one of my friends, I learned that UC Davis has an environmental club. I decided to join the environmental club and switch majors to seek a career that fascinates me and still make a positive contribution to Richmond in the future–the best of both worlds. I thank the Scully foundation because without their support, I would not have attended UC Davis and discover my passion for animals.
This school year my experiences taught me several things. I did not do so well in my first two quarters but I improved greatly on my third quarter in college which I am so proud of. I worked so hard in all of my classes and I learned that I should stop comparing myself to how others are doing academically because we all come from different places. I realize that I had to work double as hard as them because the level of education that I was offered was not as high as theirs. I have struggled but I continue to push through it strong. I have always been so thankful to have received this scholarship because honestly without it I would not be able to continue paying for college. I know that I will start next year stronger than ever because I now am aware of the high standards I need to meet. I am incredible thankful for this scholarship and I hope that my improvement allows me to continue being part of this great opportunity that you guys have give me. I am currently super happy to have finished my first year in college and at the moment I am taking summer classes at CCC to improve my overall GPA.
My second quarter in college was definitely the hardest one considering that I took Calculus. I took the math placement test and I placed into it so I figured that I would be able to keep up with the class. But I was wrong and I Wish I would have taken more lower division math classes before going on to calculus. This class took so much time out of my scheduled I studied for for hours and went to tutoring but I just wasn’t getting the results I wanted at all. It affected my performance in my other classes as well considering that I was so concentrated on passing my calculus class that I did not put as much effort to my other classes.
My first quarter at UC Davis was a bit of a struggle. One of my classes was pretty hard since we were doing entirely new and different things like synthesizing theories and then using your synthesized theory to come up with a new theory. That was an entirely different concept for me and I struggled with that. Also at the same time I had so much going on like midterms, essays, campus events and just hanging out and getting to know new people that I forgot all about myself. I struggled with getting me time and just thinking about all these adjustments and how I was dealing with them. What I also learned during this first quarter is that in times of great stress I kind of tend to take things at a normal and slow pace and not get stressed out, usually. Or just laugh or make fun about it. I also learnt that I am pretty interested in the history of buildings or a place. I never really thought of myself as a person who would be interested in history since all the history classes in high school seemed okay. But it felt so surreal when I learned that a bunch of students went on a hunger strike in the 90s in front of the Chancellor’s office so that the Cross Cultural Center on campus could be created. Learning about such an important event that matters immensely for a local community and then walking on the same steps that those students took for such a building to be created with a lot of resources for student of color just amazes me.
During my current quarter I hope to focus a lot more on myself and how I am still adjusting to these developments and changes. Also probably to seek out a lot more resources like tutoring to always be on the top of my game. I also would love to learn more about the dedications to the buildings and halls we have here as students sometimes seem to not know at all who these people are. We go to classes named after great professors and educators but do not know anything about them. I wish to somehow make sure that students know what famous person’s dedicated building or hall they are walking in or have classes in. Lastly I just wish to have another successful yet a bit difficult quarter so I can always understand the value this education holds.
Last quarter did not go exactly as I expected. The reason given is because I knew that I was going into a higher level of education. Though throughout the quarter I realize how poorly my teachers from high school taught me. I had to put in twice as much effort as my fellow peers in College. I was used to having a 4.0 all throughout middle school and high school that when I received my final results I was devastated. On a positive note I was able to interact with several upperclassmen students. I was able to pick up a few learning/studying techniques from them. I honestly have a hard time studying in College because there is so much information all at once. Studying for a high school test is nothing compare to studying for a College test. I now realize that I need to study as I take the class and not just a day or two before I have the test. So my goals for this quarter are to always study for a midterm in a week advanced as for my finals study at least 2 weeks before. Since I am in a quarter system I basically need to start to study as soon as I start my classes. I will do whatever it takes to be prepared for my exams because there is nothing more disappointing than low test scores. I will for sure increase my study hours and read over all of my notes. First quarter was my wake up call I did not know exactly what to expect but know I realize how fast a quarter goes by. Last quarter I had all of my classes all over the place I had from a 9:00am class to 8:00pm class which killed me because I did not use my 2 hour breaks wisely. I now know that I need to do my homework/study in between my classes to not stay up until 2 or 3am. The good news is that I end classes everyday at 5 now and will have more straight hours to work on all of my homework. I learn my lesson first quarter now I will for sure try different techniques to insure myself to obtain better grades.
Choosing what college to attend was very hard for me. I had gotten accepted to many colleges, but I wanted something close to home. My plans were to live at home and stay close, so that my family and I can always have each other. Unfortunately during the last months of my senior year I took an unexpected decision. I decided to attend UC Davis and live on campus. I was not too sure of the decision I was making, but I wanted a new experience for myself. Now that I have been attending UC Davis for three weeks, I am the happiest college student ever.
UC Davis is not only the friendliest campus ever, but it’s also a school full of people that care. Staff members at UC Davis care about your academics, your health, and your personal life. They are always making sure that the students are doing their best in all ways possible. UC Davis is full of great things to do and great clubs to be involved in. I consider being here in UC Davis as a privilege because I feel happy and yet I am still getting a great education. An education that I know will one day pay off and give me an advantage in society. For all those upcoming freshmen, I really encourage them to apply to UC Davis. I am positively sure they will be very happy to become Aggies. I was once a proud eagle from Kennedy High School and now I am a very proud Aggie from UC Davis.
Throughout my first year of college, I learned several lessons. I would have to say that the most important lessons were the academic ones. The difference in the difficulty level from high school to college is quite noticeable, especially when transitioning into the fast-paced quarter system. At first, I believed that my studying habits were under control, but I was soon overwhelmed by my first quarter chemistry class. Since I didn’t get the grade I wanted, I reflected on my mistakes and decided to put in a greater effort in my future classes. I also realized that class syllabi are extremely useful because professors clearly let students know what is expected from them. In addition, I didn’t go to office hours during high school, but that totally changed this year. Teacher’s assistants are usually quite helpful, and they are valuable resources that are available most of the time. Last but not least, it was nearly impossible for me to study in the dorms since I tended to procrastinate by socializing. As for studying in my room, that was usually a bad idea because I just wanted to play online games or take naps. Luckily, UC Davis is huge and there are several comfortable places to study.
I admit that I was a bit arrogant after graduating high school. The reason being that my GPA was relatively high and I owed it to my superb individual studying skills. As a result, I was reluctant to participate in study groups and socialize with other people in general. I came to realize, though, that it was fairly easy meeting other people and establishing connections. Ironically, I also performed better on exams when I studied with friends. The concept behind this is rather simple. It’s different from thinking you know something, and explaining it to someone without using notes/books. If someone cannot articulate concepts into words, chances are that they do not fully understand the material. This was something that I loved about college. As the saying goes, I killed two birds with one stone- made friends and acquired better studying habits.
I don’t know much about my community back at home but in Davis, there are several interesting clubs and organizations that specialize in different areas. The best part is that there are both academic and personal interest clubs. Next quarter, I will join JASS (Japanese American Student Society). I took Japanese classes my freshmen year of college, and I might as well join JASS. As for my sophomore year, I probably won’t join a fraternity, but I do plan on being more active within my community. Some community service activities are fun, such as planting trees on campus. Overall, I really enjoyed my first year of college, and I am looking to my second year of college even more.
-Miguel, UC Davis, Class of 2016
I learned many things while completing my first year at UC Davis, some good and some not so good. My first year of college was quite different from others’ first year since I did not take on the experience of living on campus. Yet I got a great experience that I will never forget. I met wonderful loving people that became close friends. The greatest takeaway from my first year of college was learning that I should prioritize my education more than anything. There are things like parties, bad influences, and fun times, but you cannot let those things interfere with your goals. I learned that I have potential since I made it through my first year, but yet I have a lot more to learn and give. I learned that classes could be quite hard and will make you hit rock bottom but you cannot give up. I also learned study skills that allowed me to progress and do a lot better. I learned the hard way that I should not take many difficult classes all at once. Overall I learned how to be a college student and mix in with all the “smart” people.
I learned that my community at home and the community of my college are very different, if not opposites when juxtaposed. I did not see one act of violence or serious crime in the time being at UC Davis. I learned that the community of Davis is really nice and treat each other with respect, often times. On campus I received many smiles and happy greetings, this allowed me to be a happier person when I came back home. My first year of college was definitely tough, but it was nowhere near impossible. There are times when you feel like giving up, but overall the experience and the benefit received from working hard defeats that. I learned that your family is something that keeps you motivated and is a big incentive for you to keep working hard. I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support and the support coming from others. I was expected to fail in my first year of college, but that was not part of my plans whatsoever. Now I have to await a new year that is full of more improvements and new wonderful experiences.
-Eduardo, UC Davis, Class of 2016