Well, I’m home for the weekend, so I thought I might update in case I don’t do it again anytime soon.
Underpacking: Since I live 20 minutes away from school, I thought I would not need much stuff, so I packed enough to fit the car. It turns out, I definitely underpacked compared to the other people moving in. They seriously brought their houses and rooms with them. Part of the reason why I came home this weekend was to pick up more stuff. I don’t necessarily need them, but it’s much nicer to have them. For example, I only packed 7 hangers, thinking my wardrobe would be very small. However, that wardrobe probably has enough room for all my clothes.
Food: The food at UCI is pretty good, in my opinion, and it’s a little different from home food. Not just because it’s more American food than Asian food, but because I get to eat a variety of foods instead of eating one thing only. At home, my mom would cook one dish and that’d be it. At school I get a little bit of everything…so that’s interesting. There are two commons to eat at near my dorm. One is better than the other, but it’s smaller with less selection. I have yet to eat alone, but I might do that more often when classes start and everyone has to eat at different times.
Dorm room: Despite being in a triple, it doesn’t feel crowded at all. I’m on the third floor with no elevator, but at least we have two windows so our room is extremely breezy while other rooms are hot. With my roommates, I feel like I’ve connected more with one than the other, but we are all very respectful of each other if anything. I share a bunk bed, but I have the bottom bed. My wardrobe is right next to my bed and my desk is under a loft bed. I didn’t like the idea of having a desk in a “cave” as I call it, but I’ve grown to like it.
Events: During welcome week we’ve had a lot of events planned for us. I’ve gone to the late night at the ARC (gym), movie night in the park for Iron Man with free kettle popcorn, ice cream social for VSA, meeting for Circle K, concert with free hotdogs, etc. It was a very busy week, except the downtime I found myself having at night before I went to bed.
Homework & Classes: My first day of classes was on Friday. I already have homework, but I suppose that’s to be expected. I generally have three classes a day, except one day where I have four classes and one day where I have no classes. Thursday is my day off. The earliest I have to wake up is 7 AM for my 8 o’clock class. Otherwise, I wake up at 9 for my 10 o’clock classes. Either way, this schedule is much more favorable than my high school schedule.
Choir: Peter and I tried out for choir together. Originally, I was going to bring more of my new friends, but they chickened out and I ended up going with Peter only. It was disappointing. We tried out in threes, and apparently the director favored one girl more than the other girl and me. She could play the piano, which I think gave her the upper hand. He seemed extremely interested in her piano playing. The other girl and I did not play any instruments. He invited me to sight reading class and university choir, but that’s disappointing because university choir is for anyone to join… Oh well. I told myself I would maybe go to that and work my way up for next year.
Bathroom: I was naturally worried about using the public restroom with 14 or so other girls. However, it really wasn’t as bad as I suspected. It does get crowded around midnight because apparently all of us like showering at night, so I learned to either take showers in the middle of the day or extremely late at night. I also learned which shower to use (since the shower curtains in some like to bunch up and blow towards your body, and some showers have extremely high pressure) and where to place my towel and clothes so I don’t run out of the shower naked (lol).
Friends: I have made many more friends during welcome week than SPOP (orientation). It started with my roommates, then branched out to the other girls in my “suite,” then out to other floors, and then out to some people I meet in class. I find myself being much more open than I once was. I don’t think people would see me as shy as a first impression. Definitely not loud and crazy, but not shy either. I like greeting people I don’t know yet, learning names, introducing myself, talking to new people, etc. Perhaps I was never really shy in high school, but the atmosphere and setup was what prevented me from being more open. These people you’ve already known for 10 years, or if you don’t know them, someone else is bound to have known them for a long time and so they have already formed their own cliques. In college, there are still some people who know each other, but it’s nothing like high school. Almost everyone is new, people don’t know anyone yet. It’s so much easier approaching people when I know they are just like me. Now I am friends with people on each floor of my building, so I have a purpose when I go to any floor :razz: I also got to hang out with Peter and Bao (they’re also dorming!) a few times. They walked me back to my dorm when it got dark so that was sweet. I haven’t really gotten homesick, but I did miss my boyfriend a lot. However, he never met up with me when I came back home for the weekend so naturally I feel disoriented and angry and disappointed. Other than this week, I won’t be coming back for another two weeks…
Locked out: Being locked out is very common among us…one girl in my suite and her roommate: they’ve been locked out about three times already. I got locked out twice. The worst one for me was the first time when everyone was at a party and I was alone in my dorm. I was talking on the phone and was distracted, so after I closed my door I realized I did not have my keycard with me. I ended up talking on the phone and hanging out in a friend’s room until my roommate came back. Just for fun, I started up a tally sheet for lock-outs and put all the names of the girls in my suite.
Commuter friends: I haven’t seen them at ALL. I saw two when I was in a bio lecture, but it was extremely crowded and they didn’t sit near me. I called them to meet up after I finished my last class, but they already left campus. (They carpool, so when one person leaves, they all leave) Seriously, I told my friend that if they keep going home right after class, they’ll never get to know the campus and meet new people. If I have to go back to commuting in the following years, I will definitely make an effort to stay for as long as possible.
Family & Chubs: Moving away has given me a very sweet relationship with my family. I asked my mom if she missed me, and she said she did! I didn’t expect that. I haven’t hugged my dad in a long time (sad, I know), but that has changed. My brother is also very nice to me. Poor Chubs, though. He only lets me scratch his head, so unless I come home there is no one else to give him a head scratch.
Libraries: I checked out the Langston Library, the Gateway Study Center, and the Science Library. They are all amazing! The Science Library is amazing. It’s six floors with study spaces for 2000 people. It’s too bad they close at 11 pm, since it would have been nice to study there at night too. Hopefully I will learn to study during the day instead of at night, though.
Campus: When I first visited campus and taking a self-guided tour before school started, I remember getting very scared because it looked very big, and it took us a long time to find what we wanted. Now, however, I’ve spent some time walking around with friends and looking for classes, so I feel much more comfortable. The architecture is lovely because the school is built into a circle. If you feel lost you can just walk in a circle. However, that’s not very convenient when you’re late to class, so I’m slowly learning the shortcuts. On Friday, I had a class 10 minutes after another, so I had to hurry to class. When I came through the door, I actually came from the front of the room, where the professor was talking. I was a little embarrassed, haha.
Noise/Drugs/Drinking: Despite what people think, there is craziness at any college, including UC Irvine. During welcome week, the noise was really bad, even at night. Now that classes have started, I’m hoping quiet hours will be enforced more strictly. Some people in another building blast their music way up and their bass shakes my floor… I haven’t gone to a party, but the people who have say it can get scary (drugs, dancing dirty aka dry sex, smoking). Some people do get drunk, and we’ve had some random people come into our building. One time, this guy came in with no pants on. Highly amusing, but extremely weird. In conclusion, even a quiet school like UCI is still a college with crazy people. You pick what you want to do and you pick who you want to hang out with.
Weekends: Weekends are apparently very dead. However, I think it’s just this first weekend that it’s really dead. Many people are going back home to bring more stuff back to their dorms (like me). Next week and weeks following, I’m thinking it will get better. I feel sorry for the Nor-Cal and out of state people since they are all are stuck back in the dorms all alone. haha.
I am so glad I dormed for at least the first year. It is sooo worth it.