- Class: Junior
- Major: Other
- Gender: M
- High School: Justin-Siena H.S.
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about UCI is probably its location. We're an hour away from LA and San Diego and right in the best part of Orange County. The area around UCI are beautiful, there's a nature preserve across the street from campus, and the beaches are some of the best in the country. It's one of the few areas that I've been where you can drive out to the boonies and feel like you're in complete solitude, and then head out to practically any chain restaurant, or chain store you can think of. When I tell people that I go to UCI they usually ask where Irvine is. When I tell them it's in Orange County people usually have the same reaction and mention something about "Laguna Beach" or the "OC" t.v. show. It makes for entertaining small talk. Sometimes I think that we should change the name of the school to UC Orange County, but then someone pronounced UCOC as a word and I quickly changed my mind. On campus I'm usually at our student center or at the pub. Both of these places just opened up this year after a two year construction hiatus. The pub is an awesome place to hang out on campus and they have really good food and a nice happy hour. Irvine is not a college town. Irvine is a suburban neighborhood with a high median home price. The closest thing to a college town here is in Newport Beach, where a lot of students choose to live because of the night spots, bars, and proximity to both UCI and the beach. The only thing bad about the situation is that it just contributes to the "commuter stereotype." The school spirit on campus is one thing that I wish I could change. There are a ton of students who are fired up about going to school here and our athletics program but it's suffice to say that the entire school does not share the same sentiment. Our sports program is amazing for such a young school and it's a lot of fun to go to the games and then head over to the pub for the after game happy hour.
The biggest lesson that I think I can pass on is that students need to make an effort to get to know their professors. One of the best and sometimes only ways to do this is by attending office hours. UCI is a pretty big school and is a public research university. Some of the professors here are just in it for the research, sometimes that's the way it goes. But, make an effort to get to know your professors and you will be rewarded with connections, recommendations, and research opportunities, which help out a lot with Grad School. I've heard Bio majors complain about competitiveness for Med School stuff but I think that's true anywhere you go. I would say that UCI is a very academic school, we have top programs and top professors here to further that notion as well. The academics here are challenging and it feels like we're all being prepared for some sort of post-baccalaureate work after we graduate. All in all I have been extremely satisfied with my education here and it doesn't hurt your wallet like some private schools close by...
As I mentioned before, UCI is very diverse. Not everyone is used to that but it seems like it always turns out to be a positive experience. There are a ton of ethnic clubs on campus and they tend to share the largest stake of Ring Road (the common student pathway)with the fraternities and sororities handing out fliers for events during the week. Although UCI may be ethnically diverse, it is definitely not geographically diverse. A huge majority of students come from Southern California, many from within Orange County, so sometimes it can feel like a bubble. It's not hard being from the far away and coming here, although I can see how it can make some people homesick to feel further away from home than you really are when your friends go home for the weekend. UCI is known as the most conservative UC in the state but it feels like any normal college campus to me. There are more protests here than you'd think, with Animal Cruelty, Worker Rights, and Minority Rights being the most prominent.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
The housing near campus