- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Communications
- Gender: F
- High School: San Benito High
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about UCSD is the location. Within walking distance to major beaches and near the heart of lively San Diego, there is always something to do and to see whether on campus or not. However, I would change the architecture of the main buildings. Many of the different colleges within the university are haphazardly positioned, and none of the designs match from one place to the other. Muir College, in fact, has some of the ugliest buildings IÕve ever seenÑten story buildings made of concrete that tries to look like wood. ItÕs all wrong. The campus itself is actually pretty largeÑI think itÕs about a 3 mile journey on the campus loop, which only covers the west side. However, the six-college system helps out a lot. I like to think of it as Hogwarts, where everyone is sorted into different colleges/houses and although they share classes with the entire school, they are separated by their housing and dining facilities as well as what it expected from them (in this case, general education and graduation requirements). This system breaks the campus into smaller pieces so that you are more connected to your living environment and the people in it, but it does make school spirit less of a priority; it even deters school spirit all together, in my opinion. UCSDÕs administration is nothing special, and they treat the student body with as much respect as can be garnered by a board of high-paid officials who aim to please everybody and who fail miserably. There is always the student body complains about: high tuition, lack of vegetarian options, not enough parking, strict campus security, and useless expenses made. The most controversial subjects to crop up recently has been the administrationÕs failed attempt to rewrite many free speech policies for the campus, which received a lot of outcry from the students as well as ACLU, who denounced the new policies as undemocratic and unfit for a college campus. Depending on who IÕm speaking with, when people discover that I attend UCSD they are either immediately impressed or empathetic. ÒOh, you attend a UC? ThatÕs amazing. You must be really smart!Ó Or else itÕs, ÒSan Diego? IsnÕt that a party school?/IsnÕt that the research school?Ó A lot of people get us confused with San Diego State, which is more widely known for its rigorous social life than ours to say the least.
Academic life at UCSD is rather difficult, as many of the professors are researchers who expect a lot more from students than memorization. With such a large student body, itÕs difficult to get to know professors personally, despite the different departmentsÕ insistence on building professor/student relations. The general education requirements differ from college to college, and if you plan to graduate on time then you should consider which college you choose before applying (switching between colleges is rather difficult). Easiest general education requirements can be found in Muir College; most difficult GEs in either Revelle or Roosevelt. The courses are interesting, and a lot of them require dedication and detail to the learning process itself, let alone the subject matter. However, a degree from UCSD is coupled with research experienceÑif you can get in with a professor and help with their research, you are almost guaranteed a job opening upon graduation. With that said, it is a very competitive school in biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering, although there are many communication majors and other humanities majors that compete for the top grade. Students therefore study a lot, probably more so than at other schools, for midterms and finals. ItÕs also difficult given the quarter system: ten weeks to learn the material before moving onto the next class can be both a blessing and a plague, depending on the professor, course, etc.
The UCSD campus is probably the most diverse in terms of racial, religious, and LGBT resources than any other college in the area. There are dozens of strong programs and organizations dedicated to supporting the different, diverse communities and the administration and student body supports them all. Students are typically from the Los Angeles or northern California area, and typically come from middle class-upper class families. Wearing sweatshirts and jeans to class (or even whatever you wore the night before, including pajamas, if you have a class before 11) is generally considered the norm for this campus, which is extremely laidback and lighthearted. Students from all different backgrounds come together and just hang out; different majors eat together; there is no real restriction as to what you can do and who you can do it with. As for political action, students are not interested in politics, although the majority of students would lean left.
The Best Things
The location! The people are great! The school is academically challenging!
The Worst Things
UCSD lacks a strong sense of community--there are few who are proud of the school at all, and this makes it hard to stick it through.