“The University of California at Irvine is aMar 04 2014Political Science
UCI has actually been a safe-haven for me. My little sister passed away from cancer during my first quarter at UCI. I almost felt like throwing in the towel, and the UCI administration and deans were more than accommodating towards my situation. They offered me the chance to withdraw from the university, if I so wished, and guaranteed that I could return at any point in time. I did not withdraw, but their generosity and understanding was refreshing. In addition, there are a few professors who I've openly spoken to about my sister, and they even invited me over to spend time with them so that they could listen to me and try make me feel better. That's crazy! I've had a professor hug me and offer me her condolences, telling me that I could come talk to her anytime if I ever needed a confidant. I've had another professor tell me to stop by his office hours just so that we could talk about my sister. I've had another professor completely postpone one of my finals just so that I was able to be with my sister in the hospital and not have to worry about that final until the start of the next quarter! I've had so many professors and students alike reach out to me, and it has truly left me awe-struck. I half expected for nobody to care. I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd been ignored. But I wasn't ignored--I was actually taken care of and comforted by complete strangers who have no obligation to do so! A professors' job is to come into class, teach the material, assign homework, dish out tests, etc. Their job isn't to care about my feelings or make sure that I'm okay--but that's what my professors at UCI did for me. They went above and beyond, even before they knew about my situation. They were always sympathetic towards other students as well. This is one of the things that has impressed me the most.
Another impressive thing about UCI is their counseling center. I went to see one of the many psychologists there for therapy. She was very kind, compassionate, and helpful. Oh, and did I mention it's free for UCI students? If you're stressed about finals, grieving over a loss like I am, or depressed, you can go down to the counseling center, schedule an appointment, and seek the help you need.
The friends I've made at UCI are genuine and intelligent. There are quite a number of intellectuals at this school. Admittedly, not everyone's a genius, but most of the students are incredibly friendly and tend to go out of their way to help one another.
Our school may not have a football team. Yes, it's also a commuter school. But it has a lot of spirit! Plenty of students wearing UCI attire and doing the whole "Zot, zot, zot!" chant.
Compared to the other UC's, we're one of the youngest, yet we are one of the most rapidly growing universities in the nation. We are the #1 public university in the country under 50 years old. And we are consistently ranked in the top 15 of all public universities in the U.S. We're the third most selective UC in the entire UC system, right behind UCLA and Cal. Yet, rankings aside, what has really made the difference are the encouraging, positive attitudes of faculty, students, and staff. Even the cafeteria people at the freshman commons are downright cheerful to see you! You can always rely on service with a smile at UCI. You don't have to worry about people being cut-throat or overly competitive as you might in other UC's (Cal/UCLA/UCSD). There is a good vibe here. Now, that's not to say you won't come across any rotten apples--those kinds of people are at every school, unfortunately. But for the most part, the overwhelming majority of people I've met here are kind-hearted, passionate individuals bent on making a difference.
Ultimately, that's what it comes down to. UCI gives you a stellar education, yes. But they also encourage you to make a real difference in society, and not all universities preach on that. All in all, UCI has taught me a lot about my major but also a lot about what it means to be a human being, in general. The college experience, as many of you may have heard before, is what you make of it. However, I will go the extra mile and say that it helps to have a better experience if you choose a university that really speaks to you, while allowing you to develop into a better person. UCI is that university.
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