Eight Hacks for UCSD Freshmen

UC San Diego is a massive and complex campus that even many upperclassmen have not fully explored. Here are the top tips to prepare you for your new adventure at UCSD, courtesy of The Conch.

1. Don’t Spend All Your Time Watching Netflix in Your Dorm

As a first year, fall quarter is a valuable time to socialize and discover campus. Students are more open to making new friends and exploring. Put in the extra effort to go out, socialize, and attend the multitude of campus events. Choosing to stay in or exclusively hangout with a familiar social circle will only make it harder to meet new people later when everyone is already busy with midterms and extracurriculars.

2. Start Early and Often in the Quarter System

“Start Early, Start Often” is a catchphrase widely joked about in UCSD’s computer science community, but I believe it applies to all fields of study. In the quarter system, everything moves so fast it might make you nauseous if you’re not used to it. The best way to make sure you can sleep soundly is to start early on your course work and continue working on it often. The rule of thumb is that if you are still actively working on an assignment on its due date, then you are doing it wrong.

3. Respect and Explore All Majors

UCSD has a reputation as a STEM campus and there are students who project a sense of superiority towards non-STEM students. Whether you are pre-med, visual arts, economics, or computer science, it is important to respect every student’s major decision because each study provides value to the modern world. Outside of the STEM departments at UCSD, the campus is also home to world class humanities and social sciences departments. Spend time exploring your interests and options if you have a free class.

4. Attend Campus Events and Concerts

UCSD is well known for its annual Sun God Festival, which has featured headliners such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Diplo. What does not get as much coverage are the other exciting artists that perform on campus throughout the year. AS Concerts and Events (ASCE) and The Che Cafe both work hard to book artists such as The Internet, Girlpool, and Alison Wonderland. You can find out about upcoming events on Facebook or campus flyers. Whether or not you get directly involved with campus event planning, there is little room for complaint when it comes to on-campus entertainment.

5. Avoid Splurging at the Campus Markets

It is exhilarating having a fancy convenience store that accepts funny money right outside your doorstep, but the markets can easily become a black hole for your Dining Dollars. Considering most market items are sold at a decent markup, it’s recommended that you make a separate spending plan for market purchases to avoid splurging away your funds on sugary drinks or artisanal chocolate.

6. Shop at the Original Student Center

The Original Student Center is home to the Women’s Center, Black Resource Center, and KSDT. It is also home to the nonprofit student-run co-ops: the Food Co-op, Groundwork Books, and the General Store. The Food Co-op provides affordable vegetarian food and works with local monks to provide delicious vegan food every Wednesday. Groundwork Books is the student run bookstore with an activist vibe. It’s a perfect alternative to the corporate feel of the price center bookstore. The General Store provides students with school supplies, art supplies, snacks, drinks, and more at the lowest prices on campus. All of these co-ops are central to UCSD’s history.

7. Get Some Wheels

UC San Diego is six colleges spread out over nearly two thousand acres. You will inevitably have lectures or meetings on opposite ends of campus, and regardless of whether or not you enjoy walking, your time is too valuable to be spent walking back and forth between obligations. Investing in a bike or skateboard will pay for itself in the amount of time that you save traveling around campus.

8. Don’t Forget About Your Parents

For most of you, college will be the first time you will have the freedom to do anything without constant parental oversight. I recommend taking full advantage of your new-found freedom, but don’t forget to call your parents. They raised you and likely helped you get accepted into UCSD. A simple call to remind them that you think and care about them will go a long way to put their worries at ease.