The UCI saga

I am going to tell you my story of UCI, even though everyone probably already knows it. It’s a good story, I promise.

Once upon a time I was a freshman in high school and my brother ({Chris}) was applying for college. The only college he applied to was UCI because he didn’t really have any college ambitions nor any inclination to leave his friends (a year behind him in HS). He was fine with going to a community college if he didn’t make it in.

Spring 2000 comes, and UCI tells Chris he’s been wait-listed, which pretty much means he didn’t get in. He was a little bummed, but what-ev. Then the day before graduation (or something crazy like that) they call and let him know hey! Do you still want to come here? Because there’s an opening. So of course, he was all about it, and yay, now he can go to UCI. Downside? It was now too late to apply for freshman housing. So he had to commute.

Fastforward to my senior year of high school, Fall 2002. My dad and I are at a college information night or whatever, and I’m looking around at colleges in California. Perferably Southern California, because that was where my then-boyfriend lived, and I didn’t want to leave him. The closest state university college to him would be UCLA (HA!), then UCI, etc. So I ended up applying to UCLA (I knew I had pretty much no chance of getting in), UCSB (Didn’t really care one way or the other), UCD (my sister’s alma mater), UCI (my number one choice, pretty much knew I would get in), and as a backup school… CSUF. I was pretty confident about my chances of getting in considering how little my brother tried. He took no honors classes, no extracurricular activities, SAT score wasn’t that great. I on the other hand was in AP English, got a 4 on my English AP test (5 is the best), was involved in the band for 4 years. The only thing I was concerned about was my SAT score, a pathetic 1160. I was hoping for at least 1200. But I scored fairly well on my ACT (I think I got in the neighborhood of 26-33 out of 36?), I thought that might help. Given this information, I thought I was good to go for UCI.

Oh how wrong I was.

Fullerton got back to me fastest. They wanted me like a doggie wants a milkbone, they wanted me to join the honors program and all this shit before I even heard from the UC’s. Given that I didn’t even WANT to go to CSUF, I didn’t really get back to them in a timely fashion. Next was UCLA I think, and of course they answered with a resounding no. I was okay with this, I knew it was a longshot. UCD responded and they wanted me, too. That was nice for my sister, and she really encouraged me to go there. UCSB was next and unexpectedly, they rejected me. I was a little surprised, and that got me worried about UCI. Why were they taking so long? If it was positive, shouldn’t I have heard from them by now?

Unfortunately, I received my last rejection from UCI soon thereafter, and I was crushed. I had placed all my eggs in one basket, and now I dropped the basket and they were all dead. I was devastated. To make matters worse, by this time I was already with Mike and less than willing to leave him to go to school 400 miles away in Davis. Not to mention, I knew my parents couldn’t afford it; there was just no way. My brother was still at UCI with no plans of finishing anytime soon, and going to UCD would require a lot of funds my family just didn’t have. I suppose if I really wanted to go there we could have made it happen, and maybe I should have, but my heart just wasn’t in it. So I ended up going to CSUF, my backup, without ever even having visited the school. It was an extremely hard pill to swallow, but my consolation was that Mike’s school was less than an hour away from mine. About a 30 minute drive.

I tried to take comfort in the fact that I could always transfer there later, but by then all of my friends were settling into their dorms, making new friends, and there I was still living at home. I grew really bitter; my classes were so ridiculously easy, easier than at my HIGH school, I felt like it was some kind of cruel joke that the universe was playing on me. To make matters worse, I couldn’t seem to fit in with my new surroundings. I tried to talk to people and make friends, but being a commuter school, I got the impression that most people’s friends from high school already went there or to a community college nearby, and they weren’t too interested in making new friends. Compiled with the fact that I only got to see Mike on the weekends, I grew really depressed. I felt like a complete failure; not only was I not smart enough to make it into a UC school, but I was somehow comepletely un-friend worthy.

Mike came back home that summer and decided not to go back to APU in the fall, but to go to a nearby culinary arts school instead. I was more than ecstatic, and it really helped lift me out of my depression. Mike and I were together again, and I didn’t feel as lonely as I did before. I knew I was placing all of my eggs in one basket again by relying on Mike so much, but I didn’t care. That fall I returned to CSUF a happier person and even made a couple friends in classes, although not the kind that I ever hung out with outside of class (unless it was cancelled). I still didn’t feel like I fit in there, but I accepted the fact that I probably never would fit in there, and I was okay with it. I began to think about going to UCI again, and figured out it would probably take me 2 more semesters to get the credits I needed.

Now it’s crunch time. I have to start making appointments with people to transfer, I need to start the process to getting in to UCI, and I have to admit I’m scared. I’m really apprehensive about getting my hopes up again only for them to be shattered, again. I don’t have any delusions about suddenly finding my niche at UCI; I know that by this time most people already have their friends and aren’t really interested in making new ones, and I’m semi-okay with that. I’m still hoping to maybe find housing, maybe that will get me more “in-touch” with campus culture, but being that I will be a transfer, a junior, and coming in the winter quarter, I doubt I will be able to find anything. That doesn’t mean I won’t try.

I’m also trying to figure out why it is I want to go there so bad. Do I really expect it to be that different from CSUF? What am I looking for? Why did I want to go there in the first place? Was it merely convenient for me? Why do I want to go there now? What do I want to do if I get there?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I don’t know what I want out of college, what I’m going to do with this degree I’m going to earn, I don’t even know if I like my major!

I’m pretty much a mess right now, and really need to pray about this and figure out where I want to go and do. I don’t like this lost, unsure feeling. I want to put an end to this UCI saga once and for all, and know that maybe God just didn’t have the typical college experience of dorms, partying, hangovers, academic probation, etc in His plan for me. As hard as that is to swallow (especially since it was my dream all throughout HS), I’m trying to remember that He knows what’s best for me.

It’s just hard.

8 thoughts on “The UCI saga

  1. Aww, Ewin. 🙁 I feel so bad for you. I remember being really surprised that you didn’t get into UCI. Granted that UCLA was out of reach, UCI didn’t seem as difficult. I was like “hey, I got into LMU, and I had sucktacular test scores,” hehe. I remember that. It was a sad day. 🙁

    Don’t worry, everything will turn out alright in the end. 🙂 And you should come to school with me, yayyyyy. Now all LMU has to do is not be so expensive. 😀

  2. I think you should definitly transfer to UCI It will be scary, and you will not know anyone, but I am sure that you can do it! You will finally be at the College that you so much wanted to be in. One goal reached. People should REALLY bother to get to know you, and if they dont, they are probably not worth your time anyway. What do you have to loose? 🙂

  3. Wow, rin, that sucks. Did UCI ever let you know why they didn’t give you a place? I’m not sure if they do that in the US, sometimes in England universities write to people they don’t accept to explain why. I really hope you can transfer there, I’ll be thinking of you. Good luck with everything 🙂

  4. No, in America they aren’t nearly as personal as that, hehe. They have a form letter that they send to people who weren’t accepted. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was something to the effect of “We regret to inform you that your application for the fall 2003 quarter at UCI has been rejected.” And then it goes on to say how many people apply, wishes luck, etc. Thanks for the support. 🙂

  5. Hello,

    I came across your website by accident and just wanted to give you my two cents.

    Just a little background: I recently graduated from CSUF with a degree in business. (I, too, didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I picked something that I thought woud increase my chances of getting a job) I have been to many different universities in my college career, including UC Davis and California Lutheran University. I was accepted into Davis right out of high school with a 3.7 gpa and honors classes.

    Before making any decisions, you really need to decide what you want out of college. When I first attended Davis, I, too, wanted the whole “college experience” so I know what you mean. Most people who attend Cal State Fullerton commute, so I understand that it is sometimes difficult to make friends, but you can still make friends though clubs/organizations on campus. Have you considered those? Another thing is that once you decide what you want to major in, and get into upper division classes, you start to see the same people in several of your classes. I made friends with these people, as they were part of my group projects.

    Another thing to ask yourself is: are you interested in UCI for the whole “prestige” factor? Unless you want to go to grad school or work at a top-ranked law firm, how prestigious your alma mater is doesn’t usually matter. (Even if you were to go to grad school, you can still get into a good one if you have good grades and test scores. Someone I know graduated from CSUF and is now attending Stanford.) All too often, I hear of people referring to “good schools” (meaning top-ranked) and to me, it’s more of a status thing, which it shouldn’t be. You are going to college to learn about your desired field of study, not to brag to others about which school you went to. One thing I have learned from the “real world”, success isn’t dependent on the school you graduated from, but your drive, ambition, leadership skills, performance, etc. Employers want to see what you can offer their company. On the same note, if you measure success by how much money you make, the name of your alma mater doesn’t mean you will make more money. For example, a person who graduated with an art degree from UCLA is typcially not going to make more money than someone who graduated from CSUF with an engineering degree. (Pick your major carefully)

    So my whole point is, to me, college is a tool to get to the career you want. (Yeah, the “college experience” is cool, but not my main reason for attending college) Therefore, you really need to base your decision on which college best fits that goal.

    Hope this helps.

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