Photo portrait of UC Davis tour guide Alayna Davidson

Why did you choose UC Davis?

I took a self-guided tour back in high school. I fell in love with the nature, animals, small college town, and friendly vibe that UC Davis had to offer. From that moment I knew this was where I would be the happiest.

What do you enjoy doing for fun here?

In the city, my friends and I frequently go to the Lazi Cow for boba and food. We talk about it like it's our spot, a meeting place when we're done with classes and need somewhere to relax and just catch up. Someone will text "Lazi Cow at 6?" and most of us will just show up. It's really great.

On campus, this might be a little out there but... the library. After eating, my friend group will head to Shields and work and chat (on the lower levels, I promise) until 12 a.m. It's a great way to wind down and get work done, and it is fun because it's with the people I love most (and frequently starts conversations about our passions through our work)!

Not to mention, though, all the on-campus events like open mics and movie screenings and concerts. Those are always fun, alone or with friends, and I try to go to at least two a month.

What activities have you been involved in here?

I am the secretary of Aspec Club on campus, a group for students who identify as being on the asexual/aromantic spectrum. I also helped create the Women in Gaming club here, an inclusive group which hosts meetings in Cruess hall.

What do you like about academics and student life here?

Davis has a collaborative, not competitive, academic culture. No matter where you go, someone is always willing to strike up a conversation, help you out with something, or just say hello. And some people get nervous speaking to professors, but I would say they are probably the best kinds of people to talk to, especially because they're so passionate about their work.

Where have you found community and support on campus?

Through the LGBTQIA Resource Center and by being a tour guide, I've probably met the most diverse group of people on campus yet. 

How has UC Davis helped you grow?

Being on my own for the first time as a transfer student has probably helped me grow the most. I've been able to thrive in an environment where I make my own choices and do my own thing. I haven't felt hindered or worried to go to certain things for fear of what "people at home" would think, from clubs to socials to how much I work. 

A new area of growth for me was actually getting my job at the Welcome Center. I always thought of myself as pretty introverted, the kind that couldn't really hold a conversation with people for very long. However, guiding tours and working with such outgoing people sort of opened up this new side of me that loves talking with others and hanging out with friends and experiencing new things. I've made so many great friends through this job, too, and I feel like I've grown into the person I always wished I could be.

One new experience I've had while in Davis has been sitting in the Arboretum late at night with a friend. We listened to other students as they walked past, talked about our own lives, and then got stuck under the leafy awning near Mrak as it poured rain in the dark. In what seems like such a small moment, I'd never felt more excited and free. 

How do you feel UC Davis is preparing you for success?

UC Davis has some really great professors who are always happy to chat with you about academics and your goals and even just about life in general. I've just asked professors in the past how they got to where they are today and how I could pursue education after my bachelor's degree, and they are always happy to discuss. 

The school and so many clubs and organizations within it also host a bunch of workshops, fairs and guest lectures — it's through these that I have been able to feel supported and prepared for my future.

And with the amount of clubs and advisors and career workshops Davis has, there is always something for everyone to figure out what it is they want to do and how to make connections.

What do you hope/plan to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I plan to take a year off to work, pursue a Master of Library and Information Science, and then explore career options in education through libraries and museums in California.

What has surprised you about UC Davis?

Even though it's a large school, I always see people I know on campus and downtown, without fail, every time I go out. Everywhere you go, there's a familiar face. It makes the campus feel so much more homey and comfortable — I never feel alone.

What would you tell prospective students about UC Davis?

Come visit! It's really, really important to know that you are picking the right college to go to. If you've read up on Davis and it sounds like a place you'd love, you have to come see what it's all about and experience some of that in person.