Cruising Into Your First Quarter at UC Davis

Orientation student leaders do a practice tour of campus, stopping with the Egg Head outside Mrak Hall, before Orientation Day
Gregory Urquiaga/ UC Davis

Quick Summary

  • Learn all about the new student resources available at UC Davis. Find out more about orientation and the different resource centers available on campus.

The bicycle perfectly represents what UC Davis is all about—it is both light-hearted and practical; straightforward in design, yet impressive in its efficiency. When you think of it, multiple disciplines and connections come to mind: environmentalism, engineering, innovation, culture.

As you prepare for your first quarter on campus, you might not feel like you’re coasting along the scenic pathways surrounding the Memorial Union. Instead you might feel like you’re caught in a crowded bike circle, unable to get out as other bikers zoom past you and block your exit, round after round.

If this feeling of apprehension (or absolute terror) sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. As a recent UC Davis graduate who now works at the Orientation office, I’ve heard countless other students express similar sentiments. That’s why I’m here to help (as long as it’s not with bike problems—you’ll have to visit the Bike Barn for that). Just like the rest of our campus’s faculty and staff, I believe in your success and want to make sure you’re aware of all the resources and opportunities available for you. There are a lot of them, so buckle up!

New Student Orientation

You know how I said that I work at the Orientation office? Well, big surprise: I want you to attend Aggie Orientation

I know, I know. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes, imagining that you’ll have to do trust falls with strangers or some other awkward icebreaker. You’re in luck, though, because we’ve worked very hard to make sure our program is so much more than that.

We’ve developed Aggie Orientation from student feedback and student involvement, and as a result, it covers a lot of bases. Are you feeling anxious about finding your classes? Don’t be! Our events are hosted all around campus to make sure you’re seeing a little bit of everything, and your orientation leader will also give you a more proper tour. 

Or maybe you want to focus more on how you’ll meet new people? Perfect. We’re hosting numerous social events, including a football game, a rally, and even time to explore downtown Davis with your group. And if you’re looking to make some more career-related connections, look no further than Davisfest, our resource fair that will allow you to meet with on-campus departments who are offering internship and employment opportunities.

If you’re a transfer student, be sure to attend. While orientation programs are viewed as only for  freshmen who live in the residence halls, ours is different. We group transfer students with other transfer students, and we make sure they are led by an orientation leader trained to work with transfer students. We will even have multiple events that are exclusively for you, so you can bond with others over your shared experiences and unique perspectives.

Top resources for your first quarter

While I would love to say that our Aggie Orientation program is so mind-blowingly amazing that you won’t have any more questions or concerns as you go into fall quarter, I know that may not be the case. Thankfully, you have countless other avenues for getting involved in whatever way appeals to you the most.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for yet, be sure to start with Fall Welcome. Campus-run events like this help students—incoming or not—ease into the quarter, and they will provide you with the chance to connect with various on-campus groups.

Between our Greek life, intramural sports teams, and 800+ student-led clubs, you’re bound to find something that interests you. You can also explore our resource centers:

All these centers are available to you, whether you’re seeking career or research openings, help finding mental health or other resources, or even just a nice place to study. Speaking of which…

Tutoring and Academic Advising for a Successful Start

It’s no secret: the quarter system moves fast. If you find the stress of midterms or final projects getting to you, don’t hesitate to use what’s available to you.

If you’re living in the residence halls, hit up the Residential Academic Centers in your living area. If you’re living in The Green, you can visit your floor’s study room for a quiet place to focus. And no matter where you are, you can always rely on the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers for course help. Remember: these resources are designed for you. There’s no shame in using them.

The university also recognizes that academic challenges might be about more than just understanding what your professor is teaching. Personal, social, and cultural aspects can affect your learning, too. That’s when those resource centers I mentioned can come back into play. Go get coffee with fellow international students to unwind. Meet other first-generation students through the Center for the Educational Opportunity Program’s many academic and social support programs. You can always reach out and get the support you need to succeed, both in and out of the classroom.

Navigating first-year stress and maintaining good mental health

Still feeling overwhelmed? You’re not the only one. But just remember: you can always ask for help. Everyone on campus—from the students to the faculty and staff, and maybe even the squirrels—strives to recognize the needs of our students and provide the appropriate resources. 

Navigating these various contacts and possibilities can be stressful in its own way. However, if you are ever feeling lost on who to go to, you can always get in touch with the Orientation office. We are more than happy to support you during this exciting and/or terrifying life transition to university life. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we believe in you, and we will support you in whatever way we can.

Unless you’re looking for help with your bike, that is. Please don’t contact me about that.



Gabriel Bellue is a recent UC Davis graduate who gained his B.A. in English, with a minor in Professional Writing. He now works full-time at the UC Davis Orientation office, answering questions for incoming students and preparing for September’s Aggie Orientation program. In his free time, he loves to read, try new coffee places, and struggle to keep his plants alive.


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