College Tips from UCSC's Class of 2015

By Elise Giongco on June 16, 2015

When they say that your college experience will happen in the blink of an eye, they really mean it. Each year of your undergraduate career may have a different focus, maybe even a different group of friends, but no matter what you’re doing or how you’re doing it—that’ll be it. You can’t take anything back, you can’t try to recreate the moment, and there’s definitely no room for regrets (not even ragrets). So whether you’re in your second year of college, still in high school, or even if you’re already in your post-graduate career, here are a few words of wisdom from UC Santa Cruz’s graduating class of 2015 that could help you seize the day and really appreciate what you have been given.

“College is one of the last times where you can freely get out of your shell, so do something new everyday that makes you uncomfortable.” — Tyler Rider, Robotics Engineering major

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One of the great things about college is that you are able to try something new. That’s it. All you have to do is try it. If you don’t like it, you can drop it. You are given the chance to learn and grow from whatever you decide to do, but you’re never forced to stick with it. This goes for classes, meal plans, or even significant others!

“Don’t be afraid to explore opportunities, both in college and in life, you never know what will lead you to your next big success or accomplishment!” — Kaysi Wheeler, Cognitive Science major

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College is definitely a time to experiment. Take advantage of the opportunities your campus has to offer. Consider all of your options, and don’t settle on something because you think you have to. Everything you do, whether you consider it a “good” or “bad” experience will help you realize not only things about yourself but things about your future.

“Never be scared to be more a part of your new community. Join an on-campus organization or volunteer your time with a local nonprofit. You never know just where you’ll find your passion!” — Joanna Cortez, Politics & Latin American Legal Studies major

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Whether you are taking on a leadership role or hoping to become an “older sibling” for someone in the community, don’t feel limited to what you think you should be doing. Be a part of something you feel connected to and do something you truly want to be a part of. Having an extra-curricular activity will not only benefit you by helping you build experiences and develop skills for the future, but it can also help you network professionally and even casually.

“Never pass up an opportunity or seek out struggles. It’s knowing the difference that takes all the time and effort.” — Josh Knoll, Literature/Creative Writing major

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Every moment you are in college, you are presented with several choices. Sometimes it’s easier to join or do things without really thinking about the consequences, but after a while you’ll recognize what’s worth your time and what you should take a step back from. This doesn’t mean you should be overthinking anything or second-guessing something you’ve done though. Realizing what you should and should not take on won’t be easy, but don’t worry! You’ll have more than just four years to accomplish this.

“Go on adventures often and take tons of pictures.” — Michelle Fernando, Psychology major

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Don’t put off fulfilling your college bucket-list until your senior year. Explore the forests and caves on campus, hike to the Garden of Eden, and climb all the way to the top of the tree house! But when you’re doing it, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the view and everything going on around you. Sometimes it’s nice to have digital reminders of your experiences and memories, but don’t get too carried away with posting everything on social media!


“Keep your GPA up!” — Gerald Bonus, History major, Education minor

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College can seem like one giant party, and I know that “grades aren’t everything,” but you are taking this step into receiving higher education so it’d be a shame to not try and reach your full potential. “C’s get degrees,” but that doesn’t mean A’s aren’t worthwhile to get either. Don’t be afraid to seek out tutors, form study groups, or even speak to your professor. Building relationships with people and keeping conversations going will help you get a better sense of what your ideals and goals are and can even expand your options for your post-graduate career.

“Its okay to not be okay, [but] most of all, take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to feel like you have to talk to someone. It doesn’t mean you’re being a burden on them or wasting their time, they truly do care.”— Marisa Patel, Intensive Psychology major

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With all the new things that you’re trying and all of things you are barely getting along with, don’t forget to take a deep breath. It’s easy to get carried away in the busy and stressful moments in life, the homework assignments piling up, and the financial aspects you’re pushing aside, but they shouldn’t be used as an excuse to neglect yourself. Make sure you’re aware of your resources and outlets.

“Only you can define your happiness; your happiness is dynamic.” — Ellis Garcia, Economics major

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As cheesy as it sounds, college is a time for you to find yourself. It’s your time to grow comfortable in your skin. Don’t worry if what you enjoy doing now is different from what you enjoyed two years ago. You don’t have to try something new or stick to one thing. Just do what makes you happy, and the rest will come along.

Congratulations to the graduates of 2015, you really made this year count!

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(For more information about the Counseling and Psycholigical Services (CAPS) and to read more about Marisa’s advice visit

For more information on how to improve your happiness in any shape way or form and to learn more about Ellis and what he has to offer visit

By Elise Giongco

Uloop Writer
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, but I wish I could live in Disneyland. In addition to my love for writing (poetry is my favorite form), I also enjoy music, candy, baking, and cuddling! I am a firm believer in the power of affirmations and hope that my articles can somehow serve as one :).

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