For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jun 20 2017
by Jessica Vuong

The Ultimate Freshman Year Bucket List for the University of California, Davis

By Jessica Vuong - Jun 20 2017

The University of California, Davis is one of the largest UC campuses and is abundant with trees, bikes, friendly squirrels and amazing people. In between all the biking to and from class and studying for those endless exams, there are definitely a few things that every student attending UC Davis should check off of their bucket list at one point or another. UC Davis has so much to offer so here are some ideas to get your bucket list up and running!

1. Chill on the hammocks.

One of the most popular places to study, chill and catch up with friends is the The Quad, a large field of grass where major school fairs and events are held. About a dozen hammocks are put up here every day for students to chill, unwind and (of course) nap. In fact, the hammocks on The Quad are only a short walk away from the university's Mind Spa, a place where you can use massage chairs and decompress even further.


2. Visit the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is located on the edge of campus, near the Mondavi Center. This museum of modern art is filled with thought-provoking pieces created by innovative and modern day thinkers. This place is not only great because you can take super aesthetic Instagram pics, but it's also completely free to visit. Make a day out of this by browsing the museum and then seeing a show at the Mondavi Center across the street.

Jessica Vuong

3. Go see a show at the Mondavi Center.

Since we're already discussing the Mondavi Center area, why not go see a show there too? The Mondavi Center constantly has new performances lined up, ranging from musical to circus acts. As a bonus, freshman students get to see their first show at the Mondavi Center for free, with student ID confirmation when you order your tickets. If that doesn't encourage you to go see one of the many amazing performing arts acts, then I don't know what will!

Jessica Vuong

4. Take cute photos of the squirrels.

Being on a campus full of trees and grass, you're bound to run into not one, but several cute squirrels multiple times a day. Stop and take some cute photos of them (or with them, if you can!)

Jessica Vuong

5. Buy UC Davis merch at the Memorial Union Student Store.

Are you officially a UC Davis student if you aren't sporting a UCD sweatshirt or own some UCD branded items? Stop by the newly renovated Memorial Union Student Bookstore to browse through the endless UCD stuffed animals, clothing items, books and miscellaneous gadgets. If you're searching for a bargain, then be sure to drop by the store on the first Friday of every month (Aggie Pride Friday) for 25 percent off of UC Davis imprinted clothing.

Jessica Vuong

6. Get lost in the Death Star.

The Death Star, the gray, tall, intricate-looking building located at the edge of campus next to Downtown Davis, was given its nickname due to its reputation of being the most confusing building on campus. It is a five-story, maze-like building made out of concrete. Getting lost inside the Death Star might as well be a rite of passage, since most freshmen looking for classes located here are bound to get lost. This building is actually called the Social Sciences and Humanities Building and is less daunting in person, after you've been in and out of it several times. But don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself (and you might want to bring a friend!)

7. Go bowling and gaming at the Memorial Union.

The Memorial Union (MU) was recently renovated with brand new furniture, study lounges and a games area. That's right, you can now go enjoy some late night bowling or video gaming after a long day of lectures. Also in the games area, you can find board games and jumbo Jenga. It's like being a kid again!


8. Find Gunrock the Mustang and snap a photo with him.

The UC Davis mascot, Gunrock the Mustang, can be found on campus during large events such as Picnic Day or sporting events. Don't be shy and go take a photo with him to show off your Aggie pride!

Jessica Vuong

9. Take a stroll in the Arboretum.

Everyone needs to experience the peacefulness and beauty of the UC Davis Arboretum at least once. Students come here to exercise, study in peace or have cute picnic dates. While you're in "The Arb," see if you can find the two Locks of Love Bridges, where couples go to attach a lock to symbolize their love.

Wikimedia Commons

10. Attend the annual Picnic Day.

One of the biggest celebrations at UC Davis is our annual Picnic Day, a day full of fun, food and free swag for family, friends and the community. On Picnic Day, you'll find food trucks, great music, games and activities. Highlights each year are the Doxie Derby, where you can watch dogs race, cow milking, which is pretty self-explanatory and the UC Davis parade, which shows off all the wonderful things that makes Davis a close-knit community.

Wikimedia Commons

11. Touch the Bookhead for good luck before an exam.

These egghead sculptures are located sporadically around campus. Tradition has it that touching (or kissing) the Bookhead, located in front of Shields Library, means good luck on your upcoming exam. Next time you're in need of luck before an exam, try it out yourself.

Wikimedia Commons

12. Find things that you would only see in Davis.

There are some things that only UC Davis students will witness, one of them being this sign (pictured below). No joke, this sign was posted in several locations in Downtown Davis and the people who put this up were 100% serious.

Jessica Vuong

It didn't take long until my friends and I actually found the turkey downtown, standing in the middle of traffic. Luckily, it was in a good mood and wasn't aggressive!

Jessica Vuong

13. Explore downtown Davis.

You can't breathe in the Davis atmosphere without exploring downtown Davis and all that is waiting for you. It's only a short walk, bike ride or Unitrans bus ride away. Downtown, you will find endless restaurants, dessert and coffee places, and numerous small town stores that are gems you won't find anywhere else.

Jessica Vuong

To all the incoming UC Davis Aggies, welcome! Hopefully, this bucket list of ideas gave you some insight on all that you can do as a student here. With this list, grab some friends and explore UC Davis and all that it has to offer!

Lead Image Credit: Jessica Vuong

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Jessica Vuong - University of California, Davis

Jessica is currently attending UC Davis and majoring in Managerial Economics. She was vice-president of teensReach, a community service organization, and has competed in several SJPL art & design contests. She loves coffee, sarcasm, and rainy weather. Follow her on instagram: @jsscvng | pinterest: jessvjess | VSCO: jessvjess

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