Skip to content

Life at UC San Diego – from the Dublin Shield to the UCSD Guardian

December 20, 2012

by Lauren Koa (Dublin High School Class of 2012 and University of California, San Diego freshman)

Tatum Wheeler and me (right)

Tatum Wheeler and me (right)

When I was accepted into the University of California, San Diego, I was overwhelmed with excitement, joy and so much relief. UCSD had been one of my top schools of choice and at that moment I was feeling so blessed and so relieved that I had actually gotten in. When the other letters, acceptances and rejections came in, I thought that the choice would become obvious and that I would know exactly where I’d be going.

But for anyone who knows my personality and way of making choices, I had no clue. I struggled because I liked UCSD, but didn’t exactly “fall in love with the campus” during previous visits like some of my peers and graduates had at their choices of schools. Being extremely involved and social in high school, I was afraid of the school’s daunting reputation of being the “University of California, Socially Dead.” However, what I did know was that the Communication program at UCSD has what I was looking for in curriculum and internship opportunities. So when I submitted my SIR (Statement of Intent to Register) to UCSD, I crossed my fingers with worry, but high hopes that I would be making the right choice.

Now, with my first quarter down as a Triton, I can honestly say that I’m so thankful and glad that I chose to go to UCSD. I’m officially settled in and I love going here.

Our campus can seem pretty intimidating, large and spread out for anyone visiting, but as a student, you quickly get used to where things are. I spent the first week of school using the map on our UCSD smartphone application to avoid getting lost, but now I feel like I know the entire campus like the back of my hand.

UCSD Eleanor Roosevelt College

There are six colleges within UCSD, each with a different theme, set of dorms, and emphasis in general education requirements. But what makes their system different than most universities is that students of all kinds of majors can be in the same college. I’m a Communication major under the Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC), which has a general education centered on a theme of global citizenship. What I love about my college (other than having the very best and most beautiful dorms on campus!) is that because of my AP credit from Dublin High School and choice of major, I passed out of taking any math classes for good! I will also be considered as “2nd year standing” as of next quarter because I was awarded 36 units of college credit from my scores on AP exams.

This quarter I took four classes: Making of the Modern World, Introduction to Communication, Introduction to Cognitive Science and Great Performances on Film: Race and Gender. I really, really enjoy the fact that I was able to choose and take a bunch of classes that I’m genuinely interested in. My classes all complemented one another so well and I feel extremely confident that I’m getting a great education for my major here at UCSD.

I’ve realized that Dublin High has prepared me extremely well for success in those classes. I’m not saying that college isn’t challenging, because it is and it’s different. But, I’ve felt generally well prepared because of the AP classes I took in high school. I actually get really excited when my professors expand on topics that I was already taught at Dublin High, because in my head I get to say, “Ha! I already knew that!”

One of the things I worried about when choosing UCSD was that it would be socially dead and boring. I was afraid that I would be stuck in a place where everyone just wanted to study and that there would be nothing to do. But, I quickly found that I worried for no reason. Our class was welcomed with UCSD’s annual tradition of the UnOlympics, Meet the Beach, and a bunch of other week long activities during Week 0 and Week 1. We also have Price Center, which features a small movie theater, a beauty salon, the bookstore, and lots of familiar restaurants like Subway, Jamba Juice, Burger King, and Tapioca Express. And as a UCSD student, I have access to two gyms on campus and complimentary shuttles to different shopping centers in La Jolla and San Diego, like the Westfield UTC mall and La Jolla Village Square.

UCSD The Guardian First Published Article by Lauren Koa

I also decided to get involved in college by joining a few clubs. In high school, I loved being involved in Leadership, playing Lacrosse and writing for and being part of The Dublin Shield. Not everything in college has changed, as I’m still involved in Journalism at UCSD. After spending the quarter as a Contributing Writer, I was recently promoted to a Staff Writer for the Opinion section of UCSD’s newspaper, The Guardian. We have meetings every week, quick deadlines, and a brief turn around time for a bi-weekly publication; so it all really feels like a professional paper.

Getting used to living here at UCSD was tough at first, though I had it easier than most people since I had a little DHS community with me. I live in a triple with two other girls, in a suite with of a total of 14 girls. Initially, it was hard to adjust to living with thirteen other people, but it has gotten so much easier now that we’ve all broken the ice. I’ve gotten really close to many of the girls I live with. We have a lot of fun together, going out in La Jolla, watching movies and eating really bad, unhealthy food late at night (you know the typical college life!). Luckily for me, my older sister (Dublin High School graduate of the Class of ’10) and several other close DHS alums also attend UCSD. And my sister, having a car, often takes me to Von’s (what they call “Safeway” down here) for groceries and feeds me healthy dinners!

Sometimes I still miss home, family and Dublin High. I didn’t really realize how much Dublin feels like home until I had left and come back for the weekend earlier in November.

I tried to think of the most important things I could advise anyone planning to go to UCSD or any college in general, and I’ve narrowed it down to these few. I really think it’s important to make the most out of every opportunity at Dublin High. I’m so confident that all the AP classes and activities I participated in at Dublin High have made all the difference at preparing me for college in one way or another. I would also really stress how important it is to have an open mind when it comes to choosing a school. Take it from someone who didn’t fall in love at first visit. Sometimes it just takes time. And now I really love UCSD and glad I made the decision to go here.

My final piece of advice for anyone planning to go to UCSD is to bring extremely comfortable walking shoes. They seriously make all the difference. Don’t under-estimate those hills or the walk!

If any of my fellow Gaels are interested in UCSD, need a tour guide or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via Facebook or at I’d sincerely love to be of any help!

University of California San Diego Dorm Room Drop Off

My family dropping me off at my dorm! If look up top, my mom nicely made my bed! (My older sister is pretending to be our family dog, Ventus.)

Dublin High School Dublin Shield Student Journalists

I really loved taking Journalism and writing for the Dublin Shield during my time at DHS. This was our staff photo last year.

At the Dublin High School 2012 Senior Awards Night Lauren was recognized several times including the Dublin Lions Club Student of the Month (December), the GAEL Achievement Award for Journalism, was named a California Scholarship Federation Life Member, was awarded the President’s Gold Award for Educational Excellence and earned Dublin High School’s Advanced Scholar Diploma. Lauren was also the Dublin High School ASB Secretary and Dublin Shield Editor-in-Chief.

Other articles in the Life in College series: