When I enrolled in UCR at the end of my senior year of high school, I was a little bit less than excited. I didn’t want to leave home in a city that I loved and leave behind friends and family. I was very nervous going into my freshman year that UCR wouldn’t be the right fit for me. Luckily, since then I have found so extraordinarily much to love about this beautiful campus. Here are my six top favorites of our beloved school.

The Scottish Theming:

I absolutely adore that everywhere I turn on campus, there is blue and yellow gold tartan. Whenever I tell people who are unfamiliar with UCR that our entire school is Scottish themed, they are flabbergasted. Even people who are pretty familiar with the university on paper are delighted to learn about why our mascot is named Scotty and why we are called the Highlanders. (Fun fact: did you know that our original mascot in 1958 was a Scottish Terrier named Lady MacTavish of Walpole? Her nickname to the students was Buttons; how cute!) Personally, I think it is hilarious for a school to have such an odd and wonderful theme that you can see permeate throughout the entire school.

The Orange Juice: 

I would lay my life down for the fresh orange juice squeezing machine in the Glasgow dining hall. And even though it’s expensive, the orange juice you can buy at Scotty’s is also phenomenal. If I also got to put in a drink request for my last meal, I would request a tall, cold glass of So-Cal’s finest beverage. I truly believe that it is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted in my life.

The Campus Events:

I would venture to say that UCR has the coolest on-campus events out of any of the UCs. Apart from the well-known quarterly concerts, there is always an event being put on. I never feel like I have to travel off-campus to keep myself entertained. The intimate shows at The Barn, spoken word poetry nights and Fall Nooners Bell Tower concerts series are always a favorite of mine. 

The Bell Tower: 

Speaking of the Bell Tower, how cool is it that every Friday there is a mini concert played by a professional carillonneur? And there’s even a longer concert every quarter, totally free to the public! The clock also helps notify me how late I’m running to class when I’m speed-walking by it on the way to the SSC.

The Small Campus Feel:

Something I didn’t consider heavily enough when considering what school I wanted to attend was how large the student population was on each campus. I was very pleasantly surprised my freshman year to find how close all my campus buildings were and that I could walk from the edge of my dorm in Aberdeen-Inverness to the other edge of campus in 30 minutes or less. As I have progressed in my college career, I have appreciated how tight-knit our campus community is. It’s rare that I walk to one of my classes without saying hello to someone I know. And even though our school feels cozier than other UCs, there is no lack of phenomenal research and a plethora of academic knowledge that are available to help students thrive professionally.

The So-Cal Weather: 

Truly, how can you complain about it being sunny in the fall and spring and only needing to wear one jacket in the winter. If it snowed or rained frequently in Riverside, I know that I personally would not be able to get myself to come to class. Props to all the students who have to brave actual winter weather on their campuses.

I am very proud to call this school and campus community my home. I hope that like me, you either already feel like UCR is a perfect fit for you or you find specific things that you love about our school.