In Retrospect, UCSD Merits Five-Star Rating

    Damn you, UCSD. You made me love you. I didn’t want to do it. You were sloppy seconds after UCLA decided it wanted someone smarter and better qualified – picky, unloving bastards.

    But you, you loved me right from the start. “”Congratulations, it’s the Big Envelope!”” said the acceptance letter you mailed to me. You even bumped me up to my first choice college after I begrudgingly accepted admission to the university. You gave and gave without asking for anything but money.

    But I didn’t love you back. I scrutinized your every move, your every institution, to find all your imperfections in front of the deified UCLA. I dedicated an entire opinion column last year to all the things on this campus which were broken. I complained about your housing, parking, nightlife, athletics and the mind-boggling complacency Sixth College has with its name.

    It didn’t help that I yearningly visited UCLA every year, grumbling as I was forced to watch others live my dreams. It was supposed to be me eating an ice-cream sandwich at Diddy Riese every weekend. It was supposed to be me painted in blue and gold cheering next to a man in a bear suit. It was supposed to be me in star-crossed love with a Trojan.

    For four years, I thought I would have been happier at UCLA. I dreamed of that which I could not have, and imagined that it must have been better than this school in every way.

    UCSD, you were never good enough for me. But now I realize I was wrong, and I’m sorry.

    Make no mistake; I still don’t love this university. I love its people. It’s all of you reading this column right now that make this school great. Never have I met people as warm and as welcoming as the students at UCSD. I’ve grown extraordinarily close to the scores of exceptional friends here. The idea of just walking away from them in two weeks tears me apart.

    I want to thank each and every one of my friends from the bottom of my heart, and being the sentimental type, I’ll probably do just that in the coming days. You all made me forget what I thought I’d lost. Now, I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.

    It’s too soon to tell if my time at UCSD meant something, if my presence changed anything for the better. But if the things I’ve learned can improve someone’s life here, then I can graduate a happy man.

    With that, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:

    • Go abroad. This could be the only chance you ever get, and I haven’t found a single person who regrets going.

    • World of Warcraft isn’t half as fun as a raid with your friends to Ralphs for more alcohol.

    • The RSOs have a thankless job, but they can still be very cool if you tell them the truth outright.

    • Get involved as much as you can. It’s hands down the best way to make lifelong friends here.

    • If you’re concerned about a friend or coworker who is abusing drugs, talk to him about it before you get the law involved.

    • UCSD has some unique job opportunities, with greater flexibility, experience and enjoyment than you’ll find anywhere else. Use them.

    • Get back-up plans. I got rejected as an orientation leader, then a resident adviser, then a graduation speaker. It’s hard not to take it personally, but I’d do it all over again.

    Lastly, I’d like to salute three of the most underappreciated groups at UCSD: the cleaning staff, the construction workers and the behind-the-scenes dining-hall chefs and dishwashers. Thank you for doing the dirty jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.

    In the coming years, university administrators will doubtlessly hit me up for money, hoping I attribute part of my outrageous success (God willing) to UCSD. And they’ll get it. But it’ll be on my terms.

    For example, I plan to study the exact cost of starting a UCSD football team, and I’ll donate precisely that amount on the condition that the money be used exclusively for that purpose. I’ll see to it that the wonderful people of UCSD finally get the great institutions they deserve.

    As I prepare to close this chapter of my life, I can’t help but notice that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve again received a rejection letter from UCLA, this time for law school. I’m disappointed, but now, from experience, I know that wherever I end up will be home.

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