Fred Xu, '17, admires the ocean in Santa Cruz, California.

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Fred Xu, ’17, enjoys UC Santa Cruz’s extracurriculars but not its old, dirty dorms


Fred Xu, ’17, admires the ocean in Santa Cruz.

Fred Xu, ‘17, attends University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He is planning to major in computer science.


Q: How was the transition to college?
A: It wasn’t that hard in general. The dorms were built for two people, (yet) they somehow crammed three into my dorm room.

Q: How do you like your roommates?
A: They are both nice. One of them (is) more of a party animal, so he usually isn’t in the room. The other studies a lot and likes to ride bikes.

Q: How is college different from SCDS?
A: It’s much bigger, so if you want to find friends, you have to walk a lot. But it’s easy to make friends in college – you can just walk up to random strangers and they will be nice and talk to you.

Q: How did Country Day prepare you for college?
A: Most of my classes in college I took during high school, so the transition to my new classes (wasn’t) that hard.

  For example, I’m taking Math 19b, which is equivalent to AP Calculus BC, so that helped a lot. I also took AP Computer Science, and the computer science class I’m taking now, Cmps 11, covers the stuff I already learned in AP (Computer Science).

Q: What classes are you taking?
A: I am taking four classes: a Computer Science class (Cmps 11), a math class (Math 19b), a creative writing class (Crwn 79) and an art class (3D Foundations).

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite classes?
A: My favorite class would be the math class because the professor is very nice, and he (explains things) further.

  My least favorite class would be the computer science class. I like computer science, but I don’t like the professor. She doesn’t really know how to teach, and the average (for) the last test was about 20 percent. So, yeah, it’s pretty bad.

Q: Are you set on your major?
A: (No.) I might major (in) Computer Gaming, which is like (a) combination of computer science and game design.

Q: Have you used the research programs at UCSC?
A: (Not yet.) It’s just the third week of school, but they are going to introduce us to research next Friday.

Q: How do you like your new classmates?
A: Technically we don’t have classmates because (classes are typically) very big lectures; a lot of students are there, and we don’t really know anybody. But I know some people from the discussion sessions, where we have a (teaching assistant) and talk about stuff (we) don’t understand and do homework.

Q: How do you like the new environment in general?
A: It’s a pretty good campus, but the dorms are really old buildings, and they are not very clean. The bathrooms have yellow stains on the floors, and it’s pretty gross. But other than the dorms, it’s pretty good.

Q: Have you made any freshman mistakes?
A: You are not allowed to drink, (but) I had a sip of beer.

Q: Do you participate in any community activities aside from school?
A: (I’m in) a sketch comedy club and a rock band.

Q: How do you like them?
A: They are both good.

  In the sketch comedy club we are just writing stories for now. There are 15 people in the club. Starting next week, we’re gonna start  casting (for a film), and we are going to find actors and (film) stuff. We write about politics (and)  college life.

  We just started the band. There are eight people in our band, and I’m the bass player.

  (But) we (still) need to find a singer.. We still need to get our instruments. We don’t have a name for our band yet. I think we are starting practice (on Oct. 28,) and we are (going to) have our first performance right after Thanksgiving.


Q: What is your band’s venue?

A: We are going to prepare four to five songs and perform in the Art Theatre.

Q: Are the people in your band experienced players?
A: We are not really experienced players; we played a few songs (in the band). But I guess we’ll just practice to get better.


Q: Are you friends with any of the people in your band?

A: No, I’ve only met them about two times, so I’m still just getting to know them.

Q: What advice would you give to the class of 2018 regarding college?
A: If you come here, don’t eat pizza from the cafeteria. They leave the cooked, cold pizza out on the counter for hours without any cover. And they just heat it to serve it, which is really nasty.

Five-Star or sub-par?

  • Food: ☆☆☆☆
  • School Spirit: ☆☆☆☆
  • Location: ☆☆☆
  • Clubs: ☆☆☆☆☆

—Ming Zhu

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