Cheeto - "You got this!"

8 Steps to Quarter System Success (and Balance)

The beginning of a new school year can be a whirlwind, and the quarter system guarantees things move fast. Before you know it, it’s midterms—not long after that, finals. If this is how it’s feeling, here are some tips to help you thrive and enjoy student life, avoid burnout and get in tune with the pace of the UC Davis academic quarter.

1. Make an effort to get involved

Despite the whirlwind of activity a new quarter brings, it can be even harder to add new things once you’ve established your routine. Browse the literally hundreds of clubs and student orgs you can join on the AggieLife portal, find paid and volunteer positions at ASUCD, consider becoming part of the Aggie Pack or look for campus jobs on Handshake. It might feel busy at first, but once your extracurriculars get incorporated into the rest of your life, you’ll be glad you made the effort so early in the quarter!

Draft Horse and Driving Club
Members of the UC Davis Draft Horse and Driving Club ride through the fog in a two-person cart.
(UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

2. Do something fun!

Maybe this means going to the movies, going on a local adventure or taking a class at the ARC. Maybe it’s hitting the beach or the mountains or the city one weekend. Go have an adventure with your friends and make some memories in your first month that aren’t just in class. This quarter, there are a bunch of trips, classes and clinics offered through Outdoor Adventures, and if you’ve always kind of wanted to try slacklining … you’re in luck! You can sign up for Slacklining @ the Rec Pool for a free, closer-to-campus adventure.

If you need inspiration, check out the Aggie Traditions bucket list (or make your own) so you’ll always have an answer for that ever-popular question, “so what do you wanna do tonight/this weekend/tomorrow?”

Students with stand-up paddleboard
(UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

3. Go see a show (for free!)

Concerts and performances are back at the Mondavi Center after 19 months of pandemic closure. Did you know that, as a UC Davis student, you get a free ticket to your first show? This year, the deal is even sweeter—the season opener, a performance by Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Fandango at the Wall, is also free for all Aggies. Browse other upcoming events and get some free entertainment this quarter at UC Davis’ world-class performing arts center!

Mondavi Center seating
Seating inside the Mondavi Center (UC Davis)

4. Party safely

Aggies are back on campus. Social gatherings and parties are starting to happen again. And while 98% of students are vaccinated (👏), some are going to be up for in-person social gatherings and others may not. Halloween is around the corner, and if you or any of your friends don’t feel comfortable showing up to that soirée, that’s totally fine! If you do plan on hosting or attending a social gathering, now is a great time to remind yourself (or find out) what being an Upstander means and check out the practical party tips and resources on the UC Davis Safe Party Initiative website. Be super sure to check out their dedicated guidance on staying safe (while partying) during the pandemic.  

5. Form good academic habits

Start the school year on a good note–with good notes! Bust out of the cycle of procrastination, get homework done early and get into good study habits now. You’ll thank yourself later! Tutoring is available for all students through the AATC, and don’t forget to visit an academic advisor to make sure you’re on track with your graduation goals. Start strong and you’ll be crushing it all quarter.

Student studying on the grass
(UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

6. Explore campus

There are endless places to discover on campus and finding special places on your own is half the fun. But if you need a place to start, try checking out the Salad Bowl Garden, visiting the Horse Barn by way of the Arboretum, meeting the campus cats or looking for new study spots (if you need somewhere quiet, remember that Shields isn’t the only library on campus!). 

Cheeto, the Physics cat
Cheeto greets visitors to his veranda at the Physics Building, circa 2020.
(UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

7. Take a rest day

So much goes on in the first month of fall quarter—don’t overdo it!  Maybe you don’t have a whole day, but if you’ve got a free afternoon or evening, put on some comfy clothes and read a book or watch a movie, don’t worry about work (you’ll probably have finished it already anyway, thanks to your great study habits!) and relax. Even if it’s just a couple hours between classes, check out the Nap Map for places to sleep on campus. Remember, you’ve done a lot this month! You’ve earned a break.

Student resting on a bench
(UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

8. Make health a priority

Make sure you’re taking care of yourself during this busy stretch of the quarter. Head to the gym or an exercise class at the ARC. Want inspiration for cooking at home? Try a recipe from the UC Davis Nutrition 10 Instagram and the Teaching Kitchen! Don’t forget to take care of your mental health using the many resources from Each Aggie Matters or the free counseling available to all students through Student Health and Counseling Services, and check out The Pantry for free meals, food and toiletries or Aggie Compass for other basic needs services. For tips and resources on navigating fears and anxieties related to the pandemic, check out this flyer on Mental Health and COVID-19.

Cruiser bike illustration


We’re excited to have our Aggie family back on campus this quarter! Be sure to follow on Instagram to hear about events and opportunities first and see your friends (or yourself) featured on our feed and stories!


About the authors

Sophia Meals, Editorial and Content Creation Assistant at Student Affairs Marketing and Communications, graduated from UC Davis in 2021 with her Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

Nathaniel Sellman, Content Specialist at Student Affairs Marketing and Communications, can be reached at

Primary Category