Four-star student dorms at UCSD and a learning experience

SAN DIEGO – We flew from Phoenix to San Diego for the second leg of our “excellent adventure” this summer. The flight was packed. No surprise there. I often go to San Diego for the Del Mar horse races and notice lots of Arizona people escaping the heat at the beach or a hotel swimming pool.

This summer, we’re in San Diego because our son was accepted to a two-week Summer Medical Academy, hosted by Rady’s Children Hospital and the UCSD School of Medicine. I think he’s the first from our neck of the woods, but the administrators liked his application and essays. He will join a group about 30 other high-school students from throughout the state, a good experience.

“Our signature program, the Summer Medical Academy (SMA) is an educational summer program that provides high school age students with unique and exciting opportunities to explore the world of medical training and practice,” according to the program. “The program utilizes a mixture of lectures /interactive discussions, hands-on skills clinics, group projects, career panels, and team building/networking.”

This is a full day, five-day-a-week program with a syllabus filled with first-class learning experiences. My wife and I brought our laptops and we’re telecommuting from our apartment.

We are staying at The Village at Torrey Pines, an on-campus housing complex for UCSD students. It’s convenient, and we wanted our son to have a “college-like experience.”

But it was not the teachable moment I’d been hoping for in terms of “roughing it.”

This is four-star apartment, not a modest dorm like the one I stayed at when I was a freshman at Cal in 1978. Unlike our small room with two twin beds and facing desks at Priestley Hall at Cal, this is a fully equipped apartment for just $140 a night.

It has a full kitchen, dining area, two full baths, three bedrooms, flat-screen TV, high-speed internet access and other amenities. Some of the apartments have ocean views. No dishwasher, though. It is in a prime location. We can walk to an on-campus market, restaurant, swimming pool and more.

It’s obvious why UCSD is so popular with students, including a growing number from our neck of the woods. It sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and it is a popular campus for STEM students like our son. Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder of Qualcomm, a leading high-tech firm in San Diego, has been a generous donor to the engineering school. It is named after him.

I’m coming home later this week to coordinate the distribution of our magazine with our Sacramento and Reno distributors. I wish I could stay longer.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Four-star student dorms at UCSD and a learning experience”

  1. Our son has completely flourished at UCSD. As a teacher, I hear many stories from former students about their Universities. For the most part, on average, I’d say 90% love where they go; 10% hate it.

    I’ve never heard a single statement of “ill-will” to UCSD. Having graduated from a UC and speaking with other parents, along with our own experiences, UCSD is over the top, student driven. The support is amazing.

    1. Chris,
      What you point to is interesting: what I’d call the second wave of the UCs. World-renowned Cal and UCLA go back to 1850 and 1920, respectively. UCSD was founded in 1960 (established after WWII in what is being called a “golden age of education” characterized by rapid investment in research and “unbound by tradition”), and it has won the hearts of students (the location on the ocean) and minds of employers/ academics, where its research is world class. And with donors like billionaire Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm (a 21st century high tech firm) it is well endowed. The school is also helping to reshape the culture of San Diego, once known as a “surfer dude” place but not for bookish people.

      1. You are completely correct. However, keep in mind, UC Davis is the second UC starting out as a field station for Berkeley. UCSD is #1 for Biological Sciences and they have Scripps Institute for Ocean/Marine Biology. My son is studying Cognitive Science/Mathematics and it’s # 2 to Johns Hopkins, currently.

        As mentioned, it is uncharacteristic to hear such praise, including alumni, local Pediatrician Dr. Michael Curtis.

        I would recommend serious consideration. Although, I expect your son will have many options.

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