Sophomore Aaron Mak sits in his seventh period World Civilization class and contemplates his first impression of Davis. Hand on chin, he thinks back to this summer when he first arrived in Davis. A minute passes—still no response. Finally, he nods his head and in a monotone voice states, “my first impression? Farms.”
Mak, along with other new DHS Students, perceive Davis differently than the average DHS student who’s lived in Davis their whole life.
Mak moved to Davis this year from bustling Los Angeles. As to his first impression, he is not alone.
Newcomer Eileen Han also moved to Davis this year from Michigan.
“I was surprised at how many farms there were,” she said. “That definitely was not how I envisioned Davis. I thought it would be a small college town without any farms.”
Off of Highway 113, bordering North Star and the North Davis Farms community, there is a string of farms and fields that lead newcomers such as Han, who live in the area, to believe that Davis is full of farms.
Another common first impression of Davis is a bike-crazy town. “Davis is a lot more bike-friendly than anywhere else I’ve been.” Han said. At Han’s old school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they didn’t have any bike racks because people primarily drove to school. Mak agrees that he is not used to all the bikes.
Sophomore Theresa Ahn who moved to Davis from Korea when she was six recalled that one of the first things she noticed about Davis, even at a young age, was the vast amount of bikers downtown. To Ahn, Davis’ bike-friendly community is a plus.
To any newcomer, Davis’ large homes, various duck ponds and quaint cul-de-sacs may leave the impression that Davis is a complete safe haven from crime and bad influences.
“I love Davis because it’s very safe,” Ahn said.
Manya Naranzogt recently moved back to Davis after moving to Mongolia for a year. “I like Davis because it’s a lot safer and more stable than Mongolia, and I can’t imagine anything bad happening here,” Naranzogt said.
Although Davis does have a relatively low crime rate, in 2010 $456,424 worth of property was stolen according to the Davis Police Department.
Sophomore Yoojin Shin moved to Davis from Korea five years ago. She describes her first impression as “a little, quiet town with lot’s of trees and bikers”.
“When I think of Davis, I think of bikes, nice houses and somehow, chill, indie music,” Shin said.
For newcomers, Davis can be imagined as a four-acre plot of land in Farmville, fenced-in by a white picket fence and strewn with bike lanes.
Students like Ahn and Shin who have lived in Davis for a while have come to appreciate it as more than a Farmville fantasy. Ahn has even found her first impressions to be humorous.
“Looking back, my first impression of Davis was kind of silly. Come on, bikes, bikes, bikes—really?”