The Roadrunner UC Davis Experience

Notes from a day of dialogue at one of California’s most iconic universities.
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, March 15 I made my way to UC Davis in search of nothing more than conversation. Positioned in one of California’s biggest universities, I saw an unmatched opportunity to meet new people and hear their stories. 

Doing this was challenging; it took me out of my comfort zone and caused many awkward moments.

Off the bat I quickly realized that catching someone’s attention long enough to ask them about their day and get a genuine response was going to be very difficult. A lot of people had airpods in, a lot of people were looking down at their phone and many just had a very strong resting bitch face.

But even with all the difficulties of interaction, interacting with each other is still is part of human nature, it’s a very human thing to want to know and to know, you need to communicate. For this reason, I went out on a journey to communicate and to know– to find out the stories of the people I talked to and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.

The first person I talked to was Jay. 

Jay, UC Davis

Jay is a New York native who is in California studying math at UC Davis. He was very shy and hesitant at first, but after a few minutes of conversation, he warmed up and became more open to the conversation.

When asked what his favorite phrase was, he said, “You live and you learn.” He explained, “I use that phrase often.”

I asked him what was something that mattered to him, and this is where he gave me an insight into who he is, “Good connections, good connections with people, this includes, family, friends, and all of the people I’ll meet in the future.”

Another person I talked to was Pat, a lovely old lady going for a walk around the campus.

UC Davis

The conversation with Pat mainly revolved around love and her relationship with her husband. 

Pat talked very fondly of her man, “We are still together after 80 years, and it’s still really fun.” She went on to explain, “He makes me laugh and drives me crazy.” 

When asked about the secret to a long-lasting relationship, Pat kept it very short, “The secret is deciding that it’s worth it and fighting for it.”

The topic of love remained relevant as I met Matt, a recently engaged math student.

Matt, UC Davis

Matt, who off the bat said he believed in love, had a really fascinating perspective on romance. 

When asked what love meant to him he explained, “There’s the sappy answer of saying love is finding the soul’s counterpart in another, that’s really cheesy though.”

He went on to say, “A more realistic response is that love is being able to find someone that the way you both experiences love together works, your highs are their highs and their lows are your lows.”

Hekim was one of the more interesting characters I talked to at UC Davis.

Hekim, UC Davis

Hakim is a rapper from Oakland who was on campus getting his music out and talking to people about their hustle. He was super open to conversation and as a fellow creator who is always trying to get his work out there, I really resonated with his story.

Hakim said the most important thing in his life was his son, and the most meaningful thing is wealth, explaining that “wealth has to do with time, and I think time is of the essence.” 

When asked why time was so important, Hakim said, “It’s what you can’t get back; being wealthy in relation to time is priceless.”

JJ Ford, like Hakim, was another rapper who was on campus hustling to get his music out into the hands of people.

Ford and Hakim were both united by the end goal of getting their art out there but both were driven by different things. While to Hakim his son was his inspiration to JJ it is his wife,  “I got a wife of 10 years, and it is something so special.” 

He said, “Love is something amazing. It is when two soul mates come together from different cultures and get to know the bad side and the good side of each other.”

When asked what love is about, he explained, “It’s about going through good times and bad times together,” adding, “if you go through the thick and the thin, then you can survive love.” 

JJ seemed very proud of his ten-year relationship, so I asked him what the secret was.  “The answer is very straightforward– communication.”

Von and Andrew were two friends sitting and having lunch before getting on their bus.

Andrew, UC Davis

I approached them and asked if they wanted to be interviewed for TheBCRoadrunner.  I don’t think I’ve met anyone as eager to engage as the two of them.

Andrew, a Sacramento native, said he knew Chico because of the school but had never met anyone from Chico.

When asked what he knew about the town, Andrew mentioned, “I heard there is a cool skate park there, and I have heard a lot about the parties.”

Von, UC Davis

The conversation with Von took a different path. Once we were past talking about Chico, and what The BC Roadrunner is, I asked a deeper question, I asked him if he loves somebody.

Von responded that he really loves is his mom. I went on to ask him what love meant to him, and his response was phenomenal– “It means caring for something or someone, like out of your own kindness, not because of what they give you.”

As my journey through the campus continued I met Avery and Stephane.

Avery, UC Davis

Avery is a native of Moor Park, California and is at UC Davis studying econ. Stephane is from LA county.

Both girls were really friendly and made for great conversation. I asked Avery what was something that mattered to her, and she said friends, “Friends help you become a better person.”

Avery explained that her favorite word is Christmas because “that word makes a lot of people happy.”


Manetti Shrem Museum of art, UC Davis


As my day continued I found myself in conversation with Wyatt, a very friendly kid who was hanging out with Avery and Stephane. 

Wes, UC Davis

Wyatt was very outgoing and open to take on the hard questions. He said he is a suitor looking for love. 

I proceeded to ask him what love meant to him, and he responded, “I would say love is going out of your way to do something nice to someone; when I say do something, it can be emotional, physical, or even spiritual.”

When asked if he feels loved, he said, “Yes, sometimes I feel really loved by my friends.”

As I was taking a rest from talking to people I met Even.

UC Davis

Even is an economics student at UC Davis. We started talking while I was sitting on a bench, and he was unlocking his bike. He was a little skeptical at first but warmed up as the conversation went on.

He is from Southern California and enjoys going to Davis. Far from an ordinary student, he doesn’t have social media or anything like that.

When asked what is something that matters to him, he stated, “I enjoy enjoying everything day by day, doing what I love.” He then went on to talk about his values and said his favorite word is loyalty. “Loyalty, its something you can’t buy; it has no price tag.”

As I made my way back to my car, I ran into Tom, who was studying at the arboretum.

Tom, UC Davis

The conversation with Tom stayed on a very relevant topic–newspapers. When asked his thoughts on modern-day newspapers, he said, “I don’t read them very often. It’s cool to keep them going though. It’s a good way to stay in touch with the local community.”

Tom said he doesn’t have a favorite newspaper. He explained, “I don’t really keep up with the news,” but when asked if there are any sources he doesn’t trust, he responded, “ I don’t trust Fox.”

As a journalist, all feedback is good feedback so I asked Tom what can journalism do better. “What journalism can do better is covering less mainstream topics. I like it when I see random stuff that isn’t about war. I want to see more positive stuff.”

Reflections on a day of dialogue. 

As my day at UC Davis came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment from the conversations I had. What kicked off as a straightforward mission to interact and get quotes from people transformed into an enriching experience where I got to meet some remarkable individuals.

In today’s world, where we are so connected through technology, it’s ironic how disconnected we can become from each other. This adventure at UC Davis served as a reminder of the unparalleled value of face-to-face conversations.

As amazing as doom scrolling can be, some experiences are genuinely irreplaceable.

The warmth of a human voice, the contagious nature of shared laughter, and even those slightly awkward pauses during a deep conversation—these are the moments that truly resonate.

So, the next time you find yourself glued to your screen, remember: the world around you is full of stories, lessons, and connections waiting to be discovered. Take a chance and step out of your comfort zone ;strike up a conversation and see where it leads.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
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    AdrianaApr 1, 2024 at 5:03 pm

    What a beautiful article. The world is full of beautiful stories, happy and sad, exposing the array and complexity of the most diverse and outstanding creation called: Human Beings. I love that you, a young man took the time to engage and risk rejection but went foward and gained a most delightful piece for your paper. Keep it going!