Welcome Baby Bruins

rebecka post 1On April 11th UCLA hosted the 5th annual Bruin Day to greet approximately 14,000 parents, guests, and the newly admitted class of 2019. I was lucky enough to work in the Statement of Intent to Register lounge where 246 students decided to submit their acceptance to UCLA and join the Bruin family. During this time there was so much happening, from staff doing the 8-clap loudly and proudly (approximately 246 times) for every student who accepted their offer to UCLA to families tearfully hugging in commemoration of their child’s big decision. Immediately afterwards families and friends were ecstatic to celebrate the big decision by ringing the victory bell which is given to the winner of our annual rivalry UCLA vs. USC football game. I would also like to note that this is our third year that our baby bruins have had the opportunity to ring this iconic bell.

Being a fourth year and witnessing this process for the fifth time (including my own Bruin Day), it never gets dull. Each year the UCLA staff does their best to make Bruin Day bigger and better for the baby bruins, families, and guests. “We made the Statement of Intent to Register process more than just a mundane task of filling out forms,” said John Talbert, UCLA’s Undergraduate Admission Programmer Analyst Supervisor. “We made it into a memorable and special experience and I am sure the new bruins will remember it for the rest of their lives.”

Go Bruins, and congratulations to our newly admitted students!

UCLA Nursing

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Though I am part of one of our school’s smallest undergraduate majors, I like to think that the students of UCLA School of Nursing have the biggest hearts. I am currently in my third year in the program and am absolutely loving it! Are you also interested in nursing? Here’s some advice and information about the program taken from my experiences:

Getting in: We accept freshman admits as well as junior-level transfers so if you are thinking about changing your major once you get into UCLA to nursing, unfortunately that cannot be done. The school accepts about 40 new freshman per year and 10 transfer students so this is a competitive program but don’t let that discourage you! I would advise to get involved in hospital/health related volunteering and maintain a strong academic record. Make sure to apply to both the general UCLA application due November 30 as well as complete the supplemental School of Nursing application due sometime in mid-January. The supplemental application includes 2 letters of recommendation and a 2-page personal statement.

Congrats, you’re in! The first two years of study focuses on general prerequisites such as life sciences, math, chemistry, psychology, and communications classes. You will still take at least 1-2 lower-division nursing classes each quarter though! You last two years are more focused on clinical work. You will take 2-3 upper-division nursing classes as well as have a clinical rotation requirement per quarter. You will get to work 6-hour shifts initially and gradually work your way up to several 12-hour shifts per week at some of the top hospitals in the Los Angeles area (UCLA Ronald Reagan, UCLA Santa Monica, Cedars Sinai, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Kaiser, etc.). Your rotations include medical surgical, critical care, pediatrics, labor and delivery, public health, among others.

The BS in Nursing program is an amazing, hands-on experience that is truly unlike any other major here at UCLA. It is the most rewarding and enriching experience being able to directly influence the lives of patients and be the future of healthcare :)

Can I Get A Side Of Research?

Studying in Powell Library

One of the many things that I love about UCLA—strike that, there’s everything to like about UCLA—is that students have the ability to literally put education into their own hands by taking up research positions regardless if it pertains to one’s major, and there are initiated student courses where current undergrads can facilitate a class. I took up a research position at the North Campus Student Research Program (SRP) during my first quarter at UCLA.

Being that one of my main reasons for transferring was to research in Sociology, which is quite untraditional as research is normally correlated to science, I wasn’t able to find it in most other institutions and I was inspired to pursue it at UCLA. So, as soon as I got accepted, I upheld my personal promise to find research and looked no further than the opportunities of the SRP. Although I was quite intimidated jumping into this right away, I was pleasantly surprised how accessible it is for students to not only find research but also find research in the social sciences.

I settled with Professor Walker’s sociological and economical effects of food trucks. I know what you’re thinking, am I eating food all day or what? I was shocked myself! Professors are so passionate about eclectic subjects and it’s so inspiring to be given the chance to network as well as study beside them in their research. Basically, this research is much more than the curb-side food joint as I am involved with a team of four undergraduates—who are currently studying various subjects from political science to biology, meaning that the constraints of majors are irrelevant in research curiosity—that code the menus of food trucks across three United States’ cities: Los Angeles, D.C., and Chicago.

To code these menus, we start with their Twitter handles (@name) to locate Google images, Twitter images, and Web images (in regards to their website) of their menus. By looking at their menus, we get a feel of what cuisine is on their menus and are able to code them by Yelp categories (e.g. Mediterranean, Japanese, Asian Fusion, etc.) to see how the relation of their prices and cuisine type are affected by the food truck legislation of that particular city.

But please note that this research didn’t come with a warning that I’d be staring at food all day, which makes me starving at the end of the 8-10 hour commitment per week. Despite that minor repercussion, I love every bit of researching. I have been working with Professor Walker for about two quarters now, and I hope to continue until the end of this academic school year to see how and where this research will ultimately lead!

A Cappella and Dim Sum

RV firecracker run

Random Voices has been one of the most formative components of my experience here at UCLA. Founded in 1999, Random Voices A Cappella is UCLA’s oldest all-female a cappella group. I auditioned for RV during the first week of fall quarter my freshman year. I was immediately blown away by the talent, sass, and incredible kindness of every single girl who I met, all of whom I am now able to call some of my best friends!

In addition to hosting our very own concerts, RV participates in numerous events, gigs, and performances not only at UCLA but throughout the greater Los Angeles community. Awhile back, RV performed at the annual Los Angeles Firecracker Festival, an event surrounding a 5K run that happens in Chinatown every Spring. We all woke up at 6 in the morning, drove East to perform the 7:30 AM National Anthem, sang our complete musical set, and were able to stroll into our favorite Dim Sum restaurant before 9:00 AM. It was an early, hilarious whirlwind of runners, firecrackers, and music. When I made it back to Westwood at 10:30 that morning, both my roommates were still sleeping—go figure!

These awesome LA experiences would not be available to me without my a cappella community. Getting to be a part of RV has been one of the best things that has happened to me at UCLA, and I am so thankful for the creative outlet, fun, and family that RV provides me.

Finals Survival Guide: Winter 2015

powellIt’s that time of the quarter again for UCLA students: finals. Before you run and hide in your dorm room, binging on Bruin Cafe whilst watching the new 3rd season of House of Cards.. again, keep these tips and tricks of the trade in mind so you can go from intimidated and hopeless to confident and knowledgeable! Whether you have 50+ pages of reading left, a 6-8 page essay, or just a classic free-response final, you have no need to fret as long as you tackle finals week with preparation:

1. Form a study group

Sometimes, sticking your head in a book for hours on end with a cup of hot caffeine as your closest friend is not the call (and by sometimes, I mean most times). By forming a study group with fellow peers in class, you will catch information you didn’t absorb the first time around in lecture and also re-emphasize important topics in class. Verbally discussing concepts is much more effective in long-term memory and will enhance your performance on your finals.

2. Time management is key

Scenario A: It’s Sunday. Your 6 page paper (mostly written.. ish) is due tonight, your organic chemistry final is Tuesday at 8 AM, you have work tomorrow from noon to 4, it’s your best friend’s birthday on Wednesday and you promised you would go to all-you-can-eat sushi, and your Poli-Sci final is on Thursday and you haven’t even started reviewing! Stop, breathe, relax. Open your agenda (if you don’t have one, then go get one! Or make Google calendar your new best friend) and assign time slots to everything on your to-do list. Make sure to base this on priority and deadline. For example, edit your paper now so you have time to practice O-chem tonight as well!

3. Take care of yourself

If you can’t remember exactly when you took your last shower, then something needs a little tweak in your finals lifestyle. While it can be easy to forget the fundamentals (showering, brushing your teeth, eating healthy), be motivated by how much better you feel – and hence, how much better you study and perform – when you truly take care of yourself. A wise friend once told me, “look good, feel good,” which means to say that you will be more confident in your studies and finals endeavors when you take the time to maintain proper hygiene, eat healthy, and exercise to manage stress.

 

Happy finals and have a great spring break!

Keeping It ‘K’

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I’m a recent UCLA transfer student from UC Santa Cruz. Amongst the forest and mountainous climate, UC Santa Cruz isn’t as different as UCLA due to their equal pride in community service. At UC Santa Cruz, I along with a group of undergraduate students began the first chapter of Camp Kesem at UC Santa Cruz last year. Camp Kesem is a national non-profit organization that strives to bring a community of children that have been affected by a parent’s cancer together for a week-long summer camp of shared realities and empathy. Working a year to not only raise, but exceed $30,000 (our fundraising goal) as well as meet thirty amazing campers ranging from 6-16 years old is not only humbling but motivating to continue working with this group of dedicated individuals.

Upon arriving at UCLA, I knew that I wanted to get involved with Camp Kesem UCLA because of my amazing summer meeting, working, and loving this community. While I was a member of Camp Kesem UC Santa Cruz, I learned that in the light of despair, disease, and death, hope can still be found with the physical presence of loving friends, family, and community. Therefore, this inspiring mantra has motivated me to find every outlet possible to be involved with Camp Kesem UCLA.

After stalking their Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/campkesemucla), I was invited to UCLA’s Camp Kesem Reunion (once a quarter events for the campers and counselors to catch up), and I found the UCLA community  to be just as magical as my own time at Camp Kesem UC Santa Cruz. For instance, a little girl named Lady Bug reminded me of the initial shyness we all feel when we meet new people, but after bonding about dogs and cookies she ended up introducing me to other counselors and campers! It’s amazing how the bond from one camp to another doesn’t change—they’re still Keeping It ‘K’!

After reunion, I excitedly finished my application to become a UCLA Camp Kesem counselor. After an initial interview, I got a call from Snickefritz, a student coordinator on Camp Kesem UCLA’s committee, congratulating me on becoming a Camp Kesem UCLA counselor! We have already had a few meetings, and I am excited to continue my involvement in this fantastic organization here at UCLA.

Another Openin’, Another Show!

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Bruins Care 2015 was an amazing experience. As someone who is not a theater major, but who has grown up performing, I have been eager to pursue extracurricular theater here at UCLA ever since I arrived as a student.

A few good friends spoke highly of Act III Theater Ensemble, so I checked it out this year and auditioned for Bruins Care. Act III Theater Ensemble is a completely student produced, directed, designed, and cast theater company that is open to all students at UCLA. Every year, one of the shows that they produce is called Bruins Care. Bruins Care is a musical theater revue that draws from students from all grades to perform song and dance numbers from a variety of musicals. Admission for the show is donation-based, and all proceeds go towards Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; an awesome New York-based organization dedicated to providing essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. This is a national organization that draws upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theater community, of which UCLA students are proudly a part of!

So not only was I able to participate in an awesome theater production and meet some crazy talented students, but I was able to do so for an amazing cause. We were also able to perform in UCLA’s brand new Northwest Auditorium on the Hill in front of 300 people each night! I missed musical theater so much, and I’m so thankful that UCLA provides me with opportunities like this outside of the realm of academics.

IASA: Cool Club on Campus!

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This week I’d like to highlight one of the awesome clubs we have on campus here at UCLA. The club is called the International Affairs Student Association, run by students from diverse majors and backgrounds including Sociology, Political Science, Global Studies and many more. The clubs mission statement is as follows:

“We seek to grow and learn from each other by providing a space in which students can freely discuss international issues with their peers outside of the classroom. We cover various subjects every week in our current events section and presentation section that seek to provide our members with more information on topics that they may not be familiar with yet.”

Founded in Fall 2013, the club has put on many interesting and informative events on and off campus for students to attend! For example, most recently, IASA curated an event to discuss the current events taking place in Ayotzinapa, Mexico and Mexico’s political state in general. IASA invited UCLA History professor Maria Vazquez to come and speak to students about the missing students in Ayotzinapa and how Mexico’s political structure and apparent corruption is being influenced by the United States. She highlighted the negative influences of the drug cartels and how the US drug market has been affecting Mexico. The students were able to openly discuss this issue in a question and answer session after the event.

It’s great to recognize the intellect and political awareness of students at UCLA! We are a university that values open discussion and freedom of thought. Everyone has a voice at UCLA that is both appreciated and challenged in and outside of the classroom.

UCLA Chamber Ensemble

UCLA Gluck Jazz Combo: Julian Le

Copyright 2011 Pamela Springsteen

 

For the past three quarters, I have been a part of the UCLA Chamber Ensemble.
Sounds pretty fancy, huh?
But surprisingly, you don’t have to be a musical prodigy to be in it. It is actually a class that is open to UCLA students of any major. The only requirement is that you know how to read/play music, and that you have a love for music. Not many people know about it, and many of the non-music majors shy away from taking the class. But my experience has been truly valuable and enriching. It has been amazing to see how music can connect people of vastly different majors, interests, backgrounds, and beliefs. It is always a joy to come together as a group once a week to produce music that we love and to be able to share it with others at the end of the quarter through a performance.

The course is called “Chamber Ensemble,” and to enroll into the class, you have to first contact Professor Gary Gray and tell him that you are interested in taking his course. He usually asks students to make an appointment with him to hear you play. There is no need to be stressed about it, because he mainly wants to see if you know how to read/play music on your instrument!
So you music-lovers out there, join the UCLA Chamber Ensemble! When else will you get a chance to play music with fellow UCLA students? Take advantage of the opportunity.

A Summer in Spain

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As a fourth year here at UCLA, I have had many memorable experiences that have helped to solidify my love for this school. However, one that truly stands out was my time studying abroad in Spain this past summer. It has been a dream since I was a tiny freshman in High School to travel abroad and soak in the language, food, and lifestyle of a foreign country. Finally this summer that dream came true.

I applied through UCLA’s travel study program during the fall of my junior year with high hopes of taking off across the world just a few short months from then. Upon the arrival of my email acceptance, I was ecstatic, but also REALLY nervous! I am lucky to have a family that has traveled with me to many international locations; however, this was the first time I would be taking on a foreign part of the world by myself. Winter and spring quarter rushed by and by the end of June it was already time to hop on a plane and begin my journey abroad. I decided to take advantage of the close proximity of countries in Europe and began my travels in London where I spent eight cold, wet, but beautiful days exploring the London eye, Westminster Abby, and training my pinky finger to be classy at High Tea. Although my days in London were wonderful and filled with lots of photo-taking and tube-riding, I was ready to get out of the rain and into the sun! The adventure continued in Venice, Italy where I met up with two of my closest friends who were also studying abroad for the summer. Venice was definitely a change with an abundance of sun, pasta, tanned bodies, and GELATO. While my friends would take class in the mornings I would take a vaparretto across the canals and find myself lost in a maze of tiny streets filled with vendors, street artists and little Italian kids playing handball in the courtyards. It was bliss; a bliss filled to the brim with pistachio and coffee gelato.

Barcelona was the next destination I found myself in and was also the start of my Travel Study program through UCLA. The first three days were spent in Barcelona exploring the city, meeting and making new friends, and beginning our intensive Spanish language program. Then we traveled to Madrid for two days and then on to Granada for five weeks. The program was big, 80 students or so, and I was worried that I would have trouble making friends and finding my group to travel with for the next six weeks. However, my worries shortly subsided as I met some of the most kind, exciting, and open individuals of my UCLA experience. Students mainly from UCLA and some from other UC’s came together to create a lively community of travelers each bringing something unique to the program.

My favorite part of being in Spain was learning the language. My professor, Juan-Jesus, was one of the best professors I have had at UCLA thus far and he made my experience with learning a language that had always stumped me, easy! I promised myself to try to speak Spanish at least 75% of the time that I was in Spain and doing so helped me excel in class and my studies. My most memorable moment in Spain was when my friend was sick with the stomach flu, and I went to the pharmacy to pick up medication for her. I felt so accomplished after I had to converse with the pharmacist in only Spanish! Over the course of the program, I became extremely close with many students in the program, and we were able to travel to new places on weekends, try new foods and drinks, and spend nights dancing our feet off in salsa clubs. It was an experience that truly helped me discover who I am and what I want out of life; an experience that I would encourage all students at UCLA to discover!

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