Finals aside, one of the things you should be thinking about as a UCLA student is where you’re going to be living next year, and with who.
The dorms are of course a great option, especially if you’re just a first year this year. I’ll tell you right now, having food at the swipe of a card is very underrated. And having people clean your bathrooms? Priceless. One downside is the cost. Hill living is very expensive at times – living in a hall (Sproul Cove!?) or getting a job are some ways to offsetting this. But the convenience of living on the Hill is really unparalleled.
Apartments are of course the other main option. Most people I know seem to live west of campus – along Gayley, Veteran, Kelton, etc. – though some people go south of Wilshire to live. Aside from those poor, bus-riding souls (I kid), it’s usually still walking distance (easier with a bike or longboard), but you have to deal with leases, cooking your own food, cleaning – basically, being an independent, mature adult. It’s harder than you might think, and even if you’re up for it, finding 3-4 other people who are may be difficult.
In any case, I bring up the entire housing issue because if you want to live in an off-campus apartment, the time to start looking is now. Through the advice of friends and your own research, you will want to find (soon!) the potential buildings you’ll spend the next year or two in. My advice? Try to find a newer structure with a kind and understanding manager. Look all your potentials up online, because there are some horror stories out there. And try to live with a bunch of your friends! It’s really the only time you’ll ever to do that – believe me, after graduation, it’s going to be a pain trying to meet up – your friends are going to be working and grad-school-ing across the country.
One additional note – if you’re going to be living in the apartments next year, plan on spending your days on campus – it’s really a pain to walk back and forth from the apartments to school, and a huge waste of time, too, if you do it more than once.