My apologies for the brief hiatus in posts, I have been supremely busy this past week dealing with interviews and such. But I’m back!

This week I want to talk about something called “Positive Randomness”. I ran across this idea in a post at a blog called Study Hacks. Essentially, what the author and the interviewee are advocating is having time free of scheduled activities in your life to experience random things that will enrich you intellectually, creatively, and personally. The blogger elaborates on this concept in another post, saying that every college student should do these three things at least once a week:

  • Attend a talk on campus.
  • Go to your nearest Barnes & Noble, grab a stack of books that seem interesting, spend at least one hour with a coffee reading through them.
  • Identify one person who has done something you find cool then send them an e-mail asking them a concise and specific question about how they got started down that path.

He also talks about starting an ambitious side project and actively planning interesting things to do in your free time, all good suggestions, to be sure

How does this apply specifically to UCLA? Well, as one of the largest public research universities around, we have opportunities galore – all you have to do is go seize them. For example, a few days ago, I had the chance to participate in a Creative Writing, Blogging & Social Media Workshop, hosted by our Writing Success Program, where I met a member of UCLA’s Community Programs Office. She in turn directed me to one of their upcoming health caucuses after hearing about my career interests. Positive randomness at its best!

Finally, some simple tips for achieving positive randomness in your life at UCLA.

  1. Sign up for your department’s listserv! I got to volunteer at MEDECOS only because I got an email about it from my counselor.
  2. Pay attention to the fliers and flier-ers around you! Flier-ing is a time-honored tradition at UCLA, and indeed, most any university. If you don’t know what I am talking about, go walk up Bruinwalk during a weekday. To wit, I got started in the USIE program because of a flier I saw.
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of an email! Though many professors are busy as heck, most are at least willing to sit down with an undergraduate and chat for half an hour. I got a chance to talk shop with the Chair of Environmental Health Sciences this way. (But make sure you do your homework first – he said that he hates it when college students walk into his office and blithely ask what he does for a living. For the record, I read his book beforehand!)

I hope that this post inspired you to do something positively random today. And whatever you end up doing, perhaps I’ll see you there!