Hi everyone! My name is Jamie and I am super stoked to share with the world my wonderful experience here at UCLA. Spring quarter has just began, and after a fun filled and relaxing week of spring break, I am so ready to be back on campus.

Before I begin my regular posts, I’ll tell you all a little bit about myself. I am currently a sophomore here at UCLA majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in Education. So far, I am really loving the classes for my major and minor! I am super into education and ever since elementary school I have wanted to become a teacher.

I am from the very small town of Littlerock, California (no, not Arkansas!) which is located in the Antelope Valley about an hour north and inland from Los Angeles. In high school, I knew basically everyone in my graduating class so part of the reason why I chose UCLA was because I wanted a change and I wanted to be able to meet tons of new people. Being at UCLA, I got that and even more- not only have I met so many new people, but everyone is so unique and from all different areas of the world, and they all have their own goals and aspirations and involvements on and off campus. Basically, everyone here is pretty amazing in their own way and I absolutely love that about UCLA.

Here on campus, I have really been able to feed my interest in education by getting involved with education-related activities. I have a job through Americorps Jumpstart where I go to a local preschool for underprivileged students twice a week and tutor them. We also do things like family involvement events where we plan after-school activities to get the children’s families excited about their education and a literacy fair where we hand out free books (since many of the families we serve do not own them). Besides Jumpstart, I also have a job as a Bruin Ambassador where I visit local high schools and walk the students through the UC application process while also letting them know what UCLA has to offer its students and sharing my experience at UCLA with the students. I absolutely love how rewarding and fun both of my jobs are- it’s kind of like I’m not really working at all!

Besides working, I also volunteer on campus. I am a member of UCLA UniCamp, a student-run organization that fundraises money to send underprivileged children from the greater Los Angeles to summer camp for a week. Up at camp last year, I was a counselor for twelve middle school girls and we did tons of character building activities and many things none of them have ever been able to do before in the city- like mountain biking and fishing! Besides the connection you make with the campers, you also make a connection with the UCLA students that do UniCamp and are training with you and up in the mountains with you and you end up making really close life-long friends. This was one of the greatest experiences I have had at UCLA so far.

I also volunteered to participate in UCLA’s very own Dance Marathon this year. Dance Marathon is basically a 26-hour long dance party among UCLA students to raise money to help fight pediatric AIDS. During these 26 hours you must be on your feet and awake the whole time! At the end, though everyone was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, some of the families and children we helped all said very sincere thank-yous to us which was extremely rewarding. This was also one of the most amazing experiences I have had so far here at UCLA.

Even though I have been doing all of these super fun involvements, I realized I still had some free time (crazy, right?) this year and decided to rush a sorority. At the end of Fall recruitment this year, I became a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and have absolutely loved it so far. We have a big philanthropy event every year called Lion’s Cup, which is a huge soccer tournament between different fraternities and sororities on campus and all the money we raise goes towards our official charity, The Ronald McDonald House. We also do a bunch of other volunteer activities for the Ronald McDonald House, like this Sunday we will be participating in their 5K Walk for Kids in Los Angeles. I can’t wait! Besides philanthropy, we do a ton of social events (last quarter we played “broomball”- a game where you wear tennis shoes on ice and play hockey with brooms and a ball!), sisterhood, academic, and networking activities, like our Career Day we just had, where some of our alumni came to our house and told us about their current professions.

That’s just a little bit about myself, and I hope to tell you more about the amazing life here at UCLA in my future posts!