Have you met the UCLA Optimists? Over the next several months, the Bruin Blog will be highlighting our student Optimists. These current UCLA undergraduates will give you insight into the application process and tips, student life and culture, and what it means to be a Bruin.
UCLA has an endless list of amazing qualities and opportunities for students. We have all heard the list a million times: prestigious academics, competitive athletics, a beautiful campus, ground-breaking research, an incredible location. While I am grateful for all of these things, my favorite thing about UCLA isn’t something that is easy to see from the outside. When you sign your intent to register at UCLA you aren’t just agreeing to receive an education from a school, you are joining a family.
I don’t believe that you can find another place on earth that is filled with more talented, passionate, incredible people. People who walk miles and camp out at Drake stadium to raise money for cancer research. People who plan and perform an entire play in just 24 hours and leave the audience doubled over in laughter. People who raise thousands of dollars and stay on their feet for 26.2 hours to eliminate pediatric aids. People who win more NCAA championships than anyone else in the nation. People who protest social injustices. Most importantly, people who are there for each other.
When you go to college you face so many challenges. Some are foreseen: being away from your parents for the first time, taking more challenges classes, making new friends, and the all time favorite having to do your own laundry. Other challenges are unexpected: overcoming self doubt and feelings of inadequacy, finding your own identity, and trying to figure out where you fit in to this enormous Bruin family. Though challenge can be difficult, it more importantly results in growth.
Being a Bruin is a beautiful journey of self discovery, and the best part about the journey is that you are never alone. In fact, it is all of your Bruin family members who make the journey possible. When you first start your time at UCLA you meet a lot of incredible people, which though amazing and enriching, can also be intimidating. You think to yourself, how could I possibly be smart and talented enough to be a member of such an impressive group of people? You might even consider running into Murphy Hall and making sure the admission officers didn’t make a mistake letting you in. Then UCLA works its magic and everything changes.
Each time you meet another Bruin they teach you something new and amazing about yourself. When I walk into a challenging physics class on the first day of the quarter rather than entering a hostile competitive environment, I am surrounded by peers who immediately sit down next to me, shake my hand, and exchange phone numbers with me in order to study together and help each other work through the class. As a campus tour guide, after a rough day when I am feeling down about myself, I go to the tours office and am comforted and reassured of my strengths by each and every one of my fellow guides. As a member of the Greek community, I have created close relationships with incredible women who remind me everyday how strong and capable I am. Over your four years at UCLA with the support of your peers you go from wondering how you got into such an amazing institution to knowing that it wouldn’t be nearly as amazing without you in it. UCLA is nothing without the people who make up the Bruin family, each and every person is an integral member and that is what makes UCLA so special.
In the end, one’s time as a Bruin extends far beyond the four years it takes to complete your undergraduate degree. When you meet another Bruin in any random corner of the globe it doesn’t matter if they graduated the same year as you or 60 years before you, that person is instantly part of your family. The Bruin family is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each student is a uniquely shaped piece, and if a single piece is missing the whole picture just isn’t complete. Sure, it’s great to graduate being an expert in Biochemistry or Economics, but the most valuable thing that you learn here is that you matter, and your Bruin family will always be around to remind you that.