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.

My experience at UCLA has been invaluable. Despite being born and brought up in a different cultural environment in a place diametrically across the world (New Delhi, India), I have adapted really well at UCLA. Since my first week here, I tried to be as involved as possible in different clubs and organizations. By getting involved in student organizations and by going to as many campus events as possible, I connected with many great people pretty early on. A lot of those people are now my close friends.

UCLA has more than 1,000 diverse student organizations. This vibrant student body was a major reason I chose UCLA. Before even coming here, one of the things I was looking forward to was the Enormous Activities Fair. The Enormous Activities Fair occurs during Zero week of Fall quarter where hundreds of our student organizations table in Royce Quad so new students can explore and find organizations they might be interested in joining. At the fair this year, I was handed hundreds of flyers, and it was very challenging to pick which clubs I should be involved with because they all sounded very tempting!

Mihir_2As a Computer Science major, I’m very interested in tech-startups. So one of the first clubs I joined was Bruin Entrepreneurs, where I met many people interested in startups and entrepreneurship. I also worked on a short film as a visual effects editor with the Film and Photography Society. I later joined the Daily Bruin as a Web Development intern to gain technical skills. The skills I learned by going to different workshops helped me prepare for the career fairs. At the Engineering career fair in winter quarter of my freshman year, I met lots of recruiters and interviewed with about seven companies. Each interview prepared me for the next and ultimately I was fortunate to secure an internship at Thomson Reuters for the summer. My internship was extremely enriching and I had a wonderful experience working as a UX and Frontend Engineering intern. I’ve written more about my internship here.

A great perk of being a Computer Science major is the opportunity of going to different hackathons around the US. In the past two years I’ve been to hackathons at schools like Stanford, UC Berkeley, Cornell and University of Pennsylvania. At these hackathons, one can meet people, create products, network with companies and have fun–all in 36 hours! Plus, the trip is usually paid for! After going to hackathons, I started loving the idea of organizing events that promote innovation and collaboration. So I joined the organizing team for LA Hacks, one of the best hackathons in the country, hosted at UCLA. I had an amazing time working with some talented people to organize LA Hacks 2016 and 2017. My passion for collaboration, innovation and creating things also lead me to start a new club with some Bruin Entrepreneurs members. This club – Creative Labs – encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration, learning and creativity. I am very proud of the fact that I contributed in connecting many people from different majors for creating digital products.

UCLA’s student organizations have had a huge impact on me. I’ve met friends, learned skills and most importantly had a very fulfilling time. I recently got elected as the President of UCLA Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and I hope I can contribute in fostering a vibrant, inclusive and collaborative tech community at UCLA.

Stay tuned with more of my projects and writing at: www.mihirmathur.com 

MIHIR IS A SECOND YEAR COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR FROM NEW DELHI, INDIA.

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