Hey everyone! My name Skyler Wight. I am a third year English major with a minor in history and I am from Santa Monica, California. Congratulations on your acceptance to UCLA! This is such an exciting time for you all, and you should be so proud of yourselves!
A few years ago, when I was in your shoes and trying to decide where I wanted to go to college, I thought a lot about the importance of a sense of community. For me, I knew that I had made the right decision at New Student Orientation, when I first saw how welcoming and diverse the UCLA community is.
When I arrived at Orientation I was placed into a group with other new students, who had similar academic interests to mine, and we were guided throughout the entire process by a New Student Advisor. New Student Advisors (NSAs) are fellow UCLA students who act as both peer advisors and academic advisors. This means that they help inform new students of important academic requirements, and advise on class schedules and enrollment. At the same time, they also help students get a more broad feel for the university and its various resources and extracurricular opportunities.
When I applied to college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. There were so many different options in terms of majors, and this made me both excited and a little overwhelmed. I was very thankful to have my NSA there to help talk through my different interests, and she helped me to see that it was okay if I wasn’t certain right away. She helped me to enroll in a class schedule for the Fall that allowed me to explore my different interests while keeping my options open. At the same time, my NSA was really helpful in terms of giving me ideas on different ways to get involved on campus, outside of the academics.
At Orientation, I attended several presentations from different offices on campus, including College Honors and Financial Aid, which helped me to learn more about the resources available to me. Additionally, I got to hear from different academic departments, which gave me a better feel for the different majors I was considering. There was also a campus tour, which included a lot of fun facts and stories about the university, which helped me to feel a lot more comfortable on campus.
My favorite part of orientation was that I got to interact with other new students before I even started classes at UCLA. Knowing other new bruins made me feel a lot more comfortable moving to campus. Getting to hear and discuss everyone’s concerns as a group assured me that I wasn’t alone in my nervousness. Even to this day, I run into a lot of the people I met at Orientation and still even get to have classes with some of them!
My experience at New Student Orientation was so meaningful to me that I went on to become a New Student Advisor myself, and have been working as part of Orientation staff for the last three years. The opportunity to interact with new students serves as a constant reminder of why I chose to come to UCLA in the first place, and why I feel so grateful for my time here.
I know that you all have a big decision to make, which can be really difficult. Above all else, when I was trying to make that same decision for myself, I wanted to make sure to pick a place with a strong sense of community, and I definitely feel that I accomplished that by choosing UCLA. I wish you all the best of luck on your future journeys as college students! Go Bruins!