In my two years at UCLA, student organizations and campus life have played a large role in my experiences as a student. Outside of my academics, being involved in student organizations has allowed me to explore my interests and engage with my fellows Bruin. There are more than 1,000 student clubs on campus, a number that continues to grow as more and more students come together to form new clubs, which goes to show that whatever your interest, there is bound to be a place for you at UCLA.
The Enormous Activities Fair was where I had my first taste of campus life in the fall of my freshman year. This is an event that is held at the start of every academic year, where student organizations are given the opportunity to promote themselves and recruit new members by setting up booths and interacting with students. For one afternoon, students are free to traverse the greens of Royce Quad and discover what various student clubs have to offer. It is an important rite of passage for every Bruin, and will be something you can look forward to should you choose to join us in Westwood in the coming fall.
I can clearly recall the excitement I felt walking along the rows of booths, looking upon the seemingly endless number of clubs and envisioning myself as a member in each of them. What
possibilities did each of them hold? That day, my friends and I spent hours walking from table to table, interacting with representatives from various organizations, all of whom declared their dedication and passion towards the cause of their organization. It was an invigorating experience, and I remember feeling heartened by these interactions and the fact that there were such determined and driven people within the UCLA community. Knowing that there were people who were as motivated as me to make a change in the world within the UCLA
community, it reaffirmed my belief that UCLA was the place I wanted to be.
Nonetheless, as an international student, I was concerned about whether I would fit in with the rest of my peers. Coming to UCLA was only the second time I had ever been to the United States, and I had no idea what to expect of my future peers. I was fortunate enough to make fast friends out of the people in the first organization I ever joined, known as Foundations Choreography. The many nights I spent dancing, studying and making a fool of myself with my teammates remain as some of my fondest memories of college, and I feel grateful to have found a home in my team. Our leadership was careful to craft an inclusive and uplifting environment where members grew to trust and lean on each other for support, and it was through Foundations that I found the confidence I needed to go forth in my UCLA journey and venture beyond my comfort zone.
In my sophomore year, I began looking into clubs that would help me explore my ever-changing range of interests. For one, I wanted to spend more time exploring Los Angeles and learning more about the local community. I started going on hikes with Peaks and Professors, a club that organizes hikes for students led by professors and a student trip leader. Going on hikes with the club allayed many of my anxieties about hiking long distances in unfamiliar terrain, and it gave me the opportunity immersing myself in nature was always a great way to relieve stress. Indeed, it was through Peaks and Professors that I truly began to appreciate what Los Angeles for its incredibly diverse landscape and all that it had to offer.
On top of that, I searched for clubs that would educate me on the social issues of Los Angeles, so as to understand the dynamics within this community that UCLA was a part of. It was through this endeavor that I joined Bruin Shelter, an organization that operates a shelter for students experiencing homelessness. As a part of their shelter staff, I would assist in the day-to-day operations of the shelter whenever I went on shift. My time with Bruin Shelter has pushed me to think deeply about the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles, and consider my responsibility in helping to combat the crisis we currently face.
The memories I’ve made through these student organizations have truly enriched my college experience, and they’ve shown me that learning in college takes place outside of the courses I
take as well. UCLA has worked hard to cultivate an environment that is conducive to exchange, growth and positivity, and I am grateful to have benefitted from the groundwork that was laid by the classes before us. To all future Bruins, I encourage you to be proactive in shaping your campus experience, and to take advantage of the various organizations and resources around you. Let UCLA be your conduit to the best possible version of yourself, and join the class of 2024. Go Bruins!
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