Hello everyone! My name is Christian Cruz, my pronouns are he/him/his and I am a fourth-year transfer student majoring in Chicanx Studies from Southeast, Los Angeles. Congratulations to all the amazing transfers in being accepted to UCLA! You should definitely feel extremely proud of this accomplishment, it definitely is a journey being here at the #1 public University given that Community college is sometimes seen as an untraditional route to higher education. I completely can relate to you all if you ever felt like you were completely lost, feelings of wanting to drop out, feeling like you were on this journey by yourself. I am here to remind you all that those feelings are valid, and to let you know that your resiliency and effort in what got you here is what will make you thrive here at UCLA.
This is a great segway for today’s blog in Professional Development. Now, professional development as a transfer student is a huge challenge. You only have two years, or sometimes three if you decide to stay an extra year like me, to make the most out of UCLA. As a low-income and first-generation student, I knew that I needed a job on campus to help pay for school and other expenses. But there was one problem, I didn’t have a resume and nor did I know how to make one. This was a huge challenge for me because like many of you, I needed to find a job since I can’t fully rely on my family for financial support. When applying to jobs in general, you’ll see that they usually require a resume and sometimes a cover letter. This process was entirely new to me, and it was my first exposure to professional development.
During the summer entering into UCLA, I participated in the 2018 Transfer Summer Program under the Academic Advancement Program (AAP). In that program, I was exposed to many resource centers available on campus and one that stood out to me the most was the Career Center. The speaker for the Career Center was a Career Engagement Educator named Erin Haywood, whom I had the great pleasure in meeting, came into one of our classes and presented on a topic related to career development which was titled, “Your Major is not your Career”. I was blown away by the presentation. I got to learn how many professionals from many industries are in their professions that have almost nothing to do with their major. I decided then and there to go online and make an appointment to see a counselor and seek resume help.
Visiting the UCLA Career Center was such a memorable experience. The entire staff is very friendly and enthusiastic about helping students. I must admit, I was a little intimidated visiting
this office because I was a transfer and I was going into this world of career development completely foreign to me. All that changed when I sat down with Katherine Kim, an amazing Career Engagement Educator who, aside from her amazing accomplishments, loves to help students. She validated my feelings of being lost and ensured that it was okay in having these feelings of anxiety because she understood where I was coming from. Throughout our session, she walked me through constructing a resume and shared great resources with me, and I walked out of our session feeling confident and ready to pursue my dreams and goals.
During my first year at UCLA, I was able to utilize what I learned at the Career Center and was able to land an amazing student job on campus that went on for an entire year and that was the Community Programs Office (CPO). I was able to gain awesome experience while being able to serve the UCLA community through our events and resources while meeting so many great people. CPO does so much that I know for a fact almost every student has utilized their resources and I highly advise everyone here to apply in their first year if you love to serve students and want a great transition to student life on campus.
I also want to be vulnerable here that in my first year at UCLA, I wasn’t able to secure a summer internship. I am a pre-business student and I aspire to go into the field of tech through non-tech roles such as marketing, sales, project management, etc. I was rejected to almost every opportunity I applied to and trust me, I applied everywhere. I was discouraged and devastated by this experience, and I almost thought about switching careers entirely. However, what I learned is that professional development is a journey, and part of that journey is being able to expect failure and learn from it and grow from those experiences since we all will face failure when pursuing our goals. So what did I do? My favorite quote is “behind every great challenge is a greater opportunity”, so I decided to make this rejection work for me.
During that summer, I decided to study abroad at the University of Hong Kong from faculty from the UCLA Anderson school of business. I am so glad I took advantage of this opportunity because the #1 regret for college students is not studying abroad, and so I strongly encourage transfer students to do so and explore the world if you are able to. Furthermore, I also applied and got accepted to the Riordan Program at UCLA, which is a week-long professional development and mentorship program that connected me with over 50+ UCLA students who
aspire to go into business and also a mentor from Facebook, who is a UCLA alumnus and also a former transfer student! I also was hired by the UCLA Career Center to be a Career Peer intern for the following academic year where I help advise students with their resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, their job/internship search, and any other career topic in general. I am excited to be put in a position where I can help students who share similar experiences to mine in getting them closer to their long-term career passions.
The main takeaway from this story is to learn how to ask for help. We can’t do everything on our own and even though we sometimes believe we have to. UCLA is a big world but it is manageable if you find the right resources on campus. There are many resources for professional development, my big two are the Transfer Center and Career Center! My last advice for pursuing your career goals and interests, and that is I believe we all share the same purpose and that is to serve humanity. Our career goals and talents were ultimately meant to serve others and make the lives of others better. Your career and what you decide to do is your platform into making that happen and a great career is one that combines 4 things: what you are good at, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and what you love doing. If you haven’t found it yet, don’t worry. Your journey at UCLA and beyond is just getting started! You made it this far and as a transfer student, means there’s no limit to how far you can go after, I am 100% confident!
Congratulations once again! #GoBruins