Hello Bruins! My name is Kevin Arifin, pronouns he/him. I’m currently a third year traditional undergraduate student at UCLA double majoring in Psychobiology and Education & Social Transformation studies with a minor in Science Education. I grew up in Southern California in a town called Walnut, which is about an hour east from UCLA (depending on the traffic). I always knew I wanted to stay in California for my college experience, and being in Westwood which is so close to Los Angeles, a hub of culture, city life and endless opportunities, has given me that home away from home experience without, of course, being too far from my actual home!
What’s great about being here is that no matter what field of study you are interested in studying here and however you may want to combine your interests, there are already tons of blossoming, established or leading industries for each of the UCLA academic offerings that are available to students. With this, you really can complement your studies with career opportunities and preparation through lots of internships, jobs, research and experiences. For me personally, with my two majors being in two completely different fields, I still was able to access interdisciplinary science education opportunities in which I could apply what I was learning in the classroom to the service I do for the local community. I have been able to teach high school chemistry at local high schools in Los Angeles and actually have an impact that has confirmed for me personally that I am on the right career path. And if you are looking to build something entirely new that does not already exist, Los Angeles has so much support to offer you to help you get your dreams launched. It’s simply unparalleled.
Additionally, you might imagine that, living near Los Angeles, I would have done everything there is to do here, but that would be incorrect! I actually still have a huge bucket list of sights and experiences I need to hit. This endless abundance of things to do and see in Los Angeles is another great reason to be here at UCLA. On weekdays, I usually will focus on school and work, but on weekends, I always try to take at least one day off if I can help it and journey to Los Angeles with my friends and family. With this day to myself, I always find new places to eat, drink and explore! For example, last weekend, I found myself hiking early in the morning at Switzer Falls with my friends in the Association of Indonesian Americans, where we found a beautiful waterfall to take pictures at. Then, after much exercise, we got really hungry, so we traveled to a local Indonesian restaurant to remind ourselves of the food at home, which is always important to me as an Indonesian American. After filling ourselves up, we drove back to UCLA, so that I could pick up my girlfriend to go on a date together to the Grove, which is a wonderful outdoor mall where I not only tried on some new clothes but also got to ride an old-fashioned trolley! After that, we traveled to Griffith Observatory for my first time ever where I was able to see all of Los Angeles as the sun set and the city night lights began to turn on, which always reminds me of how grateful I am to be alive. To end the night, we stopped by Leo’s Tacos, which is a popular taco truck that a lot of students go to have some of the best Al Pastor tacos in town. (They have pineapple in them!) Finally, we headed back to UCLA but not without making a pit stop at Wanderlust Creamery which is a new ice cream shop that opened up in Sawtelle that features lots of Asian-inspired ice cream flavors for us. We made sure to sample every flavor! This past Saturday was such an amazing and memorable day that I’m really happy that I got to spend with my friends and loved ones. I’m really grateful that going on these outdoor excursions is not a rare event because work-life balance is super critical to my wellbeing at UCLA. Taking these breaks are not only a great opportunity to be exposed to so many different experiences but also some of the most fun memories I will have to look back on when I graduate from college. In fact, I’ve already got plans to hit a night market, an art museum and a national park in the coming weeks!
So, for all of you, there’s already so much to do at UCLA and even more outside in the local area, so we hope that you will join us here in Los Angeles soon! You never know; maybe we will run into each other in our adventures!