My Academic Journey and “Success”

Person standing next to balloons with a green bush background.

Congratulations, new Bruins! I am so excited to welcome you into this truly amazing community! My name is Naomi Pearl, and I am a first-year transfer student and Junior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Film, Television, and Digital Media. When I first got accepted into UCLA, while I was incredibly excited at the same time, I was also nervous about the prospect of entering a new environment known for its academic rigor and excellence.

My academics have always held significance in my life and remain an area I approach seriously and with curiosity. So, I would like to take a moment to share with you my academic journey during my first year at UCLA to help make the transition more seamless for you, which actually began a few months before the academic calendar’s start date.

During the summer, I reached out to the CAE (Center for Accessible Education) and this program helped set in place the necessary accommodations for my academic success at the start of the quarter. The CAE made me feel accepted and supported as a new bruin, and their professional guidance allowed me to flourish throughout my first academic year at UCLA. Having a connection with the CAE, specifically a relationship with my counselor before the start of the school year and a support program I knew I could rely on, set me up for success. For this reason, I would encourage you to seek out programs that will support not only you but your academic growth while making this new transition.

This might look different for you than it did for me, such as scheduling a weekly appointment with your TA or professor, utilizing the university’s tutoring resources, or meeting regularly with your academic counselor. Regardless of what form best furthers your educational journey, I have found that establishing meaningful relationships has allowed for my academic success and ultimate growth at UCLA. I also want to take a moment to reiterate that UCLA’s resources are here to help you succeed, and all you need to do is take that first step and ask for help because, at the end of the day, everyone is here to help you succeed.

I would also encourage you to be curious and ask your teachers and peers questions. Some of the most meaningful conversations I have had have been through meeting with my teachers. Also, along these lines, my mentality to “be curious” is another important aspect of my academic journey. In my second quarter here at UCLA, I decided to take a film class. Needless to say, it completely opened up a new outlet and chapter of my life where after graduation, I look forward to pursuing a career in post-production as a film editor. I believe it’s important to experiment with enrolling in classes that engage or interest you because you never know the outcome, especially if you’re unsure about your future. Furthermore, I want you to know that I understand college can be a stressful time—not being sure what your post-graduate life may be. Therefore, the best advice I can give for figuring out what you want to do post-grad is to take advantage of all the academic opportunities, resources, and professional staff at UCLA that are here to help you.

Ultimately, the energy you put into your academic journey at UCLA (like I did) is what you will get out of it, and I encourage you to make the most out of it. A first step to make your transition easier could simply be writing a list of goals, speaking with an academic counselor, or looking at the university’s online resources. Yet, regardless of what path you choose, I am wishing you the best of luck and hope you get as much out of the academic resources and opportunities here at UCLA that I feel very fortunate to have experienced.



Person sitting on sand at the beach with a sunset background.