My First-Year Experience

Hi! My name is Kashish Makker, and I am a second-year out-of-state student at UCLA double majoring in Global Studies and Political Science with a minor in accounting. After college, I want to attend law school and be a lawyer and I am so happy that I picked such a wonderful institution to be able to accomplish this dream. As an out-of-state student, specifically from New Jersey, I was so hesitant to leave my parents, leave the only place I call home, and come to Los Angeles for four years. I had applied to UCLA during the midst of COVID, so I was not even able to visit the campus or do a tour till the very first day that I moved into my dorm. Imagine leaving everything that seems familiar to you, to commit to a place that you have never even set foot in before. Crazy right? Call it a gut feeling, or simply being extremely optimistic, but the day I got my acceptance letter to UCLA, I knew this was the place I was going to call home for the next four years and more. And I was right.

My time here at UCLA has been nothing short of, honestly, perfect. I have taken classes that have pushed me, challenged me, and made me feel so proud and accomplished of myself. In my first year, I joined a social sorority which brought me some of my closest friends and joined a workout club called CHAARG, where I got to go to so many cool workout places and studios across LA and share a common interest in working out and being healthy with other members of UCLA. I joined the Bruin Ambassador Program which is one of my favorite organizations in the world. We go to different high schools across California and promote the concept of higher education and get students interested in UCLA and what it means to be a Bruin. I joined a prelaw organization which helped me solidify my decision to major in Political Science, as well as brought me closer to other students who also hoped and dreamed of being a lawyer. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people and communities that push me to become the best version of myself.

As someone who has done a couple of panel sessions for upcoming students, the number one question I get asked is, “What is your advice to an incoming freshman.” And to be honest, I have spent a lot of time thinking about an answer. I did not want to make it cheesy and say “Just be yourself!” or “Try your hardest,” because while this is true, as a new freshman I would not have found this advice entirely helpful. So, what I would say, which also might be slightly cheesy, is “Stop. Listen to your gut. And just say yes.” In college, some of my best relationships and experiences have been when I put my anxiousness aside and simply said yes to a situation that felt right to me. Whether that was going for that interview that I thought I was never going to get, or saying yes to dinner with a random stranger from my dorm room floor that is now one of my friends, I have learned to just say yes! You never want to look back at college and feel remorse, or feel like you could have done more. These four years of your life are going to entail some of your most enriching life experiences, you are going to have the highest highs, and meet people you call your family. The only way to do that- say yes to what feels right.

Everything will fall into place once you let it. UCLA cultivates the closest communities and brings together people from parts of the world into your life that you never even imagined. The school is home to such incredible people, opportunities, and cultures that make it worth it for students like me, who traveled thousands of miles from home and can only see their parents and loved ones a couple of times a year, to make the most of their college experience and not look back.

Photo of Kashish outside of Royce Hall wearing a black jacket.