Work Study

Copyright 2013 Coral von Zumwalt

In the midst of midterm season, I thought I’d share a kernel of knowledge with you all about the work study experience, as I’ve been through a very thorough recruiting process this past quarter.

Work study is a federal program that allows students to hold a part time employment position while studying. Students who receive work study are given an allowance (aka the limit that you can earn). For instance, if you are given a work study allowance of 2000 USD, it means that you can work a student job with a pay rate of $10 for 200 hours or a job with a pay rate of $15 for approximately 133 hours for the school year.

What’s so great about work study?

First off, work study is subsidized by the government. The government essentially pays half of your pay check (so for every $10 you earn, $5 comes from the government etc.). This makes you a highly sought after employee because of your competitive pay rate.

Second of all, it allows you to gain job experience– without having to go off campus if you prefer. The great aspect of working right here at UCLA is that employers are generally more understanding of midterms and other commitments in college life. They are usually more lax about hours during midterms/finals weeks.

Last but not least, it is just as valuable as any other job. It bulks up your resume, especially during the years when you are not yet eligible for major internships. It gives you experience in working in a professional setting while still being a student. It also helps build relationships with your employers (many of whom are professors and administrative personnel on campus) and coworkers. In addition, a little cash wouldn’t hurt.

So how do I get a work study job?

You need to receive work study as part of your financial aid package to be eligible for the work study program. (You can refer to the financial aid website if you are not certain of your status, they’ll be able to help you out). If you are awarded the work study component as part of your financial aid package, take it. Even if you do not manage to secure employment, FA will not penalize you.

To start off the hiring process, refer to the work study bulletin and keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities. During the beginning of each quarter (fall, specifically), employers post job openings here. They are usually seeking work-study students, so you have an advantage. Prepare a thorough cover letter and resume, select a couple of job positions you are interested in, and contact the employer via email! If you pass the resume screening process, employers will usually invite you in for an interview (level of formality varies depending on where your potential job is located) and explain what the job entails.

If you are hired on the spot, congratulations! Usually employers take around a week to get back to you. If unfortunately the position is filled by another student, do not despair– we’ve all been there. Time to polish your A-game and contact more recruiters!

There are positions open in all fields– I’ve seen clerical jobs, research assistant jobs for both the sciences and the humanities, and tech support positions as well. The multitude of jobs available mean that not only can you get a student job, but also secure one that may align with your future career interests!

I’ve held two work study jobs thus far, and I can say that they have been the most rewarding experiences in my college life. I currently work at the Anderson Graduate School of Management, and the MBA environment I’ve been exposed to as a result of this job has helped me develop a better understanding of the level of professionalism required to pursue a MBA degree. In the past, I’ve also assisted an English professor on his publication, and it was incredibly rewarding as well. Being able to get a taste of the real world while still enjoying the perks of being a UCLA student is definitely eye opening!

Cheers, and good luck to all the students out there knee deep in midterm season.

Farewell, Summer

Bruin statue
Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 Coral Von Zumwalt

This summer has been by far the longest yet most fulfilling summer I’ve had in years. As you may recall, I’ve taken a brief sabbatical abroad studying in the London School of Economics, headed over to Unicamp for a wonderful week of Woodsey fun, and returned to UCLA to get a taste of apartment life! One week ago marked my 365th day here in Los Angeles (I haven’t been home in over a year already). It’s been quite a journey! Fall is fast approaching (though the weather certainly doesn’t feel like it), and I am so glad that school is almost starting: you have no idea how much I’ve missed you all.

Anyways, I thought I’d update you all on a couple of resources I have stumbled upon in the past year that may help during the school year!

Writing Success Program at UCLA

The WSP program at UCLA is a wonderful writing counseling program here on campus! All the services are free of charge, and all you have to do to receive one whole hour of college-writing help is to sign up for a time slot at the Student Activities Center! I first came here when I was freaking out about my first college essay I had to turn in for a rather intimidating class- Comm 10, and my counselor was extremely helpful in helping me structure my writing and guiding me along the process of brainstorming! I sought my counselor out for not only writing help but eventually also interview and career help! She was truly not just a counselor, but also a mentor and a friend. (I’ll also be interning there this fall, so come drop by and say hi!)

Career Center 

The UCLA Career Center (located on Strathmore) provides free career guidance services to all UCLA students. They help you with perfecting your resume, prepping for interviews, and even have an entire library devoted for the job search. Periodically, they also host “sneak peeks” and “jumpstart” events, where recruiters from various industries come and meet interested students. It took me one whole year to take advantage of the resources here, but it truly is a goldmine, and I highly encourage you to go check out what they have to offer, regardless of your current class standing!

Bruinwalk is an incredibly useful website for finding reviews of professors and evaluating what courses you may like to take.

The other physical bruinwalk is also a treasure trove, as there are tons of students flyering about campus events all the time. If you happen to not be in a rush for class, it wouldn’t hurt to take a couple of flyers and see if there’s an event you would like to catch!

CAC (College Academic Counseling)/ ASK Peer Counseling

This counseling center (located in Murphy) is extremely helpful for any lost souls who would like to figure out how to better structure their class load, or anybody who would like some guidance in their academic path (including extending units). I’ve visited this place numerous times over the school year to make sure I was on track. These services are free as well!

In conjunction with CAC, there are also the blue booths located all over campus called “ASK Peer Counselors”. These are peers who have been trained extensively and can handle all sorts of questions regarding class enrollment, deadlines and restrictions. If you don’t have enough time to drop by Murphy or just have a quick question, pop in and ask for help from one of your peers!

Ashe Center 

If you’re sick, this is the place to go. They also offer vaccines/TB Tests/additional medical services that are fully insured by UCShip. Stay healthy and take care of yourself! There is also a newly opened “U See LA” located in Ackerman that can help you out with vision problems.

Education Abroad Center

This center is also located in Murphy, and you can receive detailed information (academic and financial) all at this place. If you have any queries about studying abroad, this place has all the answers! I believe that college is one of the best times in your life to go abroad and explore. My summer in London was definitely one of the best summers thus far!

Dashew Center 

This is the center for international students. They can help international students out with any issue they may come across while studying in a foreign land. They also hosted Global Siblings, which is an incredible program: I met so many great friends through this program! (I actually ran into my sibling today so I’m feeling quite nostalgic.)


UCLA is a big school: just by the sheer size of the student population, it’s easy to feel intimidated. However, do not fear, because, as Dumbledore once said, “Help will always be given (at Hogwarts) to those who ask for it”. UCLA may not be called Hogwarts, but it truly is a magical place! Here’s to another great school year! Cheers!

Bruin in London

Piccadily Circus at Night— Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

Four weeks into my study abroad experience via UC EAP at the London School of Economics, I have barely had time to write— London is constantly buzzing with things to do! I can’t even believe that I have midterms next week and finals the week after… this has definitely been one of the most exhilarating experiences thus far in college.

So first off, I’d like to chronicle my experiences in the fantastic city by location, rather than time. More to come later!


The London School of Economics

This school is one of the leading institutes in the world for economics and the social sciences. I’ve chosen to take two electives here: MG101 (Marketing) and MG133 (Management). These two courses have offered me a chance to get a glimpse of the theories behind strategic marketing and management tactics in the business world. Each course is structured with daily three hour lectures and one hour seminars (much like discussions at UCLA). I’ve had plenty of opportunities to interact with my classmates from all over the world and grow in the process. The fact that approximately a third of my classmates have real world experience working in major companies has further created opportunities to hear about what the adult life is like! These courses have definitely been intensive but definitely manageable, as I have had plenty of time to explore London in my time off! The school itself has a very different vibe from UCLA as it is not so much a college with a town but rather a big city that has a school planted right in the heart of the city. This has allowed me to fully integrate myself into the life here and experience “the true London”.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace—-Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

Buckingham Palace is magnificent. It’s located near Victoria Station, only a short bus ride from the school. On our day off, a fellow Bruin and I traveled over to watch the changing of the guards, unfortunately, we picked the wrong spot to stake out and thus only saw the entry and exit of the guards. Yet it was still quite a sight to see as guards dressed in royal red and black outfits marched by and policemen galloped by on magnificent stallions. We also paid a couple of pounds to get an in depth tour of the state rooms, which were displaying the Royal Childhood Exhibition at the time. The splendor of the palace cannot be described… unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures inside the palace so I have attached a photo of the statue outside just to give you all a taste of the grandeur!

Musicals: Wicked and Mamma Mia

London has a vibrant arts culture. Every corner of each major street probably has a ticket stand selling tickets to various musicals in London, which run six to seven days a week. I was fortunate enough to see Wicked and Mamma Mia here! I was quite impressed with Wicked. The vocals were incredibly powerful and the storyline contained all the components of humor, romance, and friendship. It was definitely worth it! The stage itself was also a magnificent work of art: a dragon leered over the top of the stage and large stage props were automated so that they rolled in by themselves during transitions. I liked the twist the story put on the original story of the Wizard of Oz. For those who haven’t seen the musical yet, I definitely encourage you all to try it!

Covent Garden, Piccadily Circus & Oxford Street

Bruins in London!— Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

These three places are probably London’s premier shopping destinations. Granted, London does have fashionable shops everywhere, but these three attract large crowds on a daily basis! Piccadily Circus even had a “Street Musician Month” where they completely closed off the length of the road from Piccadily to Oxford Circus and invited artists to perform and sing. It was quite a sight!

London Eye, Big Ben

Thames River at night— Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

Of course my visit to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the most popular attractions here! I didn’t get to actually go on the London Eye, but even from afar the ferris wheel was majestic. Big Ben was quite on time. You can hear the chimes at the top of each hour from afar (even from my building!). One night, two other fellow bruins and I decided to climb the bridge looking over the Thames River in the dead of the night and the sight was so beautiful.

Oxford University

A friend and I took a 1.5 hr bus to take a tour of this top institution on a random weekend! Though we didn’t actually get to set foot in many of the colleges, the architecture from outside was still amazing. (Think Royce Hall meets Powell times infinity).


Well that’s a quick summary of a couple of the places I’ve been thus far in London! I’m so incredibly grateful to my parents and UCEAP for providing an opportunity for me to study in one of the greatest city in the world. I’m enjoying my time here and am quite sad that I only have two weeks left. London, you have truly taken my breath away with your fantabulous architecture and fast-paced lifestyle and men in suits. Now for midterms and finals…

Shoutouts to any Bruins abroad/ from abroad right now! Let me know where you’re from in the comments below. 🙂


A Cappella

Bruin Harmony--- Photo Credit: UCLA Image Library

UCLA has a vibrant music scene, boasting of over a dozen a cappella groups. I thought I’d give a quick breakdown of the groups here at UCLA for all ye acapeople 🙂

  • Single-sex A Cappella Groups:
    • All Male:
      • Bruin Harmony
    • All Female:
      • Random Voices
      • Signature A Cappella
      • Cadenza A Cappella
    • Co-Ed:
      • Awechords A Cappella
      • Resonance A Cappella
      • Awaken A Cappella
      • Scattertones A Cappella
      • Deviant Voices
      • Medleys A Cappella
      • Road to Damascus A Cappella (Christian A Cappella Group)
      • Youthphonics A Cappella (Service A Cappella Group)
      • TAU A Cappella (Mandarin Song A Cappella Group)
      • Naya Zamaana A Cappella (South Asian A Cappella Group)
      • SouLA A Cappella (Chinese A Cappella)
    • And more! There are a couple of unregistered-groups (or so I’ve heard) who are just starting out.

Each fall, (and also select groups during the winter and spring) these A Cappella groups on campus hold auditions to welcome new aca-talent into their ranks. Most of the a cappella groups have sign-ups available via, an inter-collegiate a cappella website. The audition process usually consists of an initial audition (where you show off your individual talent), and callbacks, where you will sing with the group to see how well you mesh with the group.

The audition process is generally quite laid back and can be a lot of fun. It vaguely resembles a rush process since most a cappella groups hold auditions all through the first week of fall quarter and it is common for auditionees to schedule auditions back-to-back. The first audition generally consists of vocal warmups (scales whatnot) to warm up your vocal chords and test your range, a verse or two from a song you choose yourself, tonal memory and/or sight reading and perhaps a couple of questions for fun.

After auditions, a group of auditionees will be invited back to callbacks. Callbacks are a mock-practice of sorts: auditionees are asked to learn music and sing with the group. Usually it is structured in a similar manner to the regular practices that each group has.

Why join A Cappella?

Regardless of the singing experience you have, I encourage anyone who is interested at singing at a collegiate level to audition! Whether you have a decade of professional singing under your belt or just a decade of belting out your favorite tunes in the shower, a cappella is a lot of fun, and you get to meet a bunch of people who share similar interests. It’s a great way to make friends and grow as a musician! I’ve had a blast singing with Awechords this year. In addition to creating lasting friendships (you see each other up to five hours or more each week), you’ll have the opportunity to perform at an assortment of gigs both on and off campus. For musicians looking for a more-portable instrument (I sure had to make a lot of sacrifices instrument-wise when I came to college), singing is definitely the way to go!


Good luck, choose a killer audition song that showcases all your aca-talent, and most importantly, have fun! I can’t wait to hear all of you during fall.

Bucket List: Freshman Year

Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

As the school year draws to a close, seniors in flowing graduation gowns can be seen all over campus, posing for graduation pictures. I can’t believe that my first year at UCLA is almost over (except for finals, bleh). As UCLA prepares to send off a fourth of its population off into the real world, it’s time to welcome the freshman class.

It’s hard to believe that a little less than a year ago, I was the bright-eyed freshman who stepped foot on this campus for the first time. The quarter system does move at a super fast pace, and it seems as though this year has just been a blur. Now it’s time to take a look back at a fraction of the bucket list I composed right after freshman orientation and see what items I’ve crossed off. I was inspired by a youtube clip I had watched shortly before I moved here 🙂

  1. Take part in the Color Run 2014(I ended up participating in Run or Dye with some good friends this May).
  2. Study abroad for one quarter + (I’m studying abroad in LSE this summer! I’ve never been to Europe before, and I’m counting down the days till I’m there!)
  3. Join an a cappella group  (Awechords A Cappella, you have given me the experience of a lifetime. I’m so glad I get to sing with you all for the rest of my college career!)
  4. Volunteer for an educational cause (Project WILD, Unicamp, I am so incredibly lucky to be able to volunteer with you)
  5. University Chorus, UCLA Chorale, Chamber (Performing in Royce was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had during my undergraduate career. As Dr.Neuen’s last choral class, getting to perform the Beethoven Mass inside UCLA’s best venue was incredible.)
  6. Tour Guide ( I served as a tour guide for Bruin Day! Despite getting stranded outside the elevator from my tour group and having to scour the building for them, it was an exhilarating experience)
  7. Experience Spring Sing (Best show ever!!! More to come on this later)
  8. Figure out what major I want to be (This actually turned out to be not that difficult once I was able to figure out what I was really passionate about!)
  9. Thanksgiving in Beverly Hills ( I had the fortune of dining with an alumni for Thanksgiving since I couldn’t go back home, thanks to the Dashew Center!
  10. Road Trip (LOL my friends from my floor dragged me to San Diego during Winter Quarter amid midterm craziness. I am so grateful they persuaded me, that was definitely an fun-filled adventure!)
  11. Learn something completely random  (Wow. I’ve taken a couple of classes purely for the sake of learning outside my academic career and they were some of the best courses I’ve taken thus far.)

So these were a couple of the things I’ve managed to cross off my list. The rest are little goals or checkpoints I will work towards during the future, and I’ll definitely keep on expanding the list! So for anyone looking to create a bucket list: be as deep, as insightful, or as crazy as you’d like: college is what you make out of it! Set a goal to take a random class, do something you never thought you’d do (like leap off a pole on the top of a mountain), meet some incredible people, and get ready for the ride of your life!


Photo Credit: Student Alumni Association/ UCLA Leadershape

This past spring break, I had the fortune of attending the Leadershape Institute in Malibu. This week has definitely been one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had so far in my undergrad career at UCLA!

The Leadershape Institute is a national program that is dedicated to developing new leaders in an intense six-day camp setting. At UCLA, this program is generously funded by the Alumni Association, and each year sixty student leaders are bundled off to the Glinding Hilltop Camp for an experience like never before! This year, as a freshman, I was fortunate enough to be able to have this experience!

Through various team building exercises, simulations, and careful discussions in smaller family clusters, we were introduced to concepts that we had not been probed to think about before. Not only were we encouraged to find our passion and develop our vision, but we were also challenged to push our boundaries while recognizing our strengths and GAGs (going against the grain), also known as room for improvement. One of the most incredible activities I got to experience was the challenge course, a three-story-tall series of poles designed to encourage us to step out of our comfort zones. I personally am terrified of heights, yet up at camp, with all the encouragement from my peers, I was able to scale a three story high pole, perch on a ledge with no safety railing, and swing off the edge, soaring high above the ocean. This was no doubt a breakthrough for me, and I found that I somehow had the strength and the determination to climb up to that height and swing off!

This whole experience has been incredibly amazing. The positive feedback I received on my vision for bringing affordable technology and education to impoverished areas was overwhelmingly supportive. The diverse group of individuals I’ve met— many of whom I would not have been able to meet simply because UCLA is such a big campus— has changed my perspective on life. I’ve not only gained a deeper insight of my leadership style but also a family that I know will be there to support me in my pursuit of my vision. These six days were intensely packed with carefully designed activities to stretch and push me, and I am forever grateful for the love and community this experience has bestowed upon me!



World In-Sight

Registration Booth— Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin


One of the things I love most about UCLA is the diversity. There are so many students with unique cultural backgrounds and different stories to tell!

This past Wednesday, I had the honor of putting on an inaugural mini world exposition for the UCLA community. As part of the “mastermind” team, I was able to see the process of bringing this concept into reality. World In-Sight was a campus fair dedicated to showcasing the diverse UCLA student body. By partnering with over twenty-five student groups, this fair featured nearly thirty different countries/cultures through interactive games, booths, and performances! After months of hard work preparing, it was such a great feeling to see the whole idea coming into being.

Thailand Booth—Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin

I think part of the reason why I wanted to join the WIS team was because of my background. Since I come from Taiwan, a small island off the coast of Taiwan, I’ve encountered many people who (albeit well-meaning) still have various misconceptions about my culture. This fair was a small step in the direction of introducing people to different cultures and creating a platform that would hopefully introduce cross-cultural dialogue! When I took a break from the registration booth to “tour the world” and snap a couple of photos, I was amazed by all the hard work that the student groups had put into their booths. At the Malaysian booth, my friend was performing ridiculous pouring feats while making Teh Tarik (pulled tea) and another friend was drawing intricate henna tattoos; at the English booth they had a live DJ and amazing artwork; at the French booth the delicious smell of crepes wafted out, Thailand and Cambodia had students in beautiful traditional clothing…

Malaysian Booth Teh Tarik (Pulled Tea)—-Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin
Yukai Daiko (Japanese Drums) Performance—Photo Credit: Cheechee Lin


After coming to UCLA, I’ve truly come to appreciate the world a lot more. I’ve come to learn that everybody has a story to tell, and that there is so much out there for me to learn. World In-Sight definitely gave me some insight into different cultures, and I was truly honored to have been able to serve as the marketing director for this event. I can’t wait until we reprise the event next year, hopefully with an even more diverse representation!


Hello World!

Photo Credit: Project WILD UCLA


Hi everyone, I’m Cheechee, the newest contributor to the UCLA Life Blog! I am thrilled to be writing for you all and I really hope that my posts will help shed some light on the day-to-day life at UCLA. Coming here was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that this institution has bestowed upon me.

A little bit about me: I’m a first year hoping to study Communication Studies with a specialization in Computing! I truly feel that human interaction is a wondrous thing and I value the power of being able to communicate well with others. I am particularly interested in the Internet and its impact on society as well as education, and my vision is to someday bring technology to all parts of the world. In my spare time, I sing in Awechords A Cappella as well as the University Chorale and volunteer with UCLA Unicamp and Project WILD (a volunteer project that tutors kids from immigrant families). I also serve as the marketing director for World In-Sight, a mini world exposition devoted to showcasing all the diverse cultures of the student body here at UCLA (more posts to come on this soon!). Career wise, I work as the research assistant for the Center for the Digital Future, which is currently focusing on a study researching the effects of the Internet, and the UCLA English Department, where I am assisting a professor in his study on Anthony Hecht. I love music and kids, and I am thrilled that UCLA has so many student organizations that align with my interests.

I was born in San Jose, CA and moved to Taipei, Taiwan when I was ten, attending local schools there. This unique life experience has blessed me with a strong proficiency in Mandarin, and though overcoming the language barrier was initially challenging, it was also life changing and gave me a much deeper understanding of my heritage. This identity has also proven to be confusing at times, as I never have the answer to “Where are you from?” or “Are you international?”. Yet I wouldn’t give up my background for the world! I am forever grateful to the unforeseen circumstances in my life that allowed me to be acquainted with my culture!

UCLA truly has been an amazing experience so far. Though I’m super involved and busy all the time, I still find the time to balance between my various extracurriculars, schoolwork, and friends. The quarter system does move at a super fast pace, but I’ve discovered that it’s helped me become more efficient at various tasks. I can’t wait to see what the next three years will bring me, and I am so excited to share with you all the stories of my journey through college and beyond.

Well that’s about it for now 🙂 and I really look forward to writing for you all! Comment below, I love getting messages 😀