Roadtrip to Berkeley for the Cal game

 

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This past weekend Bruins mobbed out to Berkeley for our football game against Cal. My group of friends left on Friday afternoon to start our adventure. On the way up, we passed winnebagos upon winnebagos of UCLA students, already pumped up for the game and cheering outside of the windows on the 5 freeway. We stayed at a friend’s place right next to Berkeley campus for the night and ran into Bruins when we went out for dinner, where we proceeded to 8-clap in the middle of all Berkeley students. It was awesome. On Saturday we tailgate hopped before the game and WATCHED THE BRUINS WIN. That night we relocated to a friend’s place about 30 minutes away, in San Francisco. He just graduated in the Spring and was a great host for our little reunion! Finally, on Sunday we had brunch and headed back to the best campus around- UCLA. After a long weekend and a great win, it’s good to be home!

Marina Del Rey

One other fun place close to Westwood is Marina Del Rey. It’s only a 20 minute drive a little south of Santa Monica and there’s a ton of fun things to do. UCLA Recreation even has its very own aquatic center there, where students can go kayaking, rowing, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, surfing and windsurfing. To celebrate some of the last days of summer, me and a couple of my friends decided to go stand up paddle boarding. We didn’t go with UCLA recreation, but we did find a sweet Groupon for a 2 hour rental under 30 dollars! We had a lovely day beating the heat on the water.

Bruins ‘Till the Day We’re Dead

One my favorite parts about Fall quarter is the football games. Every home game tons of students mob out to the Rose Bowl hours before it starts to tailgate and get pumped to cheer on our Bruins. Although the Rose Bowl is a bit of a drive from Westwood, there is a bus that leaves from campus the day of the game and transports students to and from the stadium. It’s a really fun ride! Student groups also organize a bunch of carpools and busses to get to the game, which is also a ton of fun. This last Saturday we had our “blackout game” where all the football players, cheerleaders and fans wore black bruin gear to black out the stadium. We played Washington and won 41 – 31! We’re now prepared to beat the Sun Devils next weekend, and even more importantly the Trojans the week after that. GO BRUINS!

 

UCLA Football!

Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics (http://www.uclabruins.com/fls/30500/pdf/FB_Rosters_DepthChart13.pdf?SPID=126913&DB_OEM_ID=30500)

After a busy week of midterms there is no better way to let off some steam than attending a UCLA football game! UCLA is known for its incredible athletics. We have more NCAA championships than any school in nation (109) and pride ourselves on having amazing athletes in a variety of sports. Football games are one of a UCLA student’s favorite events to attend. This past Saturday we played Colorado on our home field, and our bruins did not disappoint!

UCLA football practices at UCLA but the actual games take place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Going to the Rose Bowl is an experience it its self. Getting out of Westwood with a huge number of bruins is always a fun experience. The Rose Bowl is massive with a capacity of 92,543 students. The student section is always a fun place to be. You are surrounded my friends, classmates, and fellow bruins all cheering on their team. The stands are also filled with alumni, parents of bruins, and of course loyal fans from the community.

Having a college football team was definitely an influencing factor in considering UCLA. Athletics offer students the chance to step away from the academics and be proud of their school for a different reason. The level of spirit at UCLA is truly remarkable. I remember visiting and noticing every other person wearing a UCLA sweatshirt or shirt. Football games bring the level of spirit to a whole new level! A popular option among students is to purchase a den pass for a 100 dollars for the entire year. This gets students access to every football game and basketball game.
As midterms continue and the quarter heats up, I want to shout out to our amazing athletic teams that remind us why we love our school. They are truly incredible to watch and I have to admit, seeing ex-classmates now on TV playing for the NFL is pretty cool!

Fall means Retreat!

 

At UCLA, the best part of being in clubs is getting to know people and working together for a common cause.  Being in a club or two also means retreats! It’s only week 5 and I have already been on a retreat this quarter.  The first one was with the Academic Affairs Commission (part of USAC) which is a new club for me to be involved in.

The AAC retreat was at the beach with about 25 people. The retreat provided great bonding time, friendships, and coffee.

Going on retreats can be a big leap of faith. It can be intimidating to go to a retreat with people you don’t know and it can be difficult to take time away from studying. Regardless, retreats are always a good idea. Why?

  • They provide a chance to get out of the city and do some exploring!
  • You can make a ton of new friends
  • …or deepen friendships with old ones!
  • You can connect with people who have similar passions and interests
  • They help you feel more connected and invested in the organization as a whole
  • Ice breakers make everyone come out of their comfort zone
  • Road trips to retreats are where memories are made!
  • Who wouldn’t want to study for midterms at the beach or in the mountains?

What ever your club is and whatever your reservations are…retreats are a blast! Take a chance: find a club and go on a retreat!

Dodgers Stadium

 

Before coming to LA, I made a bucket list of things I want to do in LA that I never had a chance to do anywhere else. Recently, I crossed off one of them: watching a game at the Dodgers Stadium.

I never was a sports-watcher before coming to college. I did play/do multiple sports throughout my life, such as swimming, basketball, volleyball, ballet, and even gymnastics! But I never understood the point of watching games. The whole point of sports is to get some physical exercise off of it. If you are just sitting in front of the TV with a plate of wings and beer and just watching people play the game, you are not gaining anything except a few pounds around your waist. Well, at least that’s how I had felt about sports PRIOR to going to this game.

Going to the Dodgers Stadium changed my perspective on sports. Now I see why there are millions of people watching sports every night and I see why people are willing to pay over a hundred dollars to go watch a game.

Thanks to my boyfriend, a devout Dodgers fan, I got a chance to go to one of Dodgers games. I have to say, it was a whole lot different than what I had expected. First of all, I had no idea that stadiums were that big. I mean,,I knew they had to be big, but not THAT big. That Dodgers Stadium could fit over 55,000 people! Could you imagine how packed the parking lots were? There were so many cars there that we almost couldn’t find our way to the car after the game. Secondly, how do they keep the grass so green? It looked like every leaf of grass was grown and cut to perfection. And who would have thought there were that many varieties of hot dogs and burgers? It would take me years if I wanted to try them all.

It was definitely a good game to watch at the stadium, with Dodgers hitting multiple home-run’s and winning the game. And now that I got myself a Dodgers cap, I am now officially a Dodgers fan.

Let’s go LA Dodgers!

Leap of Faith

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I really love the outdoors and adventures.  After a week of being flyered and seeing old friends, all while starting classes, this weekend my friends and I were able to go on an incredibly spontaneous adventure in Angeles National Forest.

At 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, one of my friends ran to my apartment (from just down the hall), yelled “Cliff jumping in 5 minutes, come!”, before quickly leaving.  After standing there a moment in indecision, I put on my bathing suit and packed a hiking bag.  A few minutes later, we were on our way to Glendale/Arcadia area and made our way up a mountain.  After a few questions about whether or not we would make it before it got too cold or before the sun got too low, we began our hike.  The hike itself was not very long, but the last bit required some actual rock climbing.  With shadows falling heavily on the mountain, we made it to the pool of water!

The water was cold. Very cold.  While the sun was still in the sky, the pool was not in direct sunlight.  After putting our feet in, my friends and I chuckled nervously.  Had we come all that way for nothing?  We decided that we would all get into the water, no matter what it took!  Each of my friends jumped off a small rock into the freezing cold water.  I was the last one, but I did it!  When first hitting the water, it wasn’t that bad…but after 30 seconds in the water I had to get out!  Next we tackled the 20 foot cliff!

It was such a fun adventure (and a great way to start senior year)! The water was cold and it was a bit scary, but so are a lot of things in life.  This year I hope to jump off more cliffs (both literally and metaphorically)!

Free Kayaking!

I don’t know if you can tell, but I love the outdoors! I love running, hiking, going to the beach, and now….KAYAKING!

UCLA students get two free hours of kayaking down at the Marina Del Rey Aquatics Center.  This is something that I’ve heard about numerous times, but have never taken advantage of.  Recently my friends and I went down to Marina Del Rey to try out this free kayaking and it was awesome!  There was free parking, easy sign in, a locker room, and life vests all provided for us.  Once we were ready to get in the water, our friend who works there helped us get our kayaks off the dock and sent us off!

We got to kayak all around the marina.  We had to watch out for boats, other kayakers, and paddle boarders, but that was all a part of the adventure.  It was definitely a workout, but I also got a great tan.  I brought a waterproof camera, so we got to document our experience as well.  About an hour into our time, some of my friends got really tired so we just held on to each other’s kayaks and float for a while.  Once we were ready to get back to kayaking, we explored a bit more and made our way to a nearby beach.  Finally, we had to head back.  Lifting the kayaks out of the water was much more difficult after two hours of kayaking, but we made it!

I wish I had taken advantage of this free kayaking sooner, but I have the rest of the summer and next year to go again!

Not so Gloomy Afterall!

In LA we may not get extreme weather, but we do experience a natural phenomenon known as “June Gloom”.  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, June Gloom refers to the spring/summer cloud cover that happens most mornings in June.  This may not sound all that extreme, but the weather in the mornings looks entirely different from weather in the afternoons.  While it rarely stays cloudy for the entire day, the cloud cover reappears every morning, regardless of how clear it was the night before.  Even though it is July, we are experiencing some June Gloom residuals even now.

While June Gloom sounds terrible and…well…gloomy, it’s really not that bad!  I don’t know about you, but I hate waking up in the morning feeling sweaty.  It leaves me feeling lethargic and slow.  When it is cloudy in the mornings (and consequently cooler) I am able to enjoy my cup of coffee better.  June Gloom also makes runs a lot better!  This morning I was able to go running at 7:30am and did not feel like I was sweating buckets.  Cloud cover makes running the hilly perimeter quite enjoyable!  Last week when I talked about hiking, we experienced some June Gloom but our hike was fantastic!

All that being said, June Gloom does not get in the way of all of the fun things to do in LA (even when it persists into July)!  You can still get tan (and burned) when there is a cloud cover…so make sure you wear sun screen!  I have been to the beach four times over this last week and a half.  Each time it was cloudy and each time it cleared up by the afternoon.  This past weekend we even saw dolphins swimming within 50 feet of the shore in Santa Monica!  If I had to pick between June Gloom and swimming with dolphins, I’d pick dolphins.

Conclusion: June (Okay…July) Gloom does make for cooler weather, but that’s what happens when you live so close to the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  It’s such a bummer to have to see dolphins on a cloudy day or enjoy a cool run at a reasonable time in the morning.  I guess you have to make sacrifices wherever you live, right?

Hikes and Hobbies

One hobby that I never thought I would discover and develop while in LA is hiking.  When most people think of LA they imagine the beach, downtown, Hollywood, and other LA landmarks.  While all of these iconic places are part of what makes LA so unique, we also are blessed to be surrounded by several wonderful mountain ranges!

I grew up hiking with my family in Colorado, but I never thoroughly enjoyed it.  Colorado is known for it’s mountains and for hiking, but I could not appreciate it at all.   I was always the child dragging my feet and wondering when we would get to the top so that we could start the hike back down.  I’m sure my dad felt like he was pulling teeth to get my siblings and I to go on even a short afternoon hike.

Since coming to LA three years ago now, I have discovered that hiking can be fun and that I do actually enjoy it!  I have been on tons of hikes in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and Santa Monica.  Whenever I go on club retreats to the mountains, I take every opportunity I can to go hiking.  One of the great things about hiking in LA is that no matter where you go (on the west side anyways) the top always has an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean!

Last Saturday, I organized a hike with a group of friends who are around for the summer.  We hiked near Pacific Palisades on a trail called Los Liones.  You know you are hiking in LA when there is a real parking lot at the trail head! We met some friendly people at the bottom of the trail who took a picture for our group then told us that they were taking an alternative route and would race us to the top.  We ended up winning!

The hike was 7.3 miles there and back.  We began at 8:45am and got to enjoy an overcast but warm day.  We had a view of the ocean throughout the entire hike! It was awesome!

I am looking forward to doing a couple more hikes in LA this summer!  More importantly though, I am looking forward to the end of summer when my friends and I are going to Colorado to my grandparents cabin for a whole week of hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  If you had told me that I would be going to Colorado to voluntarily hike for 5 days when I was ten, I would not have believed you.  I would believe you even less if you told me it had been my idea!

Thanks to all my LA hikes and my upcoming Colorado trip, I finally got my own pair of hiking boots!