Welcome to my life at UCLA!

Hi everyone! My name is Jamie and I am super stoked to share with the world my wonderful experience here at UCLA. Spring quarter has just began, and after a fun filled and relaxing week of spring break, I am so ready to be back on campus.

Before I begin my regular posts, I’ll tell you all a little bit about myself. I am currently a sophomore here at UCLA majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in Education. So far, I am really loving the classes for my major and minor! I am super into education and ever since elementary school I have wanted to become a teacher.

I am from the very small town of Littlerock, California (no, not Arkansas!) which is located in the Antelope Valley about an hour north and inland from Los Angeles. In high school, I knew basically everyone in my graduating class so part of the reason why I chose UCLA was because I wanted a change and I wanted to be able to meet tons of new people. Being at UCLA, I got that and even more- not only have I met so many new people, but everyone is so unique and from all different areas of the world, and they all have their own goals and aspirations and involvements on and off campus. Basically, everyone here is pretty amazing in their own way and I absolutely love that about UCLA.

Here on campus, I have really been able to feed my interest in education by getting involved with education-related activities. I have a job through Americorps Jumpstart where I go to a local preschool for underprivileged students twice a week and tutor them. We also do things like family involvement events where we plan after-school activities to get the children’s families excited about their education and a literacy fair where we hand out free books (since many of the families we serve do not own them). Besides Jumpstart, I also have a job as a Bruin Ambassador where I visit local high schools and walk the students through the UC application process while also letting them know what UCLA has to offer its students and sharing my experience at UCLA with the students. I absolutely love how rewarding and fun both of my jobs are- it’s kind of like I’m not really working at all!

Besides working, I also volunteer on campus. I am a member of UCLA UniCamp, a student-run organization that fundraises money to send underprivileged children from the greater Los Angeles to summer camp for a week. Up at camp last year, I was a counselor for twelve middle school girls and we did tons of character building activities and many things none of them have ever been able to do before in the city- like mountain biking and fishing! Besides the connection you make with the campers, you also make a connection with the UCLA students that do UniCamp and are training with you and up in the mountains with you and you end up making really close life-long friends. This was one of the greatest experiences I have had at UCLA so far.

I also volunteered to participate in UCLA’s very own Dance Marathon this year. Dance Marathon is basically a 26-hour long dance party among UCLA students to raise money to help fight pediatric AIDS. During these 26 hours you must be on your feet and awake the whole time! At the end, though everyone was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, some of the families and children we helped all said very sincere thank-yous to us which was extremely rewarding. This was also one of the most amazing experiences I have had so far here at UCLA.

Even though I have been doing all of these super fun involvements, I realized I still had some free time (crazy, right?) this year and decided to rush a sorority. At the end of Fall recruitment this year, I became a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and have absolutely loved it so far. We have a big philanthropy event every year called Lion’s Cup, which is a huge soccer tournament between different fraternities and sororities on campus and all the money we raise goes towards our official charity, The Ronald McDonald House. We also do a bunch of other volunteer activities for the Ronald McDonald House, like this Sunday we will be participating in their 5K Walk for Kids in Los Angeles. I can’t wait! Besides philanthropy, we do a ton of social events (last quarter we played “broomball”- a game where you wear tennis shoes on ice and play hockey with brooms and a ball!), sisterhood, academic, and networking activities, like our Career Day we just had, where some of our alumni came to our house and told us about their current professions.

That’s just a little bit about myself, and I hope to tell you more about the amazing life here at UCLA in my future posts!

Happy Holidays from Undergraduate Admissions!

Christmas Tree---Photo Credit: Deborah Wong

Happy Holidays  from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions!

In observance of the Winter Holiday, our student bloggers will be taking a break from blogging from December 22, 2012 to January 1, 2013. They will resume blogging the first week of January.

We hope you have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Thank you,

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions


UCLA Athletics offers several clinics and summer camps throughout the year in fifteen sports for pre-collegiate athletes. They serve as potential recruiting opportunities, or just a fun activity for a young kid to try. This past weekend I coached and counseled at the gymnastics camp. Counseling at UCLA was a larger responsibility then my previous experience at Woodward, mainly since UCLA is an open campus, it is necessary to watch the kiddos at all times. Ages varied from seven to high school aged kids.

Since Yates Gym is under construction this summer to build a new locker room, we built an entire gym in Collins Court for the duration of camp. Man, was set up tiring. I spent over seven hours moving equipment into a building, placing mats in the correct position and putting springs in a trampoline. I cannot describe how sore I was the next day, but there was no time to dwell on that since camp started!

Campers arrived early the next morning and we rushed them to the gym. After two days of workouts, we had a skit night and dance party. Overall, camp was a great experience and another opportunity for us to show how great UCLA is to future Bruins.

Go Bruins!

Good bye Spring, HELLO SUMMER!!!

Yup, you read it right people. I am officially saying good bye to Spring quarter, and I’m saying a BIG HELLO to Summer!!! 🙂 Just turned in my last lab notebook and lab report, which officially marks the end of my Spring classes. Woohoooo!!

Spring quarter as for many of us – or at least for me – has been the hardest quarter of the year 😦 Maybe it’s because it’s the end of school year, maybe it’s because there is only a 1 week break from Winter to Spring, or maybe it’s just the fact that I am tired already by the time Spring comes around. But nevertheless, Spring is over and I can proudly say that I finished it strongly in all my classes and my midterms and my finals – all those a scary battle!!

For a lot of us the end of Spring marks an end but I also say that it marks a new beginning for some of us. For those of us that are staying at school, it marks the end of one school year and beginning of the fun of Summer. But for the others, it marks a new chapter, a new beginning in their life where they leave UCLA or any school that they’ve been at for the last couple years and prepare to dive in to the real world out there. I have to say I’m such a cry baby. I will be crying for my friends that are graduating: I’m crying because  I’m sad that they’re no longer at UCLA but I’m also happy and proud of them for what they’v been through and have done.

I was dropping my notebook a couple hours ago at school, and the school was filled with excitement, balloons, flowers, smiling students, and parents. You could see the proud looks in each of parents’ faces and  the happiness and joy in each students’ face!!

Some of my friends from the College Letter and Science are graduating tonight, and some of my friends from the School of Engineering are graduating tomorrow. For all of you graduates, CONGRATULATIONS and I wish you all the very best from my heart!! And I’m proud to be able to call and meet you all as a friends!! 🙂

And for the rest of the Bruins, HAPPY SUMMER!! 🙂

Just the Beginning

This upcoming week is my last week at UCLA…it is so eerie just to type that out. Just three years ago, I was just about to graduate high school and discover college land. I was so scared. Three years later, I am in the same position. I am about to graduate college and moving on to a big boy job- become a teacher. I am set to work for Teach for America as a corps member and teacher in California. I am excited and scared at the same time.

I want to take this LAST post as an opportunity to express my thanks to all the readers and every one who has had an impact in my life while at UCLA. Because of all of you, I am a better person today. As I graduate, I want to move on, create even better memories, and live happily. I know that sounds so broad but I am in the move to do just that.

For those of us graduating, I am so proud of us!!! Really, I am! Couldn’t be more excited for the next phase of our lives! Those whom I have met while attending UCLA have been a true blessing in my life. I am the Manny I am today because of all of you guys. Attending UCLA made my life a happier one. I run my life through the word “fabulous.” Anytime anyone makes a reference using fabulous and my name is just precious. I take it to heart. Fabulous to me is so empowering and endearing in everything I do, and in return, what I hope people see out of me.

This year has brought a lot of changes, both good and bad, in my life and a lot of my friend’s lives. But I am so proud to say we are all still here, fighting our causes and ending our school year on a high note. Our faith has brought us together and made us so much stronger. It brings me so much happiness to know that despite everything that has happened in our lives we are still standing and not letting our circumstances get the best of us.

I try to live every day to its fullest, without regrets. My goal is to be a happy person and make myself and others around me smile. How do I do that you may ask? Or how do I imagine I am capable of that? Well, its quite simple. Life is hard in itself easily. But it is goal of mine to overcome those obstacles and be a winner out of everything and anything I do. That is why, my ultimate goal is to laugh and make others laugh, which bring smiles from both sides :^D. Why should we let our downfalls get the best out of who we are today? It should be our goal to be happy and live life to the fullest EVERY DAY. As we graduate, it is important that we take that with ourselves in our lives after UCLA. We all go through different things in different times. It is what we make out of our unforeseen circumstances that make us who we are. Our hardest battles make us so much stronger than does that do not challenge us to think or act.

Therefore, we should make the best out of every challenge we may find. Smile on, I dare you. Try it at least once, I ask of you. Some say smiles are contagious. Well, I also say they are addictive. Do it once, and you’ll do it again and again. Psh, it’s hard to be fabulous! But what is life without a challenge? What is life without a little bit of a struggle? Once the dust settles, comes sunshine, :). You’ll see, trust me. There is a beginning to every end. That is the absolute beauty of it! It is up to US to bring about that marvelous change and beginning out of every opportunity we get. I leave you guys on this note in my last blog post.

Life is beautiful, do not ever forget that. It is filled with beautiful and marvelous people who make it that much more fabulous. Lets be grateful for what we have and not for what we do not have. Lets think positive and make possibilities happen. With this, I leave you all! Actually, I let you begin your new opportunity to smile…:)

Until next time, be fabulous! xoxo

Manny 🙂

Princeton Ly – Savings

With college costs rising every year, students need all the help they can get to save money.  I recently started using NerdWallet’s* tools, and it has helped save me a few hundred dollars a year (and lots of time).  I thought I’d share some of the things I learned to help save you money.

1) Checking accounts with no fees

Free checking is difficult to find these days.  Banks often charge a monthly fee that can easily end up costing over $100 a year, especially since most of us don’t meet qualifications to waive the fee (direct depositing, maintaining absurdly high balances minimums).  Moreover, frequent withdrawals from an ATM not associated with your bank will cost you a few dollars each time.  Before you know it, you’ve paid the bank $130 each year, just for holding your hard-earned cash.

Luckily, there still seem to be some checking accounts left that won’t charge you for everything you do.  Based on my answers to their questionnaire, NerdWallet’s checking tool recommended Citibank’s* Student Account, which doesn’t charge any monthly fees or out-of-network ATMs fees.  Now you can go eat at Westwood’s cash only places (Diddy Riese!) and not have to worry about paying unnecessary fees.

2) Rewards credit card

Having a good credit card can also help save you money.  As a student, my biggest expenses are food and textbooks – every quarter I spend a few hundred dollars on the former and a few hundred on the latter.  Little did I know, I could have been using a credit card and getting 5% back in rewards for all those purchases. For example, there are credit cards for students that will give you 5% rewards on books (including Amazon!), movies, music, and dining out. You can even use the rewards points to help pay off student loans.  To sign up, you need either a steady source of income or a co-signer (a parent).  Just be sure you pay off your balance in full every month, or the interest will end up costing you. (Oh, and if you’re interested in a card with low APR, there’s a tool for that too!)

Lastly, if you want to learn more about how to manage your finances, NerdWallet has an excellent primer here.

Good luck!


 *NerdWallet, Inc. and Citibank are not endorsed by, the University of California Los Angeles.

Weather Confusion

It’s been awhile since my last blog about the weather so here we go again. I walked to the gym and it was slightly raining. I left the gym and the rain had stopped. I walked to class and needed to take my sweatshirt off because it was sunny! (note: It was 8:30 am). After finishing my classes at 2, I was a bit bothered by wind, but regardless it was typical LA sunshine. I began driving on the freeway with my sunglasses on. All the sudden it starts raining with the sun still going. I get out of the car a few minutes later and it was completely dry at my new location. In my effort to think positively, my fear of additional rainfall wet kept me inside studying…

On a separate note, I took a weekend trip to Arkansas, yes you read that right, Arkansas, and now have a new found appreciation for the state. It was green and beautiful. I enjoyed wonderful morning jogs with some fellow Bruins, passing by open fields with horses grazing. However, I certainly enjoyed returning to the high speed nature of LA after a few days! Successful trip: Bruins qualified to Nationals.

Happy Bruin Day– Here is to a day of sunshine for all you future Bruins!

Go Bruins!    

Princeton Ly – UCLA Trivia

Did you know that the most successful Division I coach in NCAA history is UCLA’s Al Scates, with a record 19 NCAA men’s volleyball titles? Scates is believed to be the only current NCAA coach to have won titles in five decades, starting in the 1960’s!

Did you know that Campbell Hall was originally built to house a home economics program?

Did you know that UCLA has approximately 24,000 parking spots?

UCLA is an amazing place with some fascinating (and some quirky!) history. How much do you actually know about UCLA? Test your knowledge here and here, and prove yourself a True Bruin!

Need to brush up? Don’t worry, I have some cheat sheets that have your name all over them! Learn about our storied athletic programs here, how to sing our fight songs here, a little more about our history here, and our time-honored traditions here.

Bonus round: Go adventuring on campus on a sunny day and find our very own Founder’s Rock!

Worrying about college admissions?

Winter really is here! It’s hard to tell in Los Angeles when the weather reporter is constantly saying 75 degrees and sunny, but no! The rain was in full force today. Aside from that, today I want to tell you readers a little bit about the different events that UCLA organizes for its prospective first-year students. I know you are all extremely anxious, nervous, excited, and losing hours of sleep at night (hopefully not) awaiting decision letters from colleges, but have no fear because you still have a couple more months of waiting so you mite as well stop worrying right now. Right now.  I mean it. Instead, you should look forward to all the great events UCLA has to offer.

My favorite event was definitely Bruin Day! Bruin Day is when UCLA rolls out the red carpet for all of its admitted first-year students and invites you to spend a beautiful Saturday here on campus. There are lots of presentations and workshops to attend as well as tours of the campus and the dorms. You and your family can also experience a meal at one of the highly praised dining halls for a discounted price. I still remember Bruin Day with my family. It was awesome and really helped me decide whether or not I wanted to attend UCLA.

Basically, what I really want to tell all who are awaiting admission decisions is no matter which college you are accepted to, you achieved task 1. You applied to college and that’s a big step. Many high school students end up not applying to universities for various reasons and it’s an accomplishment to take that step towards furthering your education. So congrats.  Also, no matter what colleges you have on your little list of “The Best Schools in the World that I want to call home”, it’s a great thing to have UCLA as one of your choices. I’m not just saying this because I attend UCLA; I’m saying this because it opens a lot of doors. UCLA Alumni take care of their alma mater and are always looking for ways to give back. It’s a pretty amazing network system that’s available to students here. That’s just one of the reasons that I decided to attend here.

Regardless of where you decide to attend (you still have plenty of time), just know that you should be proud of yourself and know that there are tons of opportunities awaiting you, so keep up the good work. There’s a lot to think about in the coming months, but ONLY think about them. Don’t worry. The admissions team is working extremely hard reading the applications from every applicant, all 91,512 of you.  Just ponder and have sweet dreams about what life will be like in a year when you’re a first-year college student.

UCLA #1 in number of applications… again!


It was recently revealed that we are again the most-applied-to four-year university in the United States, with our record-breaking 91,512 applications this past fall.  This is a 12.7% increase from last year’s 81,235, and the largest increase came from traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups, signifying that we are diversifying and bringing in new perspectives and cultures more than ever before.  Such a diverse environment is surely beneficial for Bruins who are being prepared by UCLA, for the real world that is full of differing opinions and opposing views.  The increase of out-of-state and international freshman applications (by 57.8%) promises the potential for plenty of cultural exchange.  It’s not surprising that so many students want to be a part of this great opportunity!

Go Bruins!