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!

First Year, Transfer, and Continuing Students

Can you guys believe that there is less than 1 month before school starts again and we’ll kick off Fall quarter???? This summer  has been going super fast!!

Soon enough, we will meet a lot of new Bruins joining our big family whether they are first year or transfer students. It is always an exciting thing, at least for me, to get to meet new people. Not only will I meet new Bruins in our big family, I will also get to meet new Bruin Ambassadors in less than one month!! 🙂 This program has taught me a lot and definitely make me love UCLA even more and appreciate what I have been able to achieve here in UCLA.

One cool thing that I found is this page on Facebook that is dedicated to all the Bruins, whether you are first year, transfer, or continuing students: https://www.facebook.com/UCLAStudentExperience . If you haven’t been to this page, check it out and like it!! 🙂 You’ll find tons of fun activities and events going on throughout the campus as soon as school starts! It is one of the best way to keep yourself updated about what is going on in the campus!!

Anyway, let me know what’s your favorite summer fun you’ve had so far before we start Fall in a flash 😉

My friend Ruth

Throughout the past two years, I have been able to know one of the most influential and fabulous people ever. She started out as my supervisor/boss but is now my full fledged friend. Her name is Ruth. She does an amazing job at supervising the Bruin Ambassador Program; the program wouldn’t be where it is today because of her. Just imagine managing a group of STUDENTS acting as recruitment resources for the most applied to school in the nation! How amazing is that?!?! Every day, I am completely amazed at how down to earth and amazing she is.

I decided to dedicate this blog to her because she is just simply inspiring. She has helped me learn and grow so much as a person. She has provided me with one of the most amazing opportunities I could have ever been involved in- be a coordinator for the Bruin Ambassador Program. I “owe” a lot to her. As a supervisor for BAP, she has done so much for all of us. She has showed us all that she really care for the success of the program but most of all for us the students who bust our butts every day to get those resources out there! She has shown me that she is more to me than just a supervisor. She is someone who I can turn to for advice and guidance. This year has been one of the hardest years personally and yet she has made it so amazing.

It scares me to think that most likely, for sure, most definitely I will never have a supervisor as amazing as Ruth. But I look forward to the many, many more memories I will make with her! She is just simply flawless and of course, FABULOUS!

Somethings bruin out-of-state!

Some of the other bloggers have already written about Bruin Day, but I can offer a unique experience as an out of state student. When I was deciding whether or not to attend UCLA there was no Bruin Day. I really wish there had been, because Bruin Day is an amazing day. I could not believe the amount of pride and Bruin spirit that was present the entire day. There were so many student volunteers who rolled out of bed around 6 am on a Saturday in order to get down to Bruin Day and help out. I am sure the reason they did this was the same reason I did, and the same reason why I am a Bruin Ambassador. They love UCLA and love any opportunity to share that love and passion. My day started out at the hospitality tent where I checked people in by giving them their schedules for the day and answering question. Just from my very brief interactions with admitted students, I was struck by the excitement, nervousness, and diversity of these students. I was often asked the same question “where do I start?” Or “what do I do?” Many people remarked that they felt overwhelmed by everything and slightly lost. I laughed when people said this because for me Bruin Day is the perfect example of UCLA in a nut shell. The day offered many opportunities and things to do, but there was nobody who told you exactly what to do in what order, or how to do things. Of course there was help everywhere you looked, but it was up to the students and their families to take advantage of the opportunities offered, just like student life at UCLA.
Without a doubt, the highlight for me of the day was getting to participate in the out of state panels. I am always excited when I meet an out of stater at UCLA especially ones from the east coast, so when I got to interact with so many on Bruin Day, I really enjoyed the experience. UCLA is letting in more and more out of staters and international students which I am really happy about, but it is difficult to convince people to leave home and go so far away. I relish the opportunity to share my experience of going to the opposite coast and making it my home. I loved Bruin Day, and I love UCLA. Go Bruins!!!

United on Bruin Day

This past Saturday UCLA held Bruin Day to welcome and introduce our campus to incoming Bruins that will officially start school this Fall. I worked the event on behalf of Bruin Ambassadors and I cannot say how excited and thrilled I was to welcome some of our new Bruins home. UCLA has had such a positive and marvelous impact in my life and I couldn’t be happier to share my experiences with all the new Bruins. My pride in UCLA stands in the fact of how diverse it is. I am so proud to call myself a Bruin and attend one of the very best institutions in the United States. Call me biased but I seriously believe UCLA is one of the very best all-around institutions in the world. I’ve met some of the most amazing individuals ever on this campus. Everyday that I step into campus provides me with the opportunity to learn something new and become a more knowledgeable person. To call myself a senior on Bruin Day gave me chills with just how fast time has flown. During the next 8 weeks I will fully embrace my time here as a Bruin. After all, our Undergraduate years are known as the Best Years of Our Lives!!!!!!!!

Bruin Day and Engineering Open House Weekend

This last weekend was such an exciting and tiring weekend in the same time!! On Saturday, we had Bruin Day where we expecting 15,000 people coming to UCLA!!! That’s an insane number of people, but it was so much fun!!! I get to meet a lot of the future Bruins along with their parents. They were all very excited to be a Bruin, and ready to explore more as the Bruin Day went on. There were hundreds of booths from different departments, majors, student clubs and organizations. I was working at one of the Hospitality Tents where we handed out the programs, maps, and UCLA Bru!n Day bags. I can’t lie that I was dead tired at the end of the day, but it was so rewarding. It was such a pleasure, and was so exciting to meet all these enthusiastic and happy freshmen. I got to know some of their stories when they came in the morning: some of them had just got off the plane where others took the train to come to  Bruin Day! Again it made me  realize what a privilege I have to go to UCLA and to be a Bruin!!

I also gave a campus tour along with other Bruin Ambassadors. I was pretty nervous in the beginning. I was really scared at the possibility of the students and their parents not enjoying the tour. Luckily, it went really well. I ended up enjoying giving the tour, and it felt really good to be able to share my experience and story about UCLA to the parents and freshmen. Bruin Day ended around 4pm – 5pm. It was really such a blast to be able to experience Bruin Day. When I came as a transfer student, I didn’t get the chance to attend Bruin Day; however, when I was working on Saturday, I could feel the excitement and the pride that all these freshmen have in becoming future Bruins!!!

The next day, on Sunday, I came back to school to volunteer for the Engineering Open House. I specifically volunteered for the Bio-Engineering Open House. It was yet another unique and fun experience to do the open house. Again as a transfer student, I didn’t get a chance to experience the open house. I believe that Open House is a really great idea to welcome freshmen, and also inform them more about the department and the program that they were admitted to. The students and their parents were very excited to be at UCLA, and met and talked with the faculty and students, who are continuing to medical school, dental school, and graduate programs. We also did a tradition that the Bio-Engineer always do, which is the game BEngo!! Get it, Bio-Engineering Bingo!! 🙂 It was such a fun day over all!!

The students and the parents went home with an Ipad-look-alike binder, a magic disc, and a fun and interesting experience since they were able to hear from the faculties and students.

I was really tired at the end on Sunday, and I have to be honest,  I’m not ready to start today,which marks the beginning of week 3; and that only means 1 thing: study time for the first midterm!! So wish me luck to survive this study week and my first midterm!! Go Bruins!! 🙂

First official day of Spring Break!

 

Yes, you read it right!! I just had my first official day of Spring Break and it was good!!! 🙂

I got my own little adventure driving up north to Ventura county. I visited two high schools. one if at Ojai and the other is at Simi Valley. I have to be honest that I was a little bit scared driving by myself up there, since I have never been there. The idea that I will get lost always haunts me, but I kept saying “It’s Spring Break! Got to have a little adventure here!” And it turned out to be a great experience. The weather was wonderful and those two high schools are just beautiful. I met great people, enthusiastic students, and super, super nice counselor! The students were all very driven to apply to UCLA and becoming future Bruins!!

On the way back to LA, I was driving along the beach and it was gorgeous!! The freeway is along the beach, and that scenery was just breath-taking!!  What makes it even better is that, I didn’t get any of the morning or 405 traffic, which made the trip even better!!

I still have tons of college fairs and high school visits for the rest of my Spring Break, but I’m looking forward for it all! And I have to share this… I’m going to take a cooking lesson too from my friend! She’s going to teach me how to make some yummy dessert 🙂 For those who know me, it is an adventure for me to learn to how cook 🙂

Anyway, happy Spring Break  everyone! Be safe and have fun! 🙂

Dorm Dinner

In what is becoming a quarterly tradition, Bruin Ambassadors had their final meet of the quarter in De Neve Dining Hall. (Side note: Bruin Ambassadors is the undergraduate admissions program I work for). For those of us who no longer live on the hill, the younger ambassadors pull together enough swipes to feed all of us.

I inwardly chuckle at myself about how excited I am to eat in the dining hall. By my second year living in the dorms, I was over it. Yes, UCLA food is amazing, but it does get monotonous. I have definitely enjoyed being able to control exactly what I eat and what goes in my food since moving into an apartment.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a dining hall meal once in a while. I was definitely excited for the variety in the salad bar since they have tons of options- bell peppers, tofu, cauliflower, hardboiled egg and much more. It was a nice way to end the quarter as we buckle down for finals.

Go Bruins!

Super Sunday at UCLA

As a Bruin Ambassador, I often am asked the question about what life is like living away from home. I usually tell people that everyone’s experience is different, but that you quickly adjust and make UCLA your new home. A great example of this is when events that you are used to happening and experiencing at home happen while you’re away at college. Every year before I went away to college, my family would host a Super bowl party at our house. There was always plenty of food, friends, and football. This year, when the Super bowl rolled around I barely even thought about home, and the parties we used to have. That’s because this year I hosted my own Super bowl get together. Just like at home, it was full of food, friends, and of course football. My friends brought snacks, soda, dips, chips, guacamole, dessert and we just had a great time. Thanks to the free cable provided by UCLA and a free TV I won through a UCLA raffle, we were able to watch the game. Even with two teams from the east coast playing everybody still cared and made the evening fun. The best part about this whole thing was that we were able to do it in my dorm room, which is no small accomplishment!

It was a great evening and is a perfect example of what makes UCLA so special. I love living on campus because all of our dorms are so close. It feels much more like a community or a family. Having my friends so close to my dorm made it possible for us all to get together and just have a good time. Nobody can ever replace your family or your home, but I have undoubtedly created my own family and home right here at UCLA and for that I am so grateful. The middle of the quarter can be a very hectic and stressful time for students, but there is always time to just relax and have a good time with friends.

Work Study- A Working Student’s Best Friend

As incoming Freshman, you are all probably wondering what work study is and how you can take advantage of  it. When I was a Freshman, I had all these questions and more! So I made sure I did my research and asked questions! Here are two sites that you guys might find helpful, in answering any questions you might currently have about work study:

https://www.fao.ucla.edu/wrkstd_student/

http://www.fao.ucla.edu/faqs_workstudy.htm.

When I found out that I was offered work study,  I had no idea what it was. Basically, it is federally funded program that allows students to earn money for college costs through part-time employment; the students’ wages are split between the federal government and the student’s employer. So all in all, the employer benefits because they don’t have to pay the complete wage, as they do with a regular employee, without work study. The student benefits too because the employers are usually on campus and they understand that your priority is to be a student first, which always works in your advantage. At the same time, all the same rules still apply to you as any other employee, so it is important to be responsible and show up to work on time, clock in and clock out accurately, etc.

My first job was as an assistant at the Admissions office at UCLA. I had an amazing time and worked along other current UCLA students. My supervisors were always cooperative with my schedule and made it clear that I was a full-time student. Thus, if I needed anytime off from work or had a midterm/big project coming up, they were always more than happy to accommodate me with my schedule. Soon afterwards, I started applying to other campus jobs, that did not necessarily require work study, but allowed it as an option that could be applied towards employment. After all, everybody benefits from it!

Since my second year, I have been working as an ASK Peer Counselor and as a Bruin Ambassador (yes, two jobs ladies and gents). I LOVE LOVE LOVE my jobs! They make me very happy because not only am I earning money, but I have met amazing people, who are also UCLA students and now, my friends. It also makes it better that both of my supervisors are amazing, knowledgeable, and respectable ladies. I can say that work study has made my life easier. It has not only made it easier to get a job (go on the work study website where a list of job openings are posted daily!) but it has allowed me to gain working experience, while earning my degree.

Both of my jobs encompass what I eventually want to do in the future- educational reform. The friendships and knowledge I have gained while being employed is irreplaceable. Looking forward to my last and final year as a UCLA undergrad, I will continue to work at both of my jobs. In fact, I was recently promoted to be a Bruin Ambassador Coordinator and hope to work along with other co and supervisor to take the Bruin Ambassadors Program to the top!

I would definitely recommend for those who have work study to take fully advantage of it! It is a one-of-a-kind employment opportunity! Get informed, ask questions, and take advantage of what can be an amazing run for you. Who doesn’t want to earn money while in school? Extra cash doesn’t hurt anyone :). Working and being a full-time students has, in a weird way, helped me to better track my time and stay focused. The busier I am, the more focused I am.

If you have any questions, need help, or want to know more about my jobs and what I do, do not hesitate to leave a comment :). I am more than happy to help any of you out! WORK IT! GO BRUINS!