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!

Decisions Decisions…

Seeing groups of college tourists on campus through the last few weeks(Bruin Day!), I was reminded of the days I had to make the choice on which college I will attend. Being a haste decision-maker, I especially had a hard time making what then seemed like the most important decision of my life. I still remember going on walks by the beach to organize my thoughts on the various options I had and to try to figure things out analytically.

“What is the professor to student ratio? What kind of programs does it offer for Pre-Meds? How is the social environment? Will I be able to concentrate on my academics in this environment? Are they offering me any scholarships?”

While trying to sort things out and getting nothing out of it, something hit me. I realized that I had been missing the most important thing in making this decision, which is how I feel about a college. Many people had told me to just visit the campuses and then I will be able to pick the one that “feels right.” I had always dismissed that advice just because I thought it took more than just my feelings about a place. However, as I am finishing up my freshmen year(time flies!), I am seeing myself giving the same advice to seniors making their decisions right now. Of course I researched about each of the colleges, but what it boiled down to at the end for me was how I felt about the campus and the environment. I realized that my happiness is the most important thing in my college life and that it is impossible to figure out which college is for me solely through researching about it online.

With that said, I can confidently say that I have absolutely no regrets about the decision I made as a senior to spend the next four years here at UCLA. As I am finishing up my last quarter of my freshmen year, I cannot be more thankful for the wonderful people I have met so far and the many opportunities UCLA has given me already.

Go Bruins!

Welcoming New Bruins

While even on an average day UCLA is bustling with excitement and activity this past Saturday (April 13th) brought the energy to a whole new level. Bruin Day is a special event hosted by UCLA for all admitted seniors in high school to check out the school and potentially SIR (commit to going to UCLA). Over 15,000 RSVP’d to Bruin Day and students from literally all over the world were present. I work for undergraduate admissions and was assigned to work part of Bruin Day, but honestly it was so incredible speaking with excited potential Bruins it did not feel like work at all!

The events throughout the day ranged from organized workshops, campus tours, financial aid counseling, and faculty talks. It really gave students an opportunity to feel the vibe of UCLA and get a snapshot of what their life as a Bruin might feel like if they choose to SIR. My absolute favorite part of Bruin Day was the tent where students could SIR online and then ring the victory bell indicating they have officially become a Bruin! The bell was literally ringing all day long and new Bruins could be seen all across campus wearing a button indicating their commitment.

The excitement of transitioning from high school to college is such an incredible feeling to be a part of. Even though I have been at UCLA for a few years I still remember that incredible feeling of becoming a Bruin. I know how nerve wracking that emotion can be right before committing to a school but it is also one of the most rewarding moments of high school. All the hard work, late study nights, stress over AP’s finally culminates in the admission and acceptance of a school offer. Remember where you choose to go to school is basically choosing your home for the next four years. It feels a little overwhelming but events such as Bruin Day remind me of how thrilling the college process truly is.

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!! 🙂

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!    

Happy Easter everyone!!

Easter marks the end of the first week of Spring quarter, and it was such a good weekend!! At the end of my first week, I already loved all my three classes. I know what you’re thinking, it is way too early to say that I love my classes, especially since it’s not midterms week yet. However, I do believe that a good , positive start is the way to go in in order to do well in a class 🙂

I have three upper division Bioengineer classes for this quarter, and and here’s the latest news: I’m starting my training for my lab research this quarter, yay!!!

Alright, so let me tell you why it was such a good weekend. Firstly, I will have Friday off with no classes at all this quarter. How awesome is that!!? I’m super excited already just thinking about it. So, I had no class last Friday and  got to celebrate Good Friday with my friends at church. More shocking news: I joined a church play where I have to cry!!! For those that know me, doing a play and crying for a role is really not my thing, but it was really fun to try new things, and I’m proud to say that it actually went well 🙂 Another good thing that happened on Friday was that I got a haircut which really made my weekend!! 🙂

On Saturday, I visited my boyfriend’s church, Saddleback, in Lake Forest. It’s was a couple of weeks since I had been to that church, and boy how I missed that church so much! It felt really good to go there and be surrounded by people that I know. After church I went to get yummy Korean food!! 🙂

On Sunday, I went to church to celebrate Easter and I finished the second part of the play; and everybody loved it!! 🙂 It was such an amazing weekend. I was pretty tired by Sunday night, but I’m ready to start week 2 of  Spring quarter!!

Two things that I’m looking forward for week 2 are:  Bruin Day, which is this Saturday April 14th, and Engineering Open House, which is the Sunday after Bruin Day! It’s going to be a fun weekend where I get to meet future Bruins and future Engineers!! But until then, let’s start week 2 of Spring quarter!! 🙂

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.