UCLA Chamber Ensemble

UCLA Gluck Jazz Combo: Julian Le

Copyright 2011 Pamela Springsteen


For the past three quarters, I have been a part of the UCLA Chamber Ensemble.
Sounds pretty fancy, huh?
But surprisingly, you don’t have to be a musical prodigy to be in it. It is actually a class that is open to UCLA students of any major. The only requirement is that you know how to read/play music, and that you have a love for music. Not many people know about it, and many of the non-music majors shy away from taking the class. But my experience has been truly valuable and enriching. It has been amazing to see how music can connect people of vastly different majors, interests, backgrounds, and beliefs. It is always a joy to come together as a group once a week to produce music that we love and to be able to share it with others at the end of the quarter through a performance.

The course is called “Chamber Ensemble,” and to enroll into the class, you have to first contact Professor Gary Gray and tell him that you are interested in taking his course. He usually asks students to make an appointment with him to hear you play. There is no need to be stressed about it, because he mainly wants to see if you know how to read/play music on your instrument!
So you music-lovers out there, join the UCLA Chamber Ensemble! When else will you get a chance to play music with fellow UCLA students? Take advantage of the opportunity.

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!

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!! 🙂

Camping out for Spring Sing tickets

Spring Sing is just around the corner! Spring Sing is one of UCLA’s oldest and fondest traditions. It is a huge talent show that takes place every spring quarter, and it is seriously one of the most incredible things that UCLA produces. There are singers, dancers, and bands that each perform a single song for a crowd of thousands. The best part though may not even be the musical acts! In between each number, Company, a comedy sketch team, puts on hilarious skits and shows hil-ar-i-ous videos. Company is like UCLA’s own Saturday Night Live.

I went last year, and I was just blown away by how well-done the entire thing was. The stage looked great, the acts gave me chills, and the stadium was just bursting with Bruin pride (oh yeah, did I mention that Spring Sing is held in our tennis stadium?).

Anyway, about a week ago I noticed that the group I was going with had not started organizing ticket-buying yet. There are several different kinds of tickets you can get, but it is pretty much sure that big groups of people always buy tickets together even if they end up getting general admission. My group hadn’t even decided if we wanted to buy general admission tickets or if we wanted to splurge and get the reserved seats. When I mentioned that someone should start organizing our group’s ticket-buying the responsibility of organizing suddenly fell to me (I didn’t want it, I was just saying someone should have it!).

But I was gallant and I shouldered the responsibility. After all, how hard could buying tickets be?

It turns out that it is kinda hard. I didn’t really know that much about the process and kept changing the game plan. First it looked like we were going to buy tickets in the morning (the Central Ticketing Office opened at 8am), but then it seemed like we should buy tickets online, but then someone pointed out that the online tickets would be $13 more expensive.

Finally, I just decided that we needed to camp out because getting there early in the morning wasn’t going to do us that much good – if we got there later, like 7, and got to sleep in we would miss out on the good tickets, but if we got there earlier, like 4, we would barely be sleeping that night and would be super cranky the rest of the day. At first, I was kind of nervous about the camp-out. I really didn’t think that very many people were going to be up for sleeping on concrete.

Wrong again! We had a huge turnout to the camp-out! People even came just to stay up with us until we called it a night. People brought us food and blankets and tents (good thing, too, about the tents – it rained literally the entire night). The camp-out was super duper fun, and we ended up getting really great seats!

I am so excited for Spring Sing this year. It’s already had such a great start!

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.

Beat ‘SC Week

Our campus takes some drastic measures to prepare for the USC football game. We are really lucky to have such a great school across town for a fun rivalry.

In order to protect our bruin bear, precautionary protection is implemented. What looks like an oversized cardboard box is placed over the bear with signs that indicate the bear is hibernating. I have elaborate heard stories that there are further security measures in place besides the wood, but I have my doubts on their legitimacy.

Next, we have the Beat ‘SC Bonfire and Rally put on by the UCLA Alumni Association. This is a very festive event with lots of bru-win spirit all around! As the name suggests, the highlight of the rally is the lighting of a big bonfire. This event is such a fun way to celebrate our rivalry in a positive manner.

This year the event coupled with the “Get-The-Red-Out T-shirt Exchange.” As the name suggests, students get to exchange red t-shirts for a UCLA blue shirt. New t-shirts are always exciting.

Go Bruins!

Princeton Ly – On Football

Photo Credit: JM Rosenfeld Photography

Because of some family matters, I could not make the game this past Saturday. But being a good Bruin, I managed to catch it during dinner on one of the restaurant’s televisions – a stroke of extraordinary luck, given most fans probably don’t have the Versus channel.

In any case, it was a great, spirit-rousing win. But only one. As much as I like Neuheisel as a concept – a former Bruin quarterback coming back to revitalize a moribund, underachieving program – he has a 20-26 in Westwood, with 20 of the 26 losses coming by 14 points or more. Sometimes people, even UCLA students, forget that we dominated USC in our “crosstown showdowns” just a handful of years ago. And that’s how it should be, year in and year out. No more settling for mediocrity. UCLA stands for so much more than that.

In any case, there is always basketball to look forward to at UCLA, ha.

Until next game,


Homecoming Weekend

For the first time since 2004, we had a homecoming carnival. On Friday night, the Intramural Field served as a fair ground with games, obstacle courses and dance performances. More importantly, lessons to learn a dance for the flash mob were held. It was great to have an event on campus to celebrate homecoming, in addition to opening a great weekend!

Saturday was a great day! Beautiful weather, excellent school spirit and a victorious team. The homecoming game has a bit more excitement in the name alone. On top of that, it was parents’ weekend so Blue and Gold Spirit at the Rose Bowl was abundant! Back to the flash mob, students had been encouraged to learn the flash mob dance all week, with special dance instruction workshops and YouTube instructional videos. Led by the marching band and cheerleaders among tons of other students we all performed a dance to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.” All in all it was just a fun way to show off some Bruin spirit!