Dining on Campus

We have four dining halls (each with its own theme) and three fast service restaurants.  Students who live on “The Hill” (on campus housing) take for granted the amazing food that we have, but by the time you get to the apartments, you miss it.  Personally, I have loved cooking for myself.  I can make whatever I want and it is not dependent on the dining hall menu.  That being said, dining hall food is so convenient.  Some nights, I really don’t feel like cooking, so I eat some cereal.  I think the thing I miss the most though are the quick coffee drinks and pastries from Bruin Cafe.

All that being said, when you make friends with students who still live on the hill, you can get the best of both worlds!  My friends swipe me in for dinner and later in the week, I have them over to my apartment for dinner!  Its a really nice cycle of give and take!

The dining halls are a great experience!  Especially when its breakfast for dinner….like last night!!

Coffee and the College Student

Coffee is something that (almost) every college student is familiar with.  When I first came to college, I was not a coffee drinker but I quickly became one.

One of the great things about coffee is that you can get it just about anywhere on campus.  BCaf is open until 2am, the dining halls have it for every meal, there are a plethora of cafes, there are coffee vending machines, and then there is off campus.  If you need caffeine, you will find it!

On campus, you can get just about anything by way of coffee and tea.  You can get a plain up of joe or a dirty chai latte.  All of the coffee shops on campus also have seasonal favorites (such as pumpkin spice)!  If you bring your own mug, they even give you a discount.

Going off campus, your options get a little crazier.  There are places right in westwood that will give you a fancy latte with some foam art or several Starbucks (which is open 24 hours!) and Coffee Beans to study at.  Personally, I like to study at Espresso Profetta or Starbucks right across from the Bruin Theater!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to try a really exciting kind of coffee: Turkish Coffee.  It is for experienced coffee drinkers only!  It’s so strong, that when I ordered it, they had to make sure that I had eaten lunch first.  Turkish coffee is a method of preparation, not type of coffee and is so thick it has the consistency of hot chocolate (but is really all just coffee).  They even serve it with a glass of warm water to wash the bitter taste away.  It was really good though!

Overall, coffee is part of the college experience.  There are so many great places on campus and in the area to go and explore.  Part of the UCLA experience is finding those hidden gems to study at or where they make your favorite coffee!  I still have a few places on my UCLA bucket list to try! Any suggestions?

Freshman Orientation

Looking back, the last few days went by in a blink of an eye. But it sure did not feel that way when I was in the midst of it. The hours of campus-touring, the scorching heat, and the endless nights socializing with friends made the freshman orientation draining and fun at the same time.

The first day of orientation, we were split up into groups according to our major. I was put into a group of about six people, who were either physiological science or neuroscience majors. Being around people of similar interests and goals made it easy for me to socialize and engage. Also, there was an adviser per group that assisted the group throughout the orientation to answer any questions and help with enrollment, which was very helpful.

The three days were fully packed with countless workshops informing about my major, internship/volunteer opportunities, social life, safety/well-being, financial aid, and the list goes on. It was definitely a little overwhelming to take in so much information in such little time, but with a bit of note-taking, I was able to keep my mind from wandering off.

There were multiple placement tests going on throughout the orientation. Math and music placement tests were held the first day, followed by French and German placement tests the next morning. I didn’t need to take any of the exams, which meant I had more free time to spend exploring the campus. So I took a trip to the gym, John Wooden Center. The center was much bigger than I had expected. The spacious three-story building consists of a basketball/volleyball court, racquetball court, rock wall, gymnasium, several dance rooms, game lounge, and conference rooms for meetings. The main hallway contains machines, such as treadmills, ellipticals, weight training equipments, and etc. The center also has certified personal trainers that can evaluate fitness levels, teach different techniques, and provide exercise programs customized for each client. There are trainers that specialize in all sorts of exercise from strength training to life-style coaching. Towels and locker rooms are also provided, which makes it very convenient. I am definitely going to visit there again during the school year.

After long days of sitting through workshops and meetings, we were given free time at night to either go off-campus to visit Westwood, attend shows hosted by the staffs, or play various games with other students. I went to the show Cabaret and it was pretty hilarious to see my adviser on stage singing and dancing. We all had a good time.

One of the energizers that got me through the entire orientation was the amazing food on campus. The dorms have all-you-can-eat buffets that give many options to choose from. I especially appreciated the strawberry frozen yogurt that saved me from the heat.

The orientation was a little bit tiring but I am really glad I had a chance to meet some great people and familiarize myself with the campus. I am definitely excited for the fall quarter.

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!

Winter Break / Bye Bye School!

Ahh, the end of fall quarter and the beginning of break. This is a goodbye to some of the things I have or do at UCLA and a hello to the wonderful world of time off:

  • Goodbye (required) reading. I have liked some of you, but some of you have been not so nice. I suppose I have been not so nice to you, too. After all, I did fall asleep reading my anthropology articles about once a week. But for now, goodbye to you all, even the fun ones!
  • Goodbye procrastination. I can’t procrastinate if I have nothing to do!
  • Goodbye my beautiful dorm. Goodbye decently comfortable bed. Tah tah to my huge mini-fridge. See ya later porcelain cat statue. Just bye to everything in here.
  • Also, goodbye to my clothes. You guys are in my room, but you deserve your own goodbye.
  • Goodbye to daily hygiene. You can think I am gross, but what’s the point in showering when you do not have to? Well, the point is to sing, but I can do that whenever I want once I am home.
  • Goodbye dining hall food. You are semi-tasty and if you are from Feast then you are semi-really-tasty.
  • Goodbye to my favorite walk on campus. In fact, goodbye to all of UCLA’s beautiful places. The Skylark balcony at Kaufman. The desert part of the botanical garden. The bridge between Fowler and Royce. The courtyard in Anderson. The second-floor view in the molecular sciences building. And many more. You are all so pretty, and I can’t wait to see you in the new year.
  • Goodbye to most of my UCLA friends, although I am going to try to visit some of you over the break.
  • Goodbye to walking everywhere. And with that, goodbye to all aerobic activity in general.
  • Goodbye Los Angeles. You are a pretty big place. And a big pretty place.
  • And finally, I would like to say goodbye to my French teacher. You rock. I know you probably do not read the UCLA Life Blog but just in case you do, know that I will miss your class over break.

And now onto hellos! Because saying goodbye is really sad, I want to say hi hi to all the new (well, kinda new) stuff that will be my life during break:

  • Hello fun reading. I have been meaning to read Bossypants and the Chamber of Secrets. And of course, I am going to read a bunch of TIME magazine articles.
  • Hello glory of sitting around lazily. I have missed you.
  • Hello weird moist room. You are in need of a dehumidifier, but I love you.
  • Hello miscellaneous clothes. I am so excited to wear all of you – including grandpa’s army peacoat.
  • Hello flossing only before my neighbors’ annual Christmas Eve party.
  • Hello homemade food. And lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies.
  • Hello beautiful hometown! You have memories and magic all over you!
  • Hello high school friends! I haven’t seen you all since… Thanksgiving.
  • Hello to my lovely car. You are also very moist.
  • Hello San Jose!!!!!!

Thanks for reading this year and have a wonderful break. :3

~Cheesy Holiday Blog 2011~

Zero Week: no longer a Fall phenomenon!

Some of you may love the Fall quarter especially for its Week 0 (“zero week”) on top of the football season and great weather (it was 80ºF/26ºC this past weekend!), but luckily for us, this year we will have Week 0’s for all of our quarters. I love Week 0 because that’s when everyone is back in town but classes haven’t begun yet, so there’s not yet any pressure to be studying instead of enjoying the weather, campus events, or your friends’ company.  I have always looked forward to Fall quarter more than any other not because the summer has been long and needs to end already, not because it marks the beginning of a new school year and a new identity for me (junior already?), but because I love Week 0 when there are tons of things going on on campus and around Westwood, and there’s absolutely no excuse to be missing any of it. Hopefully, quarterly Week 0’s are here to stay, because I could certainly use a week of relaxation and readjustment before beginning the next quarter.  Those who want to save more on flight tickets can also stay home a couple more days and fly back later (instead of rush in the few days of expensive tickets right after New Year’s Day). In case you’d like suggestions, or prospective students who want to envision yourselves at UCLA, here are somethings to do during Week 0:

  1. Try a new restaurant in Westwood.
  2. Visit the Wooden gym (if you avoid it based on the excuse that you have to “study”, like me).
  3. Go to a movie showing in Westwood.
  4. Go shopping in the UCLA Store.  A Bruin can never have enough BearWear!
  5. Go shopping in Westwood.
  6. Take the bus somewhere (Santa Monica? Culver City?).
  7. Visit the Getty Museum on a clear day.  Bring a camera!
  8. Try new dining halls (especially the one you’re usually reluctant to visit because it’s too far).
  9. Hang out with your residential community (floor mates, house mates, neighbors) before everyone gets busy with schoolwork and extracurriculars.  Attend community events put on by your RA!
  10. Visit a coffee shop in Westwood just to enjoy a hot drink in the cold weather, or catch up with a friend.


By now I would guess that all y’all have gotten your dorm assignments. This post will be an introduction to:

  • some background on dorms at UCLA
  • the types of dorms we have

and my next post will cover…

  • meal plans
  • roommates
  • some of the cool things we have on the Hill
  • my dorming experience

Ok, so first off, UCLA guarantees on-campus housing for three years, and we are working on guaranteeing a fourth (at which time we will be the only UC to do so). About 10,000 students live on the Hill each year, which is more people than some towns! Holy cow. Of the students living on the Hill, most are first-years. In fact, over 95% of freshmen live on campus. All dorms at UCLA have co-ed halls and buildings, meaning that girls and boys live together on the same floor, although in Residence halls, bathrooms are not unisex. All the rooms themselves are restricted to the same gender. A new policy called Gender Inclusive Housing was just set in place to change this, but I’ll talk more about that in my next post.

Although UCLA does not organize their dorms into interest-specific communities, there is an opportunity to live in one of six themed communities that center on certain exciting topics. These are limited to one floor each and do not make up a large portion of the dorms at UCLA.

Now on to types of dorms! There are three types of on-campus housing at UCLA:

  1. Residence Halls
  2. Plazas
  3. Suites

Halls are what you would imagine as a typical college dorm experience, very social, doors open, can be sort of messy. Halls are tall, high-rise buildings with long floors. Each floor has two bathrooms, one for boys and one for girls. The bathrooms have many showers, toilets, and sinks, so you rarely have to wait for one if you live in a Hall. This type of dorm is the most social as Halls house mostly first-years (and you have the least amount of privacy). Most importantly, Halls are the least expensive.

Plazas are a beautiful thing / the best option at UCLA / amazing / my favorite type of dorming option, but don’t let my bias influence you. There are two types of plazas: ones with a shared bathroom and ones with a private bath. De Neve and Sunset Village both have private baths meaning that each room has its own bathroom. Hedrick Summit and the Reiber buildings have shared baths, which means that two neighboring rooms share one bathroom (although each room has its own designated sink). Sure, Plazas might be less social than Halls, but that’s why you go out and meet people in student clubs and in your classes and at the gym. This option is more expensive than living in a Hall, but less expensive than living in a…

Suite! Sweet! Ok, so finally we have Suites. They are basically for students who want to live in an apartment but also want to live on campus. Suites are HUGE. They have two bedrooms, a hallway, a bathroom, and a living room (not to mention like five closets). In all honesty, ten people could live in a suite. I recommend this option to people who:

  • liked UC Santa Cruz but chose UCLA (the Suites are outdoorsy)
  • like walking
  • wouldn’t mind living in a motel
  • are mildly anti-social (Suites are the least social of the three dorming options)
Suites are also the most expensive because you get to live in a mansion while all of the other Hill residents live in cardboard boxes. Just kidding–every room on the Hill is pretty cushy. Stay tuned for more tips in my next post!