Apartment Life

The dorm experience was one of my favorite parts of freshman year, but eventually bruins feel the need to spread their wings and venture into the intimidating world of apartments. UCLA freshman are guaranteed three years of on campus housing, but many chose to move after their second or third year to apartments off campus. While leaving the community and convenience of “the hill” (what bruins call the area where student housing is located) seems overwhelming, the fact is apartment life is equally exciting.

First off, the vast majority of people living in the apartments right off campus are UCLA students. This makes the sense of bruin community strong and keeps friends close to friends. Another great component is being able to learn extremely valuable life skills (budgeting, paying bills, cooking, cleaning).  It gives students the chance to transition into more “real world” living but still surrounded with the support of roommates and other UCLA students.

The most exciting part of moving to the apartments is definitely finding the place and figuring out your living situation. Unlike the dorms, which offer singles, doubles, or triples, apartments offer an endless amount of options. You can live in a studio space by yourself, a multiple room apartment, or even rent a house with a lot of friends. I have loved living off campus because it’s given me the chance to explore more of Westwood and become more self-reliant. Living in an apartment for the first time is definitely an independence landmark for many college students. The key to apartment shopping is start looking early (mid-winter quarter), know your budget, and pick reliable friends to live with. Once you find the perfect place you have the freedom to decorate and design your place. Let’s be honest the best part is definitely being able to have more than just a bedroom where you live!

Moving in

You know you’re in LA when you feel the surge of warm heat right when you open the car door. I finally arrived at UCLA last Saturday for move-in. It took nearly 6 hours from my hometown, Monterey, to get to Los Angeles by car. Before going to the campus my family stopped by Koreatown, where we had some incredibly refreshing shaved ice, so called potbingsoo, to fight off the heat . Going from a 60 degrees weather to an 80 degrees weather was a big jump for me, but I kind of liked the heat. Although it is pretty warm in LA, it’s never humid, always dry.

Moving in was very fast and easy. The system was set that every family had a space to park their car, so none of them had to wait under the scorching sun. Wheeled carts were provided for us to carry all the stuff to the dorm. My dorm was waiting for me with free ice cream, brownies, and other sweet treats.

The room was not as small as I had imagined. I was horrified at the thought of living with two other people in a tight humid room, but it actually isn’t that bad. Not bad at all! I am living in a triple at Hedrick Hall and there is enough space for all three people to store their stuff. And there is a huge window in every room, so the rooms never really get hot or stuffy. Also, my roommates were nice enough to let me use the bottom bunk, so I really can’t ask for a better place to live. I was nervous about meeting my roommates for the first time, especially since I hadn’t talked to them beforehand, but I found out that they were just normal people who were excited to move in to a new environment, just like me.

So here I am. At UCLA. Ready to start my first quarter in college. I will have many ups and downs, but I will never look back and endure through this challenge.

GO BRUINS!!

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!

Apartment Hunting in Westwood

As much as I love living in the dorms, I think it is time for a change. That is why my friends and I decided that we are going to move to an apartment next year. I have loved living in the dorms the last two years and I know I will miss it, but I am really excited about taking advantage of the housing that’s offered in Westwood. I am going to miss the close community of the dorms, and the delicious dining hall food, but I am excited to get a space upgrade and be right where all the action is in Westwood.

Starting out trying to find a place was very stressful. For the first time I had to try and find a place to live without my parents help. Luckily UCLA provided many resources that made it easier. They put on an apartment fair that made it easy for students and landlords to get in touch. They also put together a guide to finding an apartment that gives many helpful hints when looking for an apartment. All of that really made it a lot less intimidating to venture out and try to find an apartment to live in. One of the few downsides of living in west L.A. is trying to pay for the housing that is around. The student apartments around UCLA are no exception. Trying to find a place that is both affordable and nice enough for everyone has been a tough and stressful process. It is also hard to get everyone to agree on a place. It is amazingly easy to find little flaws in a place, such as the size of the kitchen, or the type of counter tops.
Hopefully our process seems to be coming to an end. We finally found a place that everyone can agree on and is excited about. It’s been a pretty interesting experience so far but I am glad it is coming to an end. I cannot wait to move in to my new place over the summer!

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.

Princeton Ly – Apartment Hunting

 

Finals aside, one of the things you should be thinking about as a UCLA student is where you’re going to be living next year, and with who.

The dorms are of course a great option, especially if you’re just a first year this year. I’ll tell you right now, having food at the swipe of a card is very underrated. And having people clean your bathrooms? Priceless. One downside is the cost. Hill living is very expensive at times – living in a hall (Sproul Cove!?) or getting a job are some ways to offsetting this. But the convenience of living on the Hill is really unparalleled.

Apartments are of course the other main option. Most people I know seem to live west of campus – along Gayley, Veteran, Kelton, etc. – though some people go south of Wilshire to live. Aside from those poor, bus-riding souls (I kid), it’s usually still walking distance (easier with a bike or longboard), but you have to deal with leases, cooking your own food, cleaning – basically, being an independent, mature adult. It’s harder than you might think, and even if you’re up for it, finding 3-4 other people who are may be difficult.

In any case, I bring up the entire housing issue because if you want to live in an off-campus apartment, the time to start looking is now. Through the advice of friends and your own research, you will want to find (soon!) the potential buildings you’ll spend the next year or two in. My advice? Try to find a newer structure with a kind and understanding manager. Look all your potentials up online, because there are some horror stories out there. And try to live with a bunch of your friends! It’s really the only time you’ll ever to do that – believe me, after graduation, it’s going to be a pain trying to meet up – your friends are going to be working and grad-school-ing across the country.

One additional note – if you’re going to be living in the apartments next year, plan on spending your days on campus – it’s really a pain to walk back and forth from the apartments to school, and a huge waste of time, too, if you do it more than once.

Good luck!

-Princeton

Baikus

Photograph © 2003 by Alan Nyiri, courtesy of the Atkinson Photographic Archive.

 

It is my last day of summer, and instead of being out drinking Starbucks (what I should be doing), I am indoors packing all of my entire everything into trash bags. It is my fault. I waited and procrastinated until all my packing got squeezed into this one day. So, to de-stress I am (of course) listening to Beyonce and writing a blog post. I created a collection of haikus that bid farewell to summer, say hello to fall quarter, and talk about a whole bunch of other stuff that is happening in my UCLA life.

Underwear in bed

Glass of ice water with me

Am blogging, boo yeah

‘Twas this time last year

That mom was helping me pack

All of my clothing

Beginning of school

Excited for Bruin Bash

Who’s Kendrick Lamar?

Move-in will be fun

Already know my RA

Her name is Ann Du

Face trauma summer

Broken nose and wisdom teeth

Luckily still cute

Already miss Mom

Parent’s Weekend comes up fast

But why Halloween?!

Last year’s Halloween

Wore a camouflage t-shirt

Was an “army guy”

This year’s Halloween

Will be wearing chef costume

Make microwaved tea

Excited for class

Get to use my brain again

But please not too tough

Stoked for the dorm food

Want Cafe 1919

Caprese salad

Walking everywhere

Walking to and from Westwood

Walking to class, too

I’ve missed you, Bradley

And your fabulous courtyard

Study date soon, yes?

Finally, goodbye

Thanks for the fun, San Jose

This is a baiku

I didn’t mention Royce Hall, even though I miss that building a lot, too. I am so happy that summer is over and that I get to go back to one of Earth’s best places (I hate claiming anywhere is the best place on Earth), and do a bajillion 8-claps. UCLA, here I come!

Moving into Westwood Village North

This past weekend, I moved into Westwood Village North, where a cluster of apartments have been in the area for some time now, to serve UCLA students who typically move out of the dorms after their second or third undergraduate year.  At UCLA, we don’t have to worry about moving off campus right away (some friends at another university had to frantically look for an apartment after their freshman year) because we lead the UCs in guaranteeing housing for three years, and are currently working on guaranteeing four.  That’s something we’re very proud of because it gives students ample time to accustom themselves to the neighborhood around school and  gain “street” knowledge of the real estate market in Westwood.

I myself moved out of the dorms a year earlier than necessary because I wanted a taste of apartment life and having my own living room.  However, I already miss many things about the dorms. Where else can you walk to see all your friends within 5 minutes?  Where else do you have easy access to half a dozen residential restaurants, half of which have takeout options, one of which has gelato, and another a coffee shop?  And if I wanted a living room, choosing a suite in Hitch or Saxon would have given me exactly that.  Although it is nice to have your own furniture and kitchen, I’m so glad to have gone through the dorming experience, where I didn’t have to worry about cooking and had the opportunity to meet 10,000 other residents living on the Hill.

10 Things on Your Hill Bucket List

  1. Study in Covel Commons computer lab or study rooms.
  2. Try gelato at Cafe 1919.
  3. Eat in all of the residential restaurants at least once.
  4. Study in your house/floor study lounge.  Great place to meet people in your house/floor!
  5. Study in another house/floor’s study lounge.  Great way to meet others in your residential community!
  6. Play basketball or volleyball on the courts near the Suites.
  7. Work out or hang out at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
  8. Order De Neve Late Night pizza to share with roommates and floormates.
  9. Line up at Bruin Cafe for coffee during the rush right before it closes at 2 a.m.
  10. Watch TV or play pool/ping pong in the huge lounge in Hedrick Summit.

Charley’s summer vs. UCLA

Charley’s summer:

  • 2.5 meals a day, one of which usually involved a scrambled egg and 2.5 of which most certainly included a tomato from the backyard
  • 70% of daylight spent in bed watching Parks and Recreation / Family Guy / the entirety of Netflix Instant Watch
  • moderate amounts of facial trauma (I had my wisdom teeth extracted and my nose broken (and then fixed, which is also painful))
  • majority of time spent only in underwear
  • minority of time spent working, i.e. writing blog posts and interning at city hall
  • gaining weight from eating mountains of baked goods
  • wearing the same pair of shorts five days a week
  • required to report my every movement to the parental units
  • flossing irregularly
  • attempting to exercise and instead, having heart palpitations
  • did I mention that underwear time, was most of the time?
  • a vague daily routine that resembles the life of a cat
  • general lethargy

UCLA:

  • 3 meals a day that are cooked for me (I believe I only had a total of 3 meals cooked for me this entire summer)
  • 70% of daylight spent outside amongst the brick buildings and other happy-go-lucky students (30% spent in my dorm dancing to Katy Perry)
  • zero facial trauma, except for sore cheeks from over-smiling
  • majority of time spent in underwear, when roommate was away
  • moderate amount of time studying for French, reading about human evolution, or giving tours
  • losing weight from walking EVERYWHERE
  • wearing cute outfits five days a week (or seven, heyyyy!)
  • not required to tell my parents that I didn’t get in until 3am (again, hehehe!)
  • near-perfect dental hygiene
  • being able to run up the stairs in my dorm building and not being out of breath
  • I totally did mention that I like being in my underwear, when I am alone in my room
  • a fairly solid daily routine that resembles a Nicki Minaj music video
  • general euphoria

While this summer has been good and given me ample opportunity to laze around scantily clad, I must say I am seriously excited to go back to school. UCLA is nothing short of a constant inspiration machine. I am excited to wake up and want to see the light of day instead of the light of my laptop screen. I am excited to eat regularly and with some variety. Mostly, I am excited to see all of my friends. Usually, summer is the time that you see your friends a lot, but college makes sure you only make one or two conveniently located buds. No matter, college also makes sure that the friends you make, will stay made for a very long time.

Summer 2011, you were bomb. School year 2011-2012, where have you been all my life?!