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!

Literati Cafe


Photo Credit: Jamie Campbell


During 10th week and Finals week, campus can get a little depressing with students living in the libraries, forgoing showers, and replacing their meals with caffeine. However, some places in LA make for great less-depressing and more colorful study spots, such as Literati Cafe. I went here for the first time last weekend and had a delicious Spanish latte and enjoyed sitting outside in the sunlight and seeing the artwork inside. The best part was running into so many other friends from UCLA! While it can get a little crowded at times, I thought it was  a great experience.

Can I go home now…?

I had planned to go home to NorCal the day after my last final, and leave for Korea the morning after to spend my first two weeks of summer vacation there. I thought I could just take a few hours the night after my last final to pack my things in my dorm and take off in the morning. Well, it did not go as smoothly as I intended it to.

First of all, I could not find a place to store my dorm stuff. The person who was supposed to hold onto my things for the summer was not able to anymore and I had to search for another person less than 24 hours before my flight. I called multiple people in my address book to ask if they had anymore space left to store a few more boxes. Not to my surprise, they already had previous arrangements to store things for other people and they did not have any more space left. I totally understood that it was definitely too late to ask for this and I should have had a backup plan. I was mad at myself.

The packing process was quite a stress. I started packing the day before my flight and I had underestimated the time. I did not know where to even begin. The amount of clothes seemed to have doubled and tripled since the time I first moved into my dorm room, and I had no idea how to fit my closet into two suitcases (which definitely seemed to have shrunk since I last saw them). The time was 10PM. At this point, whether I could go home the next day was questionable.

I was frustrated. I was frustrated that I did not have anywhere to store my stuff for the summer. I was frustrated that I did not have a backup plan. I was frustrated that I had too many clothes. I  was frustrated that I could not fit all of my stuff in my suitcases. I was frustrated that my suitcases were over the weight limit to go through the airlines. I was frustrated at the time for keep ticking.

Luckily, I eventually found someone to hold onto my stuff for the summer, and I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found that person. I was able to magically fit my clothes, shoes, and etc, in my suitcases, with some help from giving them away to friends and for donation. It was a stressful process, especially after a series of finals, but I did safely come home that next day.

If I learned anything from this experience, it is this:

Give yourself plenty of time, at least 2 days, to pack your stuff. Prearrange where you will store your things over the summer, and always double check BEFORE you have to leave for your flight.

I never knew anything could be so stressful.

Finals Survival Guide

It’s that time of the quarter again for Bruins
 Finals! While this infamous word is a component of every college campus, there are definite ways to make this tense time run a little more smoothly! I am all about being prepared and now coming into my 6th round of finals at UCLA, I think I have a solid list of tips.

1. Know yourself! Everyone has there own advice to give you about finals, but ultimately being honest with your own study habits is the best place to start. If you are someone who loves the intensity of completing a paper moments before its due, or someone who literally cannot sleep at night unless they start there work weeks in advance, tailor your studying to what works for you!
2. Sleep. I don’t care who you are, everyone needs sleep! Unless you are working on a paper due the next morning, studies have shown that staying up super late before a test is not beneficial. Instead, try to pick a definite time you want to get to sleep by and stick to it.
3. Keep your routine. If you are someone who loves the gym, or cannot function without skyping with your best friend once a week, then keep doing it! Finals are so much less painful if you continue to fit in the things that are really important to you.
4. Make a schedule. This is a great tip for people who want to defeat procrastination. Instead of looking at finals as a hurricane sized stress monster, break it down. Focus on tangible goals for each day and make a study plan to get you through the week.
5. Keep a perspective. I know we all care a lot about our grades and academic performance but do not let finals define you. As Bruins (and people in general), we are so much more than a grade.

Good luck Bruins and summer is on the way!

Finals don’t have to be stressful!

Finals week is now underway and already UCLA students across campus have settled into “Finals Mode”.  Finals mode includes an increase in studying, a decrease in sleep, excess coffee, and a more frequent use of libraries.  In the midst of finals week craziness, it is important to take a moment to breathe and find our sanity once again.  Here are a few tips:

  • Schedule in some study breaks!  Studying is extremely important, but you also don’t want to burn yourself out before your test!  After every couple of hours, take the time to go on a walk, get lunch with a friends, or something else that is easy and relaxing!
  • Pick a good playlist! I can get so distracted by what music I listen to when I study, which defeats the purpose of listening to music. Pick something classical or something mellow.  My personal favorite is my “Civil Wars” Pandora station, but I’ve also recently discovered Blind Pilot!
  • Go work out! This is a great stress reliever.  The morning of your final, put on your running shoes and do a quick run around campus or go to the Wooden Center (which is considerably less crowded during finals week).  Find a friend and play some racketball.
  • Lay off the coffee after 11pm!  Sleep is just as important as study breaks.  Coffee is excellent (clearly I’m a fan), but after a certain time of night it can really mess with your schedule.  There is nothing worse than spending a long day studying then not being able to sleep before your 8am final because you drank too much coffee.  Instead of coffee at night…
  • Drink tea! It comes in a variety of flavors and levels of caffeine
  • Change up your location every once in awhile!  Go to the 24 hour Starbucks in Westwood, check out all of the finals week special hours at Kerckhoff or Ackerman, or go to UBC’s study spot on Wilshire for free food and wifi! (Yes…free)

Finals week can seem daunting, but take some deep breaths and you will be just fine! Professors aren’t “out to get you” and UCLA wants to help you out (as does the surrounding community)!

We are going to finish this strong!!

Hey there Bruins!!! Can you believe that we are already in week 10!?!! Last week of the Fall quarter and that means next week is final week (I’m screaming -silently- just thinking about that)

This quarter went super fast, and I mean super super fast. With the 4 classes, work, and lab research, this quarter sure did keep me busy at any point.

Having said that, I hope you all already started writing those last couple essays and papers, finished up those articles that you’re supposed to read for the finals, and flexed your brain muscle and nerve for the final preparation of this quarter. Don’t get stumbled by laziness when  finishing up this quarter!! You’ve worked hard throughout the entire quarter, and it will not worth it if you stop and give up early!!

Here’s some tips that I’ve acquired for finals week:

1. Study with your friends. And I mean really study 🙂 not gossiping, watching movies  in the middle of studying, or going somewhere as a break from studying, etc. Studying with your friends really helps in kicking out the laziness and boredom from studying by yourself.

2. If you’re the type that loves quietness and studying by yourself,  pick a place where you feel relaxed and not stressed out.

3. Eat healthy and get enough rest. Yup, it is important to get enough (not too much) rest! You don’t want to get sick right before your finals.

4. Hold onto that temptation to watch movies, TV, etc. You can have all the time during winter break to catch up with those movies and TV episodes 😉

Well Bruins,I wish you all the best and good luck in finishing up week 10 before heading into finals week!! Let’s end this quarter strong just like how we started it!! 🙂 Go Bruins!!!

Good bye Spring, HELLO SUMMER!!!

Yup, you read it right people. I am officially saying good bye to Spring quarter, and I’m saying a BIG HELLO to Summer!!! 🙂 Just turned in my last lab notebook and lab report, which officially marks the end of my Spring classes. Woohoooo!!

Spring quarter as for many of us – or at least for me – has been the hardest quarter of the year 😩 Maybe it’s because it’s the end of school year, maybe it’s because there is only a 1 week break from Winter to Spring, or maybe it’s just the fact that I am tired already by the time Spring comes around. But nevertheless, Spring is over and I can proudly say that I finished it strongly in all my classes and my midterms and my finals – all those a scary battle!!

For a lot of us the end of Spring marks an end but I also say that it marks a new beginning for some of us. For those of us that are staying at school, it marks the end of one school year and beginning of the fun of Summer. But for the others, it marks a new chapter, a new beginning in their life where they leave UCLA or any school that they’ve been at for the last couple years and prepare to dive in to the real world out there. I have to say I’m such a cry baby. I will be crying for my friends that are graduating: I’m crying because  I’m sad that they’re no longer at UCLA but I’m also happy and proud of them for what they’v been through and have done.

I was dropping my notebook a couple hours ago at school, and the school was filled with excitement, balloons, flowers, smiling students, and parents. You could see the proud looks in each of parents’ faces and  the happiness and joy in each students’ face!!

Some of my friends from the College Letter and Science are graduating tonight, and some of my friends from the School of Engineering are graduating tomorrow. For all of you graduates, CONGRATULATIONS and I wish you all the very best from my heart!! And I’m proud to be able to call and meet you all as a friends!! 🙂

And for the rest of the Bruins, HAPPY SUMMER!! 🙂

My Savior

My little sister, away studying for own finals in Santa Barbara, really had my back this weekend. She managed to acquire five large cases of Monster drinks which she courteously left in Los Angeles for me. We are talking cases of 36. No- I did not drink all of them.

The real act of kindness occurred on her way home from school. As I was studying away, she graciously brought me my favorite drink from Starbucks. Luck would have it; the barista gave it to her for free. Seriously made my night!

Side note: I hope you all know our baseball team made it to the College World Series. They play for the National Title beginning this weekend.

Go Bruins!

Studying Away


In exactly one week, I will have finished my last final and the 2011-2012 school year will officially be over. I am really excited to go up to my favorite summer camp, Woodward West, the next week and coach gymnastics. But before that, there is work to be done. I was able to get both my papers done this week, so now I can focus on my actual finals.

I am feeling ok for my biostatistics course, by my physiology course will be touchy. Some of the lectures contain 90 slides. And, its multiple-multiple choice with no partial credit. That means that more than one answer will be right (but sometimes just one is right) and you need to circle them all. Head game, much?

The saving grace of studying for finals is the wonderful weather. It is much nicer to sit outside for a period then be crammed inside all day.

Go Bruins!

BMES End of Year Banquet

Last Friday, Maggiano’s Little Italy was swarmed with Bruins; and I’m talking Bio-Engineer from Bruins!! Yup, we all got fancy and glammed up for BMES (Bio-Medical Engineer Society) End of Year Banquet that night; and it was so much fun!

It was a great way to end the school year, right before finals week. There were about 100 students and some faculty and staff that joined us that night. Some students submitted videos to compete with each other, there were engineer rap battle (yup, you read it right), zombie attack at laboratory, peanut butter as a cure to the zombie attack, as well as building up machine to fight zombies. And in case you haven’t get the clue, the theme for the night is zombie attack at the UCLA Bio-Engineer lab

It was a really fun night. The food was amazing, and everyone was just enjoying the break from late night at lab hours and long hours of homework and studying. Nevertheless, can you guys believe it’s already week 10?!?! That means this is our last week of Spring quarter already, and that means get ready for cramming for all those finals that are coming next week!! Get ready for the last push of the quarter Bruins!!