A Bittersweet Time of Year

Photo Credit: Jamie Campbell


Just last week I watched so many of my best friends graduate at commencement. This time of the year is so bittersweet because it reminds you of the great times you’ve had with those friends who are graduating and you know that they will do wonderful things in the future, but it’s so sad because you don’t want them to leave! Many people are going all over the country and all over the world upon graduation which I think is really awesome, but of course for selfish reasons I get a little bit more happy when others tell me they’ll be staying around the LA area for some time. Seeing my close friends going off into the real world causes me to reflect on the fact that I only have one more year here. I cannot believe that this time has passed SO fast and I can’t wait to make this next, last year of mine the best one yet!


Changing my graduation plans


It’s hard to believe that this very day three years ago, I had just finished my first round of finals as a freshman at UCLA.  It has been a long and hard (but rewarding) journey since then, and I can barely believe how far I’ve come.

In September, I began the quarter with the end in mind, that is, the end of my undergraduate career at UCLA.  My degree expected term was Fall 2012, as I would be taking the final procedures class in GIS for my major, and I had mentally prepared myself to graduate two quarters early.  However, halfway through the quarter I decided that my interest in GIS is too great to graduate without attempting the minor, especially since I am only three classes away.  So I decided to stay my full four years at UCLA to graduate with a second minor, a more technical one that complements my theory-based coursework.  And the procedure to change my degree expected term was simple as pie; it took me less than 2 minutes at the registrar’s office.

Well, UCLA, I guess you won’t be getting rid of me just yet.  It seems like I can’t let go of you and the opportunities you offer 🙂

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!! 🙂

Just the Beginning

This upcoming week is my last week at UCLA…it is so eerie just to type that out. Just three years ago, I was just about to graduate high school and discover college land. I was so scared. Three years later, I am in the same position. I am about to graduate college and moving on to a big boy job- become a teacher. I am set to work for Teach for America as a corps member and teacher in California. I am excited and scared at the same time.

I want to take this LAST post as an opportunity to express my thanks to all the readers and every one who has had an impact in my life while at UCLA. Because of all of you, I am a better person today. As I graduate, I want to move on, create even better memories, and live happily. I know that sounds so broad but I am in the move to do just that.

For those of us graduating, I am so proud of us!!! Really, I am! Couldn’t be more excited for the next phase of our lives! Those whom I have met while attending UCLA have been a true blessing in my life. I am the Manny I am today because of all of you guys. Attending UCLA made my life a happier one. I run my life through the word “fabulous.” Anytime anyone makes a reference using fabulous and my name is just precious. I take it to heart. Fabulous to me is so empowering and endearing in everything I do, and in return, what I hope people see out of me.

This year has brought a lot of changes, both good and bad, in my life and a lot of my friend’s lives. But I am so proud to say we are all still here, fighting our causes and ending our school year on a high note. Our faith has brought us together and made us so much stronger. It brings me so much happiness to know that despite everything that has happened in our lives we are still standing and not letting our circumstances get the best of us.

I try to live every day to its fullest, without regrets. My goal is to be a happy person and make myself and others around me smile. How do I do that you may ask? Or how do I imagine I am capable of that? Well, its quite simple. Life is hard in itself easily. But it is goal of mine to overcome those obstacles and be a winner out of everything and anything I do. That is why, my ultimate goal is to laugh and make others laugh, which bring smiles from both sides :^D. Why should we let our downfalls get the best out of who we are today? It should be our goal to be happy and live life to the fullest EVERY DAY. As we graduate, it is important that we take that with ourselves in our lives after UCLA. We all go through different things in different times. It is what we make out of our unforeseen circumstances that make us who we are. Our hardest battles make us so much stronger than does that do not challenge us to think or act.

Therefore, we should make the best out of every challenge we may find. Smile on, I dare you. Try it at least once, I ask of you. Some say smiles are contagious. Well, I also say they are addictive. Do it once, and you’ll do it again and again. Psh, it’s hard to be fabulous! But what is life without a challenge? What is life without a little bit of a struggle? Once the dust settles, comes sunshine, :). You’ll see, trust me. There is a beginning to every end. That is the absolute beauty of it! It is up to US to bring about that marvelous change and beginning out of every opportunity we get. I leave you guys on this note in my last blog post.

Life is beautiful, do not ever forget that. It is filled with beautiful and marvelous people who make it that much more fabulous. Lets be grateful for what we have and not for what we do not have. Lets think positive and make possibilities happen. With this, I leave you all! Actually, I let you begin your new opportunity to smile…:)

Until next time, be fabulous! xoxo

Manny 🙂

Celebrating my Brother’s Graduation

This past week, I celebrated my younger brother’s graduation from Santa Ana College. He earned his AA Degree while also getting his high school diploma. I am so immensely proud of him!!!! It reminded me of how fast time flies. I still remember like it was yesterday when I used to walk my brother to his class during Elementary school. I also remember waiting with him in line before school started. I believe that these experiences we shared during Elementary brought us even closer as siblings. I always think back about how I was sort of a ‘guardian’ for my brother throughout his schooling years. Even now, I still act as a third parent, which in some cases might annoy my brother. But, as long as I look out for him and create the opportunities that weren’t necessarily available to me while growing up then I am all for it. I love my brother so much, for many, many reasons. He has such a big heart, soul, mind, and is such a genuinely nice person. I am so proud of everything he has accomplished in life. I also cannot wait what he does in the future. Only good things are going to come out of the next few years, I just know it. As for me, this reminds me of my upcoming graduation. It is showtime for me in a couple of weeks…until then, I am off to enjoy this beautiful sunny day in LA!

Week 5- Halfway done with Undergrad!

This week brings Week 5! That means that I am halfway done with my Undergraduate  years as a student at UCLA. This is definitely ringing a bell that midterms are coming, papers are coming, graduation event-planning is coming, and graduation itself is upon us. It seems like Spring Quarter is flying by! Next thing you know, I will be writing that finals are here…so not fab! As these last few weeks at UCLA approach me, I want to remember one thing: all the precious memories that I have made here and all the one I will make as my journey as a student comes to an end. As many of you may know, I am going to be working with Teach for America as a Special Education teacher. I couldn’t be any more proud and excited than ever before. It’s like being accepted into UCLA all over again. I am up for the challenge and rewards that I am sure TFA will bring me. I have five other friends who I can call fellow Corps members who will be joining me in this new journey of my life as well.

As I continue throughout the next week finishing up my coursework as a student, I begin preparing for my work of the future. What a blessing! I couldn’t be any more excited and thrilled- BRING IT FUTURE!

Princeton Ly – At Long Last

It’s strange to think that my time at UCLA as an undergraduate will end in just ten short weeks. As I have said before, it’s been an amazingly fun run. Here’s to one more great quarter!

To start out, this is what I am up to in Spring 2012:


The details are still being worked out, but I am signed up for four courses. The first is Biochemical Methods I, a biochemistry laboratory required by a few medical schools. The second is Chemical Communication, which finishes up my Marine Biology major requirements. The third is Cell Biology: Cell Cycle, a chemical biology class also required by a few medical schools. Lastly, I have a Individual Studies for USIE Facilitators contract course with my faculty mentor to keep me prepared for the class I am teaching next quarter.

[For you incoming Bruins, you can find the Schedule of Classes here and a pretty reliable, independently-run, professor rating site for UCLA here.]

Quite fortunately, all of this still allows for a free Friday.


Besides preparing for my aforementioned USIE class, I have my usual responsibilities with my Christian fellowship as well as at my home church. This includes preparing for an upcoming retreat, coordinating senior class activities, and other leadership team tasks. This also overlaps with general senior-year-spring-quarter stuff like attending my last Spring Game and Spring Sing, attending friends’ graduations, preparing for my own commencements, and making/completing an end-of-undergraduate bucket list.

On top of this, I still need to figure out where I am going to medical school next year!


Whew, it sounds like a lot all put together, doesn’t it? Makes me a bit tired just thinking about everything, ha. Let’s just pray I can get everything done joyfully and successfully.

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming


Working for My Dreams



Those who know me know that I am constantly busy either with school or work. That’s the typical life of a college student. Either we are working to pay off our fees or we are studying/writing papers. We are constantly busy. This upcoming June I graduate but beforehand, during the last few days of May, I will be moving to Arizona to start my career as a future teacher. How exciting is that? Though I know I am going to be extremely busy, I couldn’t be more exciting for the future. Today, I enrolled in my last class to complete my last UCLA schedule. It’s bittersweet for sure. I am excited for what is to come but sad to know that the end is coming near by. Most of you who occasionally read my blogs know that graduation for me is a big deal, first of all because I mention it often, hehe. However, I’m the first in my family to graduate from a 4-year university so it’s a bit nerve-wracking and unbelievable. I’m also currently prepping to take the Praxis exam in Elementary studies for my upcoming placement as an Elementary teacher in Arizona. Next month I am going to be taking the English Praxis exam. It is a bit overwhelming to know the next few things that I have to do to make sure I am on the path to start my job as a teacher, but I know it is all going to be worth it. I’m achieving my dreams everyday and it’s a bit unreal and beyond words to be completely honest. So my words of advice to an incoming college freshmen like you is not be afraid to dream big and work for your dreams because a couple of years from now they are going to become a reality…it just takes a bit of hard work and perseverance with a lot of support from your family, friends, and loved ones around! 🙂

The Beginning of a New Year


It is almost the end of 2011 and 2012 is almost here. It’s the beginning of new year which means the beginning of  shifting your focus to new goals and accomplishments for the year. Here is to an amazing 2012 for all of us!

2011 has brought a lot of amazing experiences for me. Personally, it has been the most accomplishing year for me. I have come full circle in being able to express who I am with my entire family. To me, family is one of the most important things in my life, so to be able to be who I am around my family has brought me great satisfaction and happiness. I have met so many new amazing and inspirational people from all over. Some who I know I will remain friends with for a really long time, :). I have been fortunate to have a fabulous apartment to live in while attending college with four fabulous roommates. I couldn’t ask for better roommates! School wise, I am in my last year at UCLA and the start to my academic year has been amazing. I love UCLA and everything it has allowed me to experience.

For 2012, I hope it brings me twice the amazingness that this past year has been. I’m graduating from college and I hope that the future is as equally as satisfying as they last past couple of years have been. Here’s to health, love, and happiness for 2012. MUCH LOVE!


Finals Week at UCLA

A week before finals week, I unfortunately got sick with Strep throat. That same week I had two papers do, a project, and also a final (back to back days). So I had to deal with deadlines and sickness all at the same time. Thankfully for me though, I had almost finished with all of my papers and felt comfortable with my final studies. With finals this week, everyone is in the zone and studying 24/7. Some students are also preparing for graduation [I am going to miss some of my friends who are graduating 😦 ]. Just to think that exactly a week ago I was still sick with Strep and drinking lots of liquids (it’s a miracle what a week does!). And in a week, I will be at home done with my second year at UCLA. Wow, it’s all going so fast!

The campus is not as crowded as it is during finals. I took the time today before my review session to look at the beauty of our campus and really connect with it on a different level. I was able to notice the details of our buildings, the green grass, the students, and the weather. Once again, it made me realize how proud and happy I am to be a Bruin. It has taken me a week to realize that soon enough I will be on my summer break. I’m excited yet sad that I will not see all of my UCLA faves throughout the summer (either because they live in Nor Cal or some are studying abroad). I’m preparing myself for finals and for my last goodbyes before the year starts all over again! Now, as I return to studying for my finals (and take mini breaks in between) I will think about my return to the campus in August–even though school doesn’t start until September I will be moving into my apartment a month beforehand (YAY!). I cannot wait….!!!!