Back to LA

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I’ve been back in LA for the past week and it has been one of the best weeks yet!  It was nice to be back in my apartment after two weeks all over the state! I was at home for most of the vacation, but I got to spend a night up in Sacramento for a Christmas party, San Francisco with my family for two nights, then down to San Diego! It was a great break, but being a school a week early was such a fun experience.

Over the last few days I have been to two basketball games, a gymnastics meet, given a friend a tour of campus, and been to the movies twice!  Having some time off from school while still being in Westwood has reminded me of all the fun things to do.  Everyday has been a new adventure! Of all my excursions, my favorite has been experiencing life in the Den.

What is the Den? The Den is the student section of sporting events and in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion it is an experience that you do not want to miss out on!  Not only did we win all three sporting events that I went to, but I also got to sit in the Den for all three.  The students were loud, the giveaways were great, and I got to see the basketball players’ neon shoes up close! There is something so unique about being a student at UCLA and going to the games.  Even if you are not normally a sports fan, the Den is the place to be.  It is just plain exciting!  The Yell Crew leads cheers for the students and even if you don’t know what is going on in the game, cheering with you fellow students is exhilarating!

Overall, this has been an incredible week!  I finally got to do some of the things that have been on my UCLA bucket list and I didn’t have to worry about studying (yet)!

I hope your holidays were equally as fantastic!

Happy Holidays from Undergraduate Admissions!

Christmas Tree---Photo Credit: Deborah Wong

Happy Holidays  from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions!

In observance of the Winter Holiday, our student bloggers will be taking a break from blogging from December 22, 2012 to January 1, 2013. They will resume blogging the first week of January.

We hope you have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Thank you,

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions

Happy Holidays from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions!

Happy Holidays from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions !!!

In observance of the Winter holiday, our student bloggers will be taking a small break from posting from December 19th to December 30th. We will resume posting blogs the 1st week of January 2012.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year to you all!

Thank you,

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions

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~

Snowflakes!

It is officially the holiday season. In my opinion, this is the happiest time of the year. The scarves, the hot chocolate, the music (I mean have you heard JBieb’s Christmas Eve?)!

But my favorite part of the winter time is not the sparkly decorations or the yule logs or the scented candles (though scented candles are a close second). My favorite thing is making snowflakes. Every year around this time I whip out the white paper and a pair of scissors and make snowflakes for hours at a time.

Making them is actually really simple despite the fact many of my friends seem to struggle (no offense, guys). I even made a semi-easy-to-follow guide on how to fold and cut your piece of paper to make the most beautiful snowflake. A good jumping off point if you are having trouble coming up with designs is this website. It is great because you can make a virtual flake and then try to copy the cuts you made onto paper. Plus it’s more environmentally friendly – no paper wasted.

After you get the hang out it, try making a whole ton of flakes. It’s an extremely therapeutic activity, especially while listening to the most recent Glee holiday album. After you have made about 15 (million) you can hang them up around your room to get into the wintertime mood. Coming to school this year, I forgot to pack string so instead I am using dental floss to let my flakes dangle from the ceiling.

I mentioned my friends (the ones who have a hard time doing simple tasks like folding and cutting)… well, snowflake-making is a ~great~ social activity! When we need a break from studying for finals, my friends gather in my room, and we make snowflakes until our fingers are numb.

I really like doing this because it brings in that bit of white that’s missing from Los Angeles winters. We don’t have snow that collects on the roof, and we certainly do not have snowmen or snowwomen.

Snowflake-making is a ton-o-fun. I highly recommend it!

Princeton Ly – Christmas Spirit

Photo Credit: vpisteve (www.flickr.com/photos/polyman)

Southern California often gets blasted because our winters are so mild – no White Christmases, these. But I think even in Los Angeles there is a sense of holiday spirit when December rolls around and the temperatures dip.

One of my favorite places to be around this time is in the greater Pasadena area. Home to our beloved Rose Bowl, the historic town is classic California at its best. Old Town Pasadena is amazingly fun during Christmas time – lights go up everywhere and the decorations are top-notch – remember to look up at the roofs! Just a few minutes drive away, communities in San Marino, Sierra Madre, and Altadena are fantastically decorated – each street has a theme, even – so spend some time marveling at it all. Lastly, discover one of LA’s hidden treasures in the sparkling Balian House. The picture at the link doesn’t do the sight anything close to justice.

Of course, the festivities don’t stop there – New Year’s in Pasadena means the legendary Rose Parade and the esteemed Rose Bowl Game. Even if you don’t camp out for the parade, drive down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Eve to see the flowery floats during special preview times or just to people-watch.

Above all, have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

-Princeton

International student’s tips: Getting to LAX

Photo Credit: sfxeric

It may seem daunting to get out of Westwood to LAX on Thanksgiving and the holiday break when everyone seems to be leaving at the same time, and throughout my time here I’ve accrued some favorite routes I like to take to get to the airport.  If you are an international or out-of-state student, or from Northern California and want to know some tips for a less stressful trip back home, read on!

1.  Take the FlyAway bus.  This is a shuttle that picks up in front of Lot 32 on Kinross (in Westwood) and takes you straight to the airport, making stops at each terminal.  The fare is $10, which is much cheaper than that of a taxi (usually costing around $45-50) which takes the exact same route.  Because the FlyAway only has two stops (Westwood and LAX), there’s less potential delay that you might get from taking door-to-door shuttles (see below) that pick up different people in your area before making its way to the airport.  The FlyAway buses run on natural gas and offer free wifi too, which is a cool bonus.  See its schedule here.

2.  Take a door-to-door shuttle.  These shuttles may take a longer time in order to pick up multiple passengers in your neighborhood, but it picks you up at your door.  In exchange for a few more minutes of your time, you won’t have to worry about getting yourself to a bus stop or paying a heftier fare that taxis often require.  The most popular shuttles around UCLA are the SuperShuttle (blue vans) and Primetime (red vans).

3.  Take the Big Blue Bus.  From Ackerman Terminal or Hilgard Terminal at UCLA, you can take “Line 3 Montana Ave & Lincoln Blvd” that goes all the way to LAX for just $0.50 for UCLA students if you swipe your BruinCard!  The only downside to this route is the time; it can take up to an hour and a half, so make sure you plan ahead.  Depending on the day of the week and time of day, the bus may not leave from Ackerman Terminal, so make sure you check out the schedule before planning your trip.  Tip: Be aware that this stops at the LAX bus terminal rather than individual flight terminals.

4.  Take the Culver City Bus.  This also picks up at Ackerman Terminal, and costs $0.50 per ride.  Regarding ride time, see above (Big Blue).  Check out the schedule and the route map before you go.  Tip: Be aware that this stops at the LAX bus terminal rather than individual flight terminals.

5.  Ask a friend for a lift.  More people are willing to give you a lift than you think.  If you know anyone driving home, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if LAX (or the FlyAway stop) is on their way or in their direction.

6.  Take a cab.  Although not the most economical way to get to the airport, this is still an option if you don’t have time to figure out another way.  Find out more about the Yellow Cab here.

Final tip:  If you can, travel with a buddy.  More than once I’ve ended up with roughly the same flight time as a friend, and traveling to the airport with someone else makes it a lot more fun.  The terminals of LAX are all connected by a loop, so it’s no big deal if you and your friend want to hang out for a bit before heading through the security checkpoint of your respective terminals.

Radiate Your Love

This year, I have been so thankful and blessed to have so many amazing things happen to me. I am so grateful for everything I have experienced. In recent weeks, a lot of my friends have approached me and commented on how much positivity I radiate on my official Facebook page. Well, to them I have this to say- Why not?!?! Nowadays, there have been a lot of campaigns and movements on establishing anti-bullying. To me, I take anti-bullying to heart because a person should not be made fun of or judged because they feel the need to express themselves openly.

I have been so lucky to be able to express who I am where I live and not be judged on a daily basis. For that, I am thankful and I want to give back. I use my Facebook account to radiate just how happy and thankful I am to be able to live such a beautiful life. Whether it be posting positive messages or just writing about something amazing happening on my life- you will always find something funny, lovely, or moving on my page. Why be negative? Why dwell so much on your problems? At the end of the day, you need that special message or motivator to put a smile on your face. Why no be that special message or motivator? To me, all my friends, family, and loved ones are my motivators. My experiences in life have made me the positive and eager person that I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I have my off-days. But I don’t let that get the best of me. My stress reliever is the gym– which I use to keep me healthy and sane. While I’m working out, I get to let out my stress, relax, and work on improving myself.

To those who are struggling or who feel as if they can never get the best out of life I want to say this- life is beautiful. Life is so much more than failing a test, failing an interview, having an off-day, etc. You have to make the best out of your situation and put yourself in a position of believing in a better tomorrow. Believe that things will get better and be hopeful. If you dwell in your unhappiness then where is happiness going to come from? Distract yourself and surround yourself with encouraging people. It’s okay to sometimes cry and let everything out- we all do it when necessary. But have the energy and courage to get yourself up and allow HAPPINESS to enter your daily life.

If there is anything I want people to remember me for is by being happy and  beautiful inside and out. It is what you make out your circumstances that makes you who you are- not the other way around. The Holiday season is upon us and it is that time again to be jolly and thankful for everything life has to offer. Tell that special someone, whether it be a friend or loved one, that you appreciate them.

Until my next post, I wish you all the happiness in the world this Holiday season and in everything you do. Sometimes you need someone to remind you just how beautiful LIFE really is. Don’t forget that!!! A beautiful day always starts with you. Be fabulous and be LOVELY.

-Manny

Thanksgiving Break

 

After making it through lab until five on Wednesday, I ventured ten miles across town to my mother’s house. This was my first year not driving to Northern California, so the significantly shorter drive was fantastic. Of course, being in Los Angeles, I decided to go on a flash card making binge after lab to avoid traffic.

The break was nice to catch up on sleep, but also comes at the beginning of a stressful time for us Bruins. Finals are quickly approaching and I certainly began feeling the crunch over the holidays. Glycolysis, the Citric Acid Cycle, Enzyme mechanisms, so much to learn, so little time! It is somewhat comforting knowing that in a week it will be finished.

My thanksgiving dinner had a special guest. This half of the quarter consists mostly of bones and muscles for my physiological science class. Naturally, I borrowed a skeleton from my friend to practice outside of lab. The skeleton is named Bones and is missing the screws that keep the legs in, but he/she successfully served its purpose!

Go Bruins!

The Holidays

The Holidays are upon us which means finals are coming up! These times call for great gratitude and appreciation. I am such a happier person during these times. I am a happy person in general. But super duper happy during Thanksgiving and Christmas. This upcoming week brings Thanksgiving which makes me so thankful to celebrate these times with my family once again. This blog post will bring out the appreciative side of me. I’m so thankful to live each and every single day. I’m thankful to be accepted for who I am. I’m thankful for my friends, my family, my two jobs, the people I meet every single day, those who make my days, those who challenge me and make me a better person, the love I take in and give out, music that makes me happy, music that makes me think, the ability to go to college, the ability to reach out to others in my community, and to be able to live each and every single day fabulously. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without EVERY SINGLE experience I’ve been through. Today marks the completion of a full circle in being able to express who I am to my ENTIRE family.

It brings me great joy and happiness to be able to live life every day as the person that I am.. As obstacles are placed in front of us, it is an opportunity to turn it around with our strength and will and make the BEST out of those obstacles. This year, has been a year of growth for me as a person. This upcoming Thanksgiving is such a special one because I can finally go into the Holiday confidently and ever so happily.

Bless each and every single one of you guys during these special times. I am so thankful to be able to reach out to all of you guys through this blog. Be happy, be joyous, and be fabulous!