The Quarter System and Why I LOVE it!


A unique feature of the UC system is the use of quarters rather than semesters. Instead of having two semesters, the UC’s (with the exception of Cal and UC Merced) run off a 10-week quarter system. We have fall quarter, winter and spring. The quarter system is often an adjustment for new students but after a few weeks most end up loving it! One of my favorite aspects of having quarters is how easy it is to motivate and organize. When you only have a class for ten weeks, you can find the self-motivation to power through (even when it’s a really tough course!).

The quarter system has taught me how to be incredibly organized. Instead of letting my work pile up, I adjust my schedule to work within the ten weeks. This allows me to enjoy UCLA but also keep up with my academics. After graduation, the real world moves fast and I definitely think the quarter system teaches students to hit the ground running!

Yet another awesome part of the quarter system is how it ends right before breaks. While semesters end before winter break, they are still in their second semester during spring break. At the UC’s we finish winter quarter right before spring break. This means a nice relaxing week with zero homework.

I also enjoy the fact that the quarter system allows students to experience many different courses. Each student typically takes 3-4 classes a quarter. Over the course of the regular school year students are taking anywhere between 9-12 different classes. This means different professors, classmates, and courses. I really have enjoyed being able to take multiple courses with my favorite professors each quarter. I get a lot of variety but still learn an amazing amount. In other words, don’t let the idea of a quarter system overwhelm you; it is actually an incredible opportunity!

Summer is (almost) here!


I’m so tempted to say that summer is finally here, but there are still 4 more weeks to go; and yet it feels like I can hear summer has been calling out my name!!

Well, even though summer is not here yet, I already started to get my self ready for summer. I went to visit my boyfriend’s niece yesterday, and we played water and went swimming with her. She is super super adorable!! She loved to spray us with the water since she was in charge of filling up her own mini swimming pool. As soon as she got the water hose, she started to move it around, and as as result, everyone was soaked ! And you know what she did, she  started giggling and laughing about it 🙂

Back to the land of UCLA, I will have my Lab Practical Exam today!! It’s pretty much a test about all the things that we have done in lab for last 7 weeks.  Thus, it shouldn’t too hard, as long as you did try every single thing in the lab. Or at least  I hope it won’t be difficult 🙂

But anyway Bruins, as I said, there are only 4 more weeks to go before this quarter ends. I have several of my friends who are Seniors and will be graduating. I’m beyond excited and happy for them, but at the same time, I will miss them for sure. With 4 more weeks to go, let’s end this quarter strong!!

The Start of Spring Quarter

Every time I start a new quarter it amazes me how fast time flies. Seriously, the quarter system is no joke. 10 weeks from now I will be wondering where the quarter went. To prepare efficiently for a quarter you have to manage your time effectively every day. Not a single day goes by during a quarter where I do not think about homework or what I have to do next to prepare for my class. That is what keeps me on task and on top of all my deadlines in regards to my classes. I would not trade the quarter system for the semester system. because I feel like I work better in a fast paced environment. I  love it. I love to be busy so that is one thing that keeps me going as well. If I am not doing something, then something is wrong, :P. For me, I have to be on top of every single thing I do- whether it has to do with academics or not. That is why the quarter system is for me– I’m either doing something school related or doing something to keep me sane and happy. This Spring Quarter will be my last Spring Quarter ever as an undergrad. I don’t know whether to feel excited or not about starting my last quarter at UCLA. These will be my last ten weeks. It is a serious countdown that I will be taking advantage every single day of. Here’s to a fabulous quarter!!!

Week 9…Work Picks Up

Currently, UCLA is about to go into Week 9 of Winter Quarter. It seems like this quarter has come and gone, yet it is not over. For me, I have two more weeks left of intense work as I am going to be taking my finals during Week 10 of instruction. Time is ticking. In order to prepare for my finals, I am currently diligently working on my outlines. In order to prepare for finals, I plan to get both of my outlines for my papers finalized by tomorrow and start the papers. The magic about the quarter system is that it goes by QUICKLY. You don’t realize it until you experience it. Or better yet, if you want to get the experience of it, try jotting down ten weeks in your calendar and count down as the weeks go by. Seriously, it is no joke. In order to be on top of your academics as a student, you have to have a definite balance in your studies and social life. It’s all great and dandy, but the work can get a bit overwhelming at times. I, however, wouldn’t trade in the quarter system for the semester system. I feel like 10 weeks is enough to get a feel of the material, and if I love the subjects I am studying, I can continue to expand my knowledge of it in upcoming quarters. Just know that as a student in the quarter system, work picks up starting Week 1, ;).

Week 8 here we go!!

I can’t believe I’m already at week 8 of winter quarter!! Before I know it, finals week will be here, which will mark  the end of my second quarter as a Bruin!!

This winter quarter is my first quarter taking an upper division BioEngineering class. I can’t lie, I did freak out a little bit. It was like learning a totally new language when I started these classes. But the best thing about quarter system is that before you know it, you are already used to it !

One thing that I’m looking forward is the Spring Break (of course)!! Another reason why I’m looking forward to it is because of how fast Spring Break will go and how we will start the spring quarter right away after that. From my perspective, that means we’re getting closer to summer!! yay!!

Speaking about Spring Break, I’m starting filling up my spring break schedule with numerous Bruin Ambassador visits  to different high school and college fair. That will be something interesting to do since most of the high schools that I will be visiting are located in Ventura; whereas usually I do my high school visit in East LA. I’ve always loved doing a visit to high schools and sharing my experience as a Bruin. Seeing those high school students’ faces when they say that they want to be a Bruin someday is priceless!

But for now, let’s finish week 8 and make sure to survive the remaining weeks until final week! 🙂

Quarter System and Exams…

One thing to know about the quarter system is that it goes by extremely fast! We are in Winter quarter and it is now Week 4. Midterms are already rolling in during this time. Two of my roommates have multiple midterms this week. My midterms are thankfully next week, so I still have a week to study :P.

Being in the quarter system requires immense time management proficiency. It is essential to be on top of deadlines. Not only do we have to worry about academic deadlines, but also personal deadlines. They are crucial to your success as an all-around fabulous student. As a high school student (or just in general as a student) you have to deal with a lot of upcoming deadlines and due dates– and it only becomes more intense when you hit college. You will be surprised how wonderful agendas can be to helpyou remember all of the important dates. One of the things that I have learned is to stay focused, stay neat, and stay organized with EVERYTHING. This has helped me avoid any missed assignments all throughout my undergrad :D.

In order to study effectively for my college exams, I usually start preparing a week beforehand- gathering outlines, reading notes, class notes, and anything and everything that will help me prepare for my tests.

That means that during Week 4, I will be preparing for Week 5 (which I’m sure will fly by!). Then, I welcome Week 6 soon after that which means I am more than halfway into the quarter…

Last Winter Quarter for Undergrad

2012 brings in my last two quarters here at UCLA– Winter and Spring Quarter. The three classes that I am taking this quarter are Introduction to Social Welfare, Sociology of Education and Statistical and Computer Methods for Social Research. I am definitely looking forward to a busy, challenging and rewarding quarter. Last quarter was one of my busiest quarters ever and I expect the same for this quarter. Whatever happened to Senioritis? Yeah, not happening for me…

Besides classes, I look forward to stepping up my exercising routine and get in better shape (I need to lose those extra and delicious Holiday pounds I gained…:P). In addition, I look forward to working my best in my two jobs and continuing to put in those working hours :).

One of the unique things about the quarter system is that right off the bat, you feel as if you are behind. You need to settle in, finalize your schedule, buy your books (which takes a few days to get to you if you are ordering them online), and start your readings for Week 1 and Week 2 (since typically during your Discussion sections for each class you need to participate by discussing the week’s readings).

I am totally excited for another fun quarter!!! 1 week done, 9 more to go before Finals once again! Time flies when you are having so much fun :)…

Quarter System…and How Fast it Goes

It’s Fall Quarter and here, we are about to start Week 4. One of the fabulous things that I love about the quarter system is how fast it goes. Some might be afraid of it, but hey, I love the challenge. It seems as if just yesterday we were all just getting adjusted to back-to-school mode. Summer has ended and Fall is upon us. Midterms are in a week. Papers are due in a week. My birthday is in a month! It’s my last teenage year. There are a lot of deadlines that we as students have to deal with. Homework, readings, office hours (Professor and/or TA’s), papers, midterms, finals, and/or projects. Plus, outside extracurriculars, volunteering, and/or job(s). This might seem like an overwhelming blog post, but it just gives you a glimpse of a life of a college student. Particularly, the quarter system only runs 11 weeks (including Finals week). That means that just after 3/4 weeks you are already going to have a Midterm. It might seem like you might not have a lot of time to catch up or prepare for your exam but believe me, when I tell you that you have PLENTY of TIME. You learn to get adjusted to the way the quarter system works. I love it because it’s so fast paced and in some ways, it helps me better track my time.

I’m a person that’s all about organization. I love tracking my time and making sure I have time for everything (which includes academics and a social life). This year, my time has been very limited, mostly because I took on a leadership role in one of my jobs (I have two). It’s been stressful at times, but looking back on this quarter thus far, I can say that I have been having a blast. My classes have been great and I’ve been learning a lot (both inside and outside the classroom). The quarter system lets me appreciate all the beautiful things about school. Yes it might seem like it goes by too fast, but just keep in mind that everything you’re studying is still fresh in your mind (this plays a vital role in your exams). I’m definitely looking forward to the next couple of weeks. You never know what will come next! Cheers to Week 4 (and Midterm season!).

It’s midterm season!

Keeping up with my weather post from last week, today was hot!! It sure is hard to know it’s October when its over 80 degrees. I may be confused if it is Fall, but I definitely know it is midterm season!

Midterms at UCLA apparently start as early as week 3, as I am currently experiencing, and I have them as late as week 9! For those of you who don’t know, we are on a ten week quarter system. A little bit more about midterms at UCLA- if you are lucky, your class will only have one midterm, or none, if you are luckier. Most of the classes I have taken on north campus have usually had one about half way through. For science classes, you never know what you are going to get! Generally it’s two, but I have had friends who have had four midterms for one class! This quarter, I only have three midterms. Quite a relief after last fall, when I had seven!

This Friday I have my first midterm of the quarter for my biochemistry class. It will be my first upper-division science midterm. Exciting, right? I can’t believe how much we have covered in only three weeks time. I have my lecture slides printed,  a study guide of questions given to us by the professor for each topic, and my own nice stack of flashcards. Now the only task is to learn them.

Our (fabulous!) quarter system

You might be wondering what all those references to “10th week” were about. UCLA, along with almost all of the other UCs, sports a quarter system. We have four quarters (duh), one of which is summer that students don’t need to attend. All quarters are ten weeks long with a finals week tacked on to the end. Finals week is great because it doesn’t have to last until Friday. When you pick your classes, you can see what time the final is scheduled. Some classes don’t even have finals (they’re called Exam Code 30). This way, students’ last days can be as early as Monday. Fall quarter also has an extra week in the beginning to acclimate all the students. It’s called “Zero Week” for two reasons. One, it is before week 1, and two, you don’t have to do anything. Our student government puts on concerts and presentations, movies and games, and really, Zero Week is just a lot of fun.

Because the quarters are only ten weeks long, life at UCLA moves pretty fast. Midterms arrive almost immediately and skipping a lecture can really put you behind. It isn’t anything to worry about though–you take fewer classes at the same time in the quarter system when compared to a semester system. With semesters, students usually take about five or six classes. That is a lot of information on several different subjects for sudents to keep in their minds and is only possible because of the slower pace of a semester. Because things move more slowly, classes can drag, and if you are unhappy with a class or professor, you have to endure for longer than just ten weeks. The quarter system is great because you only have to take three or four classes a quarter, which is manageable and fun because of the fast pace. And if you don’t like a class, it’s over soon!

UCLA has a unique quarter system in that we label each week. We call the weeks “Week 1, Week 2,” and so on, which is a pretty obvious labeling system, but it is special to UCLA. Students here stop thinking of days and months and instead think, “what will I be doing 7th week?” and “I have a midterm week 4.”

I am very happy with and proud of our quarter system. I encourage you to not be scared or intimidated by its reputation for moving fast; instead, remember how much fun it can be!