For all of you future, present, and past Bruins out there following this blog, and of course for all of you nonBruins who have a fantastically passionate admiration for UCLA and are thus following this blog, I write to you with advice.
I know what you’re thinking, what could she possibly know that I don’t already. And to that I answer you this; I know that when I came to UCLA I had no picture painted for me, or standards set which was both good and bad. I know that now, as I sit here about to take on my final year, I wish there were things that I had done during my time at UCLA. And, I know that this list may sound silly, but trust me, below are 10 things every Bruin, nonBruin admirer, and random Joe should know.
So let us begin. I call this one Advice from a nonadviser.
1) Don’t feel glued to your floor
I think this one is really important because come 1st year, we tend to get this comfortable feeling in our dorm floor safe zone, and think nothing can happen to us. That is the problem. My freshman year, I loved living in DeNeve, but I didn’t really connect to the people on my floor. It took me HALF A YEAR to realize that oh…maybe there are people above, below, or even across from me that are more similar to me. And guess what? There WERE! So, trust me, get out and meet people from other floors and buildings because there are more than 56 people at UCLA.
2) Take a flier or two from bruin walk (you might be surprised)
This is my most important piece of advice, but I didn’t want to come on too heavy, so it’s number 2. GET INVOLVED!!! Again, my freshman year at UCLA was wonderful, I joined a sorority, I made some incredible friends, I took challenging classes, but I still felt a little let down with my college experience.
I was the kid in high school, like many of you, that did every extracurricular available. When I came to college and had EXTRA free time, I was lost and almost bored. Until my 2nd year, when I jumped into any and every activity that interested me in the slightest, everything from Dance Marathon to the Daily Bruin, Spring Sing’s Company to an Acapella group. I truly did a 180 for my college experience. I became obsessed with UCLA, and most importantly I finally met the people that I knew I would be friends with my entire life. These were the people that had similar passions as me, senses of humor as me, and curiosity like me. Get involved! If you don’t like it, you can always quit, but it’s worth it to explore.
3) Always do a full lap in the dining hall before you sit
Short, sweet, and simple. Do a full lap before you commit to anything because if you don’t, you’re going to sit down with your friends and have the worst food envy ever. “Where was that?”, you’ll ask Sally. “By the cereal”, she’ll reply. DANG IT! Now you ponder whether to waste food and throw yours away, look like a glutton and eat them both, or simply be less satisfied with the meal at hand. It’s a loose, loose, loose situation. So learn from a pro, map it, lap it, and ENJOY!
4) Do things that scare you
You know how old people look back and talk about how they wish they had tried that when they were young? Well guess what, we are young. College can be very scary. It was very scary the first time I failed a midterm. It was very scary the first time I sang in front of 7,500 people. And, it was very scary the first time I had to go out and make new friends. But guess what, I lived to tell the story, and I’m better because of it.
There will always be things out there that you are curious about, but don’t because you hesitate out of fear. Don’t do that. Trust me, the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t go your way. You will be proud that you tried it, and you will never have to grow old thinking what if, and saying I wish I’d tried that when I was young.
5) The LGBT center has free printing
There are resources out there for you if you look for them. For example, printing is much more plentiful than you would think. If you live on the hill you get 100 free prints a quarter. Also, certain buildings offer free printing, like the LGBT center in the SAC building. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for these secret gems.
6) Get out of Westwood
It can be difficult to explore the city of LA, especially if you don’t have a car, but it is worth it. Find a friend who has a car, or explore the public transit like the Big Blue Bus. Los Angeles is a thriving metropolis that always has cool things going on. Whether it’s First Fridays in Venice Beach, The Fairax Flea Market, or a study break at the Getty Museum. There is always something to do in the greater LA area!
7) Books are expensive. You don’t need to buy them
Ok this might depend on how you learn, but for me I learned this early on and am so grateful I did. First of all, expect a textbook to be outrageously overpriced. Second, expect that each teacher has different teaching methods and sometimes reading the book cover to cover will not help you on the final, but memorizing their powerpoint presentations will.
So how can you learn with out the book you ask? You have a couple options.
A) If you are an honors student you can check the books out from YRL for an entire quarter! (free of charge)
B) If you are not an honors student, you can get them from Powell library’s 2 hour reserve desk every day! And, if you check it out at 9pm or later, you get to keep it the entire night! (Perfect for prefinal cram sessions)
C) Share a book with a friend and pay half the price
D) Chegg.com allows you to RENT the book for about half the price
8) Don’t worry about what you’re going to do with your life
Every year I talk to incoming students about their anxieties of choosing a major and what they are going to do with their lives. And every year I give them the same bit of advice. Don’t worry, you shouldn’t know yet.
The best part about college is the fact that you come into it with little to no idea about where your life is going to take you and you grow and learn and figure it out as you go. These four years are a time for you to explore your independence and dabble in different fields of study. Don’t spend it stressing out about what the next move is going to be. Trust me, it will come to you at one point, and when it does, it will feel natural and exciting and the perfect place to start your next adventure.
9) Take classes that are “just for fun” classes
A lot of times people think they won’t be able to graduate in 4 years if they take “just for fun” classes. This isn’t necessarily true. Sure, if you are a neuroscience major who is going premed, you might need to crack down. But, you can still take a class pass no pass that is just for fun. It will expand your horizons, give you a peak into a different field of study, and let you see what your peers are exploring.
Some examples of classes I took just for fun: Tennis Lessons through Sunset Rec (ok not academic, but HIGHLY encouraged. I signed up with 5 of my girlfriends and I’m pretty sure I peed my pants twice) and Vaudeville stand up comedy class through the theater department. It was incredible and an extraordinarily difficult class about improv, but that taught me that comedy is something I want to explore more. And lastly, a women’s study course on Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders. It was fascinating to learn about a different type of struggle and self expression.
Also, I am still managing to graduate a quarter early 😉
10) Take advantage of every minute of it
Like I’ve mentioned before, 3 of my 4 years of college are over, and I could not be more nostalgic to see them go. If there is any advice you take away with you from this grotesquely long essay, remember that the days will fly by faster than you are ready for them to go. Take advantage of every opportunity and moment, and remember that there will always be a time in the future to sleep and rest.
Surround yourself with people that make you laugh, activities that make you proud, and an education that makes you think philosophically. As a wise turtle once said in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is the history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is gift, that is why we call it the present.” So enjoy that gift because these are about to be the best years of your life!
I hope you made it through my essay, and came out better for it on the other end! Let me know how you liked my advice because I am full of it and dying for someone to ask!