Back to the Books- but in the sunniest quarter of the year!

First off a tiny bit about me! I am a second year history major and education minor. I am originally from Dana Point, CA. My goal is to become a teacher (k-12) and I absolutely love working with kids. Fortunately UCLA has given me the opportunity to get super involved! I also work for Undergraduate Admissions as a Bruin Ambassador and get the opportunity to speak with prospective students about UCLA! I could not be happier being a Bruin and love nothing more than to share my experience with others who may be interested in applying to UCLA. My college philosophy is all about balance and getting the ultimate experience possible. I love UCLA not just for its academic rigor but also the incredible social and professional opportunities available. I just got back from Spring Break and could not be more excited for this quarter!

Spring Break always feels short. I mean in reality one week is not very long at all! While I’m sure almost every college student wishes Spring Break was just a little lengthier Spring quarter is one of the most exciting times at UCLA. Aside from being the quarter leading into summer, Spring Quarter is the peak of that legendary CA weather!

As April arrives, UCLA warms up in spirit and temperature. Some of our most exciting events such as Spring Sing (a giant talent show/concert put on by UCLA students), I ❤ UCLA Week (where students show their love for UCLA and get free shirts in the process), and an endless number of other activities. Spring Sing is one of the most anticipated happenings of the year (Sarah Barreillis performed during her time as an undergrad) and students cannot wait to check out the talent this year.

Aside from organized events at UCLA, students take full advantage of the amazing sunny weather! Beach trips to Santa Monica, tanning at UCLA Sunset Recreation Center, and bathing suit shopping in Westwood all become priorities in these months. Of course Spring Break was amazing, but coming back to UCLA for, in my opinion, the best quarter of the year makes me more than ready to come back. Being home was great, but nothing beats the excitement and atmosphere of UCLA’s spring quarter.

Portugal. The Man

Before I start let me just say that I usually do not like live music. It’s loud, it’s hard to understand, and it’s almost always stuff I don’t know the words to (the only songs I know by heart are Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rhianna and Glamorous by Fergie). The other night, though, I decided that I should give live music another chance (I had actually recently gone to CEC’s Bruin Plaza concert for Chairlift and had fun, so like, what the hey, why not?). The concert was put on by the Student Committee for the Arts, a group of students that is part of UCLA Live. SCA puts on art-related programs for students that range from things like concerts to recitals to film screenings.

The headliner for the show was a band called Portugal. The Man, and they got to play with the UCLA Philharmonic (which is totally cool, the UCLA Phil rocks!). My favorite part of Portugal’s show was their ~light show~. They had four big strings of spherical white lights about the size of  big softballs that hung from the ceiling and then about four or five “light trees,” which had the same sort of softballish lights. All of the white spheres lit up with the music in a bunch of different colors (it kind of reminded me of a lighting fixture I had seen at Limited Too (in a good way)). Besides the multi-color flashing spheres, there were also green lasers and spotlights from above – all very fun!

There were two other bands that opened for Portugal. The Man – the Ten Thousand and Haim. I actually recently saw the Ten Thousand perform in Spring Sing. I thought that they were great then, and I was blown away at the concert. Their songs were so fun! And to top it off, the band was from UCLA (if you hadn’t already gotten that from the fact that they performed in Spring Sing). The second band, Haim, was super good, too. One of the band members said she went to UCLA and all of the band members had just gotten back to US after being in the UK for a while. Like seriously they had only been in the states for 12 hours, and they said that their performance was a mix of “jet-lag and adrenaline.” That mix totally worked out for them, Haim was amazing! All four band members had drums and they finished up their set with the huge awesome (super loud) drum extravaganza. The singing was great, the attitude was great, all around was great.

Although historically I have been opposed to attending concerts, this one was pretty legit. Next week, the winners of Spring Sing, a band called Alto, will be performing in Bruin Plaza. With my recent track record in attending live shows, it seems like Alto is a good bet. Perhaps this is the beginning of my love for live music (or at least my like for it).

Spring Sing

Remember a little over a month ago when I wrote a post about camping out to buy Spring Sing tickets? Well after lots of waiting, Spring Sing finally came! The big night was last Friday and it was so much fun.

We got there fifteen minutes ahead of time (yippee, reserved seating!) and all got settled in our seats with just enough time to look through our programs before things got started.

The show started with an exhibition act – an all-male step group called TDB – and was quickly followed by the traditional Company intro video and dance. Like I said in my last post, Spring Sing is UCLA’s end-of-the-year talent show put on by SAA. It features mostly musical acts that are broken up by comedy sketches performed by a group called Company.

This year, their intro video showed the members of company preventing the end of Spring Sing (and the end of the world) as was predicted by the Mayan calendar.

Company performed lots of other fun sketches and skits. My favorite was a parody song about the Flyaway bus, and this video about finals week deserves an honorable mention.

The actual musical performances were spectacular as well! The coolest part about watching all of them is that you know that everyone singing goes to UCLA. It’s fun to see the talent that your school holds!

In addition to the funny sketches and the brilliant musical numbers (most of which were original!), the night was also exciting for its star factor. A number of celebrities attended the event including Sarah Bareilles – a former bruin! She even did an 8-clap on stage and took a video with her phone of the whole thing (which I’m pretty are she posted to her Twitter feed).

At every Spring Sing there is an award given out called the George and Ira Gershwin Award to honor a member of the music industry who has had amazing accomplishments. This year the recipient was Bruce Lundvall, the President and CEO of Blue Note Label (he helped get many musicians’ careers off the ground like Natalie Cole and Norah Jones (cool!)). Although he couldn’t be at the ceremony, Mr. Quincy Jones accepted the award on his behalf (so cool!).

The highlight of the evening was definitely the announcement of the winners at the end of the show. Every year, there are a slough of winners in a variety of categories. There are winners like best solo/duet or best production number, and of course there is a best overall entry winner. A band called Alto was the biggest winner of the night (and rightfully so, they rocked it!). They won in every category they were eligible for! Best band, best overall entry, and probably the coolest one to win – Bruin Choice (the one where the student audience votes with their cell phones).

The night was awesome! And that camping out was definitely worth it.

Camping out for Spring Sing tickets

Spring Sing is just around the corner! Spring Sing is one of UCLA’s oldest and fondest traditions. It is a huge talent show that takes place every spring quarter, and it is seriously one of the most incredible things that UCLA produces. There are singers, dancers, and bands that each perform a single song for a crowd of thousands. The best part though may not even be the musical acts! In between each number, Company, a comedy sketch team, puts on hilarious skits and shows hil-ar-i-ous videos. Company is like UCLA’s own Saturday Night Live.

I went last year, and I was just blown away by how well-done the entire thing was. The stage looked great, the acts gave me chills, and the stadium was just bursting with Bruin pride (oh yeah, did I mention that Spring Sing is held in our tennis stadium?).

Anyway, about a week ago I noticed that the group I was going with had not started organizing ticket-buying yet. There are several different kinds of tickets you can get, but it is pretty much sure that big groups of people always buy tickets together even if they end up getting general admission. My group hadn’t even decided if we wanted to buy general admission tickets or if we wanted to splurge and get the reserved seats. When I mentioned that someone should start organizing our group’s ticket-buying the responsibility of organizing suddenly fell to me (I didn’t want it, I was just saying someone should have it!).

But I was gallant and I shouldered the responsibility. After all, how hard could buying tickets be?

It turns out that it is kinda hard. I didn’t really know that much about the process and kept changing the game plan. First it looked like we were going to buy tickets in the morning (the Central Ticketing Office opened at 8am), but then it seemed like we should buy tickets online, but then someone pointed out that the online tickets would be $13 more expensive.

Finally, I just decided that we needed to camp out because getting there early in the morning wasn’t going to do us that much good – if we got there later, like 7, and got to sleep in we would miss out on the good tickets, but if we got there earlier, like 4, we would barely be sleeping that night and would be super cranky the rest of the day. At first, I was kind of nervous about the camp-out. I really didn’t think that very many people were going to be up for sleeping on concrete.

Wrong again! We had a huge turnout to the camp-out! People even came just to stay up with us until we called it a night. People brought us food and blankets and tents (good thing, too, about the tents – it rained literally the entire night). The camp-out was super duper fun, and we ended up getting really great seats!

I am so excited for Spring Sing this year. It’s already had such a great start!

Spring Ball

Photo Credit: Copyright UCLA Recreation Marketing

One of my favorite things about spring quarter is the start of spring IM sports. I always make sure that I am on as many IM teams as possible, and in spring that means softball. When the weather warms up it is only natural to get restless. It becomes difficult to concentrate on studying or class so it is really important that you have an outlet for that extra energy. Even with a busy schedule, it is important to take a few hours out of your day to exercise and just have some fun.  I played baseball in high school, but there are no IM baseball teams so I always play softball instead and it turns out its just as fun! It is much more relaxed but competitive at the same time.  I always play with a mix of close friends, and people I just met. It is fun to play with friends but have the opportunity to meet new people as well.

A new sport they are offering this quarter that they have not offered before is kickball. I do not think I have played kickball since I was 12, but I might have to try it out this quarter. I am sure most people won’t take it very seriously but it will be fun to just play.  IM sports are definitely a highlight of UCLA life. It seems like everyone plays regardless of athletic ability or how serious they are.

I am very excited for the rest of spring quarter. Not only are there awesome IM sports, but there are many things to look forward to like Spring Sing, and the Jazz Reggae festival. Spring quarter is definitely my favorite quarter. Go Bruins!!

Princeton Ly – Upcoming

In the next week or so there are going to be two awesome events taking place at UCLA.

The first is Yuki Akaishi‘s Senior Recital in the Jan Popper Theatre of Schoenberg Hall on Saturday, April 21st starting at 8 PM. I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing Yuki’s maturation as a musician firsthand over her/our four years here. I even got to play with her in my fellowship’s worship band during my sophomore year! She’s now the leader of Road to Damascus A Capella, has her own band, and is performing at UCLA’s prestigious Spring Sing in May, which has featured the likes of Sara Bareilles and members of Danville and Maroon 5. This event is free (given her rise, probably not going to happen again soon), so come one, come all!

The second is The Veritas Forum at UCLA. From their website:

Veritas Forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. We seek to inspire the shapers of tomorrow’s culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ.
Before you accuse me of proselytizing, read this review of a previous event by a non-theistic professor of philosophy at another college:
I thought that the whole experience was very positive.  When I was approached by the Bowdoin student members of Veritas about participating, I was initially dubious.  The last thing I wanted was to find myself as part of a heavy-handed proselytizing operation.  On the other hand, I am completely in favor of increasing the level of dialogue between secular and religious perspectives on life’s most important questions, and both the Veritas website and the student organizers at Bowdoin heavily emphasized their genuine interest in dialogue, in generating light rather than heat. So I agreed to be a part of it, and I’m very glad that I did.  The event was run with precision and professionalism, and, true to the advertising, from beginning to end the focus was exploration and the search for truth, rather than advocacy or preaching. Needless to say, the deepest philosophical and religious issues were not definitively settled at the forum. However, the event did demonstrate that one can have completely civil discourse where points of agreement are acknowledged and developed, while points of disagreement are still hit head on, but without rancor and with a genuine attempt to understand the other’s position. In these polarized times, that is an extremely worthwhile lesson.
With that in mind, I encourage you to attend this year’s Veritas at UCLA. A highly credentialed secular physician and a  Christian physician will address issues of suffering and faith in both a forum and presentation setting. The title of the latter is “Does God Care?: Seeking the Meaning of Life in the Midst of Suffering and Death”. I can assure you that it will prove to be a thought-provoking session for persons of all faiths and beliefs. The event is taking place on April 24th; again, more details here.
See you all there!

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:

Classes:

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.

Extracurricular:

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!

Conclusion:

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

-Coach

Princeton Ly – UCLA Swag

Hello there!

So I recently ran across a spate of UCLA-themed hip-hop references in the last week or so and thought I would share them with you all.

The first is a tribute to the greatest UCLA basketball player of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lewis Alcindor:

Yes, that is the rapper Twista you see wearing Kareem’s indefatigable 33 in the 2004 Kanye West // Jamie Foxx // Twista collaboration “Slow Jamz” – Grammy-nominated, even.

The second is a throwback:

The almost-literally larger-than-life Notorious B.I.G. sampled Herb Alpert’s “Rise” for his iconic (also) Grammy-nominated piece “Hypnotize” – Herb Alpert being, of course, the artist who endowed UCLA’s eponymous School of Music in 2007.

The third is a bit off the beaten path: Sean Combs, the multi-talented (and multi-monikered) rapper and producer, is actually thinking of sending his son to UCLA to play football. The duo visited campus over the summer to attend a practice. If the younger Combs commits, I am more than sure that a Bruin Bash or Spring Sing appearance is in the mix!

And just for kicks, one of the cutest Bruin hip-hop productions you’ll see all year. 🙂

Until next time, PEACE.

Princeton

Advice from a nonAdviser: An Essay

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!

Love,

Maddy

Post Potter Depression, a phenomenon

Ladies and Gentlemen of this particular audience,

It has come to my attention that the world at large is experiencing what we at UCLA have referred to as P.P.D or Post Potter Depression. See video to understand more.

However, I must say to this audience, fear not this fictitious void of fantasy and imagination. There are many of us out there who call us fans, nay, fanatics. And I can say I am one of them. I grew up on Harry Potter, reading the first book in the second grade as a family activity every night. I remember getting a nosebleed in chapter 3 and how that spot of blood is still there. So yes, I can truthfully say I cry, sweat, and bleed for Harry Potter. (how many of you can say that HUH!?!?!)

On my 12th birthday my Grandma ONLY gave me Harry Potter related presents including one Marauder’s map and a set of necklace charms to be worn close to my heart (including a hippogriff, snitch, and witch’s hat. Let’s just say the boys were lining up;) ) AND, my 1st year at UCLA I won an all hill (the centralized student dorm area) Harry Potter trivia competition and got to take home the most beautiful full length Gryffindor robe which I may wear out to apartment parties on occasion….

So, when the night of the final movie premiere comes around and I opt out of dressing up and purchasing a ticket, how DARE the rest of the HP community call me out for not being a “fan”. To all of you out there, I have one thing to say. The wonder that is Harry Potter does not die because they made the final movie. The wonder is within and in my opinion has been stifled by the entertainment industry capitalizing off of a child’s ability to imagine. We must take back what is rightfully ours and tell these “fans” who have yet to read the books, that the magic is about what happens between you and the pages. Let’s not forget that this all began on the back of napkin in the sweet stain of ink. Never forget the power of a book and the creativity of reading. TO GRYFFINDOR AND THE FANS THAT KEEP ON FANTASIZING!

Hopefully this didn’t scare anyone off…….OBLIVIATE!