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Dear Baby Bruins: 7 Bruins Give Advice To The Class of 2025

Congratulations, new baby Bruins! I hope you are excited to start these next four years, but I understand that beginning this chapter can be a little nerve-wracking. College is a completely new stage of life with different experiences and challenges. However, feeling a little anxious is completely normal, so here are seven Bruins from all different years and majors to give you some advice. 

Since UCLA is the #1 public university, academics are obviously a big deal here. Baby Bruins, I know many of you are currently undecided, and that is perfectly okay! You do not have to know what you want to do immediately. To the baby Bruins who already have a major declared, that’s great! But, do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try different subjects, especially if you find you aren’t happy in your classes. Najma Nasir, a second-year sociology major, says, “Something I wish I did was do more research into what my major really is about, so I’d recommend new Bruins to talk to someone in their prospective major to see how it’s really like. Also, check out the Reddit page—I find that people are more truthful there.” Nasir’s advice really showcases the importance of trying different classes and talking to different people. GE requirements are a great way to test out and research different types of majors as well, and there is no shame in not having a clear cut path or idea. 

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To be completely transparent, being at UCLA can sometimes feel intimidating. You are around students who have a 5-year plan or even a 10-year plan and seem to have everything figured out. However, remember to never measure your progress based on someone else’s success, and never compare your dreams to someone else's dreams. Second-year Anvita Sharma, a pre-Public Affairs major and pre-Film and pre-Theatre minor, summarizes everything perfectly: “In life, everyone will constantly ask you 'what’s your dream job?”' Or 'what do you want to do in life?'. Personally, this is BS. First of all, you are not defined by your occupation, and it’s ok to not know what you want to do in life. College is the time to explore and partially figure it out, but it also doesn’t stop with college, and that’s ok! I think the real questions you should ask yourself and others are, 'what type of mindset do I want to have?' or 'how do I want to be as a friend, as a student, etc.?'. And, it’s okay to not ask any questions of yourself at all. Your worth is innate, please don’t let productivity culture make you feel otherwise.” Sharma is right. College is a period of growth more than anything else. 

As you are exploring the beginnings of your educational and professor career, you may notice that you have to put more work and effort into classes than you have before. However, there are resources to help you, and Hannah Hoang, who was in your shoes just last year, is beginning to explore them. Hoang is a first-year biology major, and when asked what she wished she had known before entering UCLA, she wrote the following: 

“One thing I learned during my first quarter at UCLA is that you actually have to study in college. Ok, all jokes aside. From leaving high school to transitioning to college, you don’t feel like you’re ready, especially with larger class sizes. I felt like I was teaching myself the material most of the time. During high school, I worked well independently, but I found myself relying more on others in college. Going from a semester system to a quarter system, there’s a lot of material to break down. But overall, I learned more about myself, my study habits, and I feel like I’ve grown so much. Compared to high school, I’ve never spent more time studying than in college. You constantly have to refresh yourself on the material and not all of the material is covered in lecture. Somehow though, everything seems to miraculously end up well at the end of the quarter. No joke, I’d often question why I didn’t completely fail. Not knowing your grade until the very end is frustrating. But, just have faith in yourself. Everything works itself out in the end. Pretty soon, it will be the start of the new quarter anyways. 

 Also, I wish people told me more about the support programs offered to students. UCLA does not tell you everything about all you need to know. To be honest, it's not anyone’s fault. There’s so much going on and it can get very overwhelming, very quickly. But, it would’ve made my whole first-year experience much easier. I just started attending group study sessions this quarter from a program I’ve been in all year, without even knowing they existed! I could have saved myself from brutal exam scores, time studying alone, and stress. Not many people are signed up for these sessions because so many students are unaware that they exist! There are also so many small niches and clubs on campus. Find the ones you like, whether it's email lists, social media, or talking to other students on GroupMe or Discord, and stay updated! I’ve been able to find so many resources and internships this way. Also, make regular visits with your counselors. They’ll tell you about things that most students don’t know about.”

Hoang is right. UCLA has so many resources for not only academics, but also mental health. For example, UCLA offers Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to all its students, and students under UCShip Insurance get six free therapy sessions per year. Anuradha Srikanth, a second year physiological science major mentions the importance of these resources: “College isn’t always the “best 4 years of your life.” College is hard and pushes you academically, emotionally, and socially — and the first few months, even the first year, is always tough! So, don’t be afraid to seek help whether that’s going to office hours or CAPS."

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Srikanth also brings up the very important point about how impactful social life can be at UCLA. With thousands of clubs, it is very easy to get overwhelmed, and the topic of clubs was a major talking point among the Bruins I surveyed. Clubs really can shape your experience outside of academics, and it is great to try as many as possible. Noah Whittman, a fourth-year communications major says, “It’s really important to try a variety of clubs and organizations, even if you’re not sure you’ll like them. College is the perfect time for this, and you’ll most likely never have this many opportunities again. So, get out of your comfort zone!” 

However, while clubs are extremely fun and exciting, they can easily become overwhelming. Katelyn Dwarpaul, a fourth-year history major, knows that clubs are equally exciting and stressful: “One thing I didn't foresee about going to a big college was the vast number of events are happening at once, every single day. While this means that you have a ton of options to explore your interests, it can be a little disappointing to realize that you can't possibly fit everything into your schedule.” About to graduate, Dwarpaul has some advice on how to navigate a potentially busy calendar. She says “Don't feel like you have to commit to anything as soon as you get to college, whether that's being a part of a club, or even choosing a major. Your first year is all about exploration, so try out a bunch of different things to figure out what you like best. It's much easier to change your plans in your second year than it is in your third or fourth year, so this actually saves you a ton of stress in the long run.” 

With clubs also comes more opportunities to make friends! Making new friends is one of the most exciting things about college, especially since so many students come in with a completely blank social slate. Therefore, I encourage you to go to social events, meet your neighbors, and try to find opportunities to socialize. However, do not be discouraged if you do not meet your new best friend within the first day, the first week, or even the first couple of months. Jennifer Ma, a fourth-year psychobiology major says it took her awhile to feel like she belonged at UCLA and wants new Bruins to know “if you see all these people around you, and it looks like they've all found their people, but you haven't yet, don't freak out! There are more people that are in the same boat as you. It's hard to find deep friends right away, especially when you're expecting to immediately find these life long friendships that people say you're supposed to make in college. Put yourself out there, don't feel like you have to force a friendship, and know that these people will eventually come to you.”

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Your experience at UCLA is going to have many highs and lows, but being a Bruin means you have the capability to tackle anything college throws your way. I was extremely nervous before starting at UCLA, but I can genuinely say that coming here was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I am actually happy. Like so many Bruins in this article, I do not have a perfect plan or defined dream job, it took me a while to find super close friends, and I had to explore different clubs, but I wouldn’t change any of those things because they are making my experience special and shaping me into who I am. Before I leave you, here are some final words of advice from the current Bruins: 

“Try new things!! Take random classes! Join a club that looks interesting! Say hi to the person you sit next to in every lecture (they want to say hi too, I promise)! Explore LA! Go to a party! I know it’s scary but it’ll be worth it.” - Anuradha Srikanth, second-year 

“Take advantage of all the clubs, events, orgs, even social stuff! I don’t like to be harsh and think of everything with a self-interest mindset but honestly, everything you do and every person you interact with will be valuable in shaping your experience and your interests. So while I do encourage Bruins to throw themselves into academics they find fascinating, interact with people too! Everyone has a wealth of knowledge that may just end up changing your experience in some way. Another thing I learned a little later is to really go after those “dreams” you have. For some people, they consider their major as the moneymaker or prestigious title while putting their real dreams on hold, either because their aspirations are too competitive for their level of expertise or they feel inadequate. I just want to say that you can do it! Even if it’s not something related to your major, you can pursue clubs and opportunities outside of school that can sometimes impact you even more than the prestigious UCLA education. Trust me, there’s only so long you can work in a field which you don’t like before getting burnt out.” - Anvita Sharma, second-year 

“No matter what happens, just know that it will be okay. Choose to love yourself everyday. Especially with transitioning to college, I have lost so much—people, friends, and opportunities that could have changed the past. This pandemic has taught me so much about trauma, grief, falling in love, losing, healing, good, bad, and everything in between. Trying to break out of negative mindsets, imposter syndrome, doubt, and self sabotage can be difficult. This is a new chapter in your life. College is just another part of it. You have time to figure everything out and you have so many beautiful things you can contribute to this world. This past year has been a very transformative moment in my life. I’ve been through so much, but I love myself even more for it. To whoever’s reading, just know that I am proud of you. You’ve come a long way. If doing what makes you happy lets the other people in your life down, then let them down. You are right where you’re supposed to be. Forgive yourself, because you deserve so much. You really do. Believe it.” - Hannah Hoang, first-year

Welcome home, baby Bruins. Enjoy your summer and get ready for four years of growth, transformation, and of course, lots of fun.

BriannaRose is a UCLA Communications major and Film/TV minor who aspires to break boundaries and stigmas. As an aspiring creative director, she works on student films and photography projects, and has professional experience in both fashion public relations and internal communications for cable. In addition to writing, BriannaRose volunteers at local animal shelters and competes in pageants. She currently represents the city of West Hollywood in the National American Miss system.
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