As an incoming Bruin, UCLA must seem incredibly daunting. From the sheer size of the school, the huge student body and the rigor of every class, it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed when first coming to UCLA. Without a doubt, I was terrified of what laid ahead of me after my first day at school, and if you ask any student, they will admit the same. However, UCLA is filled with resources right at your fingertips, you just have to find it! Reaching out for help is crucial in creating the easiest transition for yourself as you enter UCLA, but I understand that this is easier said than done. Asking for help is frightening, especially when everyone around you seems like they have everything figured out (spoiler alert: they don’t), but I have laid out a few places to turn to when you are having a hard time.
However, before I speak to some of the most helpful resources at UCLA, it is important to know that it is okay to ask for help. Although UCLA is large, we really are a huge community. Everyone wants to help you and more likely than not, people will be way more receptive to your questions than you think! I have met some of my best friends by asking strangers questions out of confusion (especially when it came to finding the right lecture hall). It is going to be impossible to make it through your first year without help, so leave your comfort zone and ask for directions, speak to counselors about academic help and find smaller communities at UCLA that will help you find your voice!
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Transitions are hard and leaving home and entering a competitive and novel environment like UCLA is challenging to say the least. CAPS has a plethora of options to help work through any difficult emotions or just simply be a listening ear. I really wish I took advantage of everything CAPS has to offer when I was a first-year. From one-on-one counseling, group therapy, mental health workshops, psychiatry services and resources for student veterans, athletes and the LGBTQ community, CAPS is an asset that new Bruins should take advantage of. It is okay to need help and sometimes a listening ear is all you really need to truly thrive during your time at UCLA!
- Undergraduate Writing Center
The Undergraduate Writing Center and the amazing workers should be your best friends by the end of your first year. This is definitely the resource I use the most at UCLA. The level and style of writing required to do well at UCLA may be more precise or different than what your high school required and the Undergraduate Writing Center helps you improve your writing to amplify your voice, follow all stylistic requirements and put your best work forward. This is a free service and one you must take advantage of! However, keep in mind that this resource is very sought after, so make an appointment online at least a few days in advance to make sure you get a reservation before any paper is due!
- Career Center
I did not even consider checking out the Career Center my first year because having a career seemed like something I had to worry about later in life. But, the Career Center has so many resources available to students. Some of my favorite resources include monthly workshops on career options in different fields, the Youtube channel that features different career paths and their monthly GRE practice! If you have no clue what to do with your future, the Career Center provides an amazing opportunity to dip your toes in different career paths. Also, you can schedule appointments with Career Counselors for one-on-one help for any specific questions about planning your future!
- College Academic Counseling (CAC)
When I was a first-year at UCLA, I went to academic counseling every quarter as I was changing my major, deciding on minors, figuring out pre-professional pathways, and creating a four-year plan. Counseling matches you with an advisor in the field or similar field as what you are trying to pursue and they help you decide what classes to take, figure out if your goals are plausible, and talk through hard decisions with you. This is a resource you must use your first year!
UCLA is filled with a multitude of resources for your grabbing; the hard part is knowing about these resources and reaching out for help. It is important to remember that you are not alone in your college experience and UCLA and everyone in our community is rooting for your success. Good luck, Baby Bruins!