I Didn't Want To Go To UCLA And Now I Wish I Don't Have To Leave

In March of 2018, I got into UCLA. For the other students who were accepted to UCLA, that day was a monumental moment. But for me, it was not because I thought that I would be accepted to a different college, my dream school. However, it did not end up working out and I sobbed, for days. I felt like all my future plans and goals were shattering the moment I committed to UCLA. 

For months after committing, I hated UCLA. The emotions I felt then may be similar to the emotions any of you freshmen or recent transfers might be feeling right now. Thoughts about how much I wish I would've or could've gone to that other school clouded my head. But I am here to tell you that the way you feel now does not have to last if you do the right things. 

For me, my love of UCLA started blooming during orientation because I was surrounded by this amazing group of womxn who told me they were there for me, even if I did not want to be at this particular college. I got a mentor who heard my story and told me that I was meant to be here, that it did not matter if things were not going my way because that did not mean that I was not going to succeed. By the end of my third day at orientation, I felt confident going into the new school year. When the new year started, another thing that caused my love for UCLA to grow were my roommates who went through the highs and lows of the year with me. I was able to do things that I did not get to do in high school, like go to my first football game. On top of that, I joined a cultural dance team, Grupo Folklórico de UCLA, and began to find even more community while also celebrating my culture. It was once I found that community that I truly fell in love with UCLA.

I then began to notice things about the school that I would not have gotten anywhere else, that I would not have gotten at the school that I initially wanted to go to all those months ago. Now stepping into my second and final year at UCLA, I am thinking about how I wish I had more time to be at the place that stole my heart. The institution of academia in general has many issues and for whatever reasons the issues that this institution has, they may cause you to hate it. But I want you to know that community is everything. In order to love this place, you need to find a home within it. You need to find a space where you are comfortable enough to unapologetically be yourself. Once you find that space, you can begin to grow with those around you and only then will UCLA even begin to be your home. Only then will it be a place where you wish so badly to graduate, but also wish so badly to stay so that you can remain with those around you.