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My Advice For Newly Admitted Bruins

On March 20, UCLA released its admissions decisions to applicants from all across the globe, letting the Class of 2024 know their fate. Just two years ago, I was one of those applicants looking at admissions decisions. I am well into my sophomore year now and as we finish off this school year from behind the computer at “Zoom University,” I find myself reflecting on my freshman year more often now. While I enjoyed my freshman year and discovering truly what it means to be a Bruin, I am very glad to be well through my sophomore year.

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I love how the classes have started to become more focused and how the friendships I made this year and last have begun to help me do what college and your twenties are really meant to do: find yourself. As I have thought about how my freshman year went, I have realized that I could have benefited from a little bit of help and a few reminders. On a campus with thousands of undergraduates and graduates, hundreds of classes and so many square feet, it can seem impossible and overwhelming to navigate. Even today, as I walk around campus, I feel like I am still discovering my surroundings. The size of UCLA means that everyone can find their home away from home, and with thousands of student organizations, many of us can find more than one.

sorority sisters UCLA

I do not think there has ever been a day at UCLA where I want for something to do. There is so much bustle and so many opportunities, that it becomes more of a struggle to make choices between meetings and events than finding one that you are interested in. What I love most about UCLA, though, is the accepting and supportive nature of all the people at UCLA. The sense of community here is stronger than at any other school I considered and you get the experience that you want out of it.  Whether you want to rush a Greek organization, get involved with service or have some niche hobby you want to explore, UCLA has a community for you. I love how everyone welcomes everyone with open arms and how campus is always full of smiling faces, from people picnicking on Janss’ steps to napping in Powell. So here are a few tips and tricks I would want to remind me how to make the most of my time at UCLA:

  1. 1. Don’t be too hard on yourself! 

    sorority sisters ucla

    I think going back to my favorite part about UCLA, the campus culture here is not one of competition.  There is a fine line between caring about academics and only caring about academics. I think that it can be important to remind yourself that you tried your best and that as you move forward in your classes, you are learning new things.  The point of college is to learn new things, not to come in already knowing everything!

  2. 2. Focus on the balance. 

    sorority sisters ucla

    UCLA offers each student so many different opportunities, for both academic and personal growth. It is important that as we expand our knowledge bases, we do not do so at the expense of our personal well-being. It means that we need to think about our mental health, physical health and emotional well-being on top of our academics.  Whether this means taking a break to go to the gym or spending some time with friends or even just watching an episode of Netflix every couple hours of studying, it is important to maintain a balance between studying and having fun.

  3. 3. Don’t get too comfortable doing any one thing. 

    UCLA roommates

    I know that I definitely got a little too into my routine in the beginning but with the beautiful campus and the sunny Los Angeles weather, there are lots of different options to study.  You can study in Ackerman or one of the libraries on campus. Sometimes, there are even open classrooms you can take over for study groups. There are lounges on the Hill and even little coffee shops on campus.  While it can be hard to find seats sometimes, I have also discovered that I really like studying outside. With the perfect weather, it feels like a waste not to enjoy the sunshine. There are so many different clubs to try out and activities across the Hill to enjoy on the regular.  From classes at John Wooden to taking a new path to class, there are plenty of ways to explore and enjoy UCLA even as you get accustomed to campus.  

  4. 4. Don’t be afraid to talk to people! 

    sorority sisters

    There are so many people just walking around campus each day.  Since lectures start out very large, it can be helpful to make a couple connections in each class.  Finding organizations that speak to some of your interests can help you meet people who are similar to you as well.  If I hadn’t taken the time to go through formal recruitment for Greek life or join Her Campus or any other organization, I don’t think I would be as happy as I am on campus today.  I love being able to see my community, my home away from home, in all the people I associate with on the daily. I think that for an introvert like myself, reaching out to people and making those connections can really make a difference, especially on a campus this large.

Overall, just being here at UCLA will give you the opportunity to try so many different things and discover where you fit in.  College is a transformative experience, and from my time at UCLA, I can honestly and confidently say that I have grown as a person and as a student.

sorority sisters UCLA

It can be difficult at first, and I know that lots of people struggle with being away from home for the first time and this new barrage of experiences.  College is really a transitory time in your life, and stepping out of my comfort zone allowed me to really discover who I am on my own and find people who really accept all of me. No matter how your start to these four years goes, you will find your place at UCLA and discover just what makes this school so special.