Profile: Brittney Tabel

You know that first ray of sunshine that glides across your face and happily wakes you up in the morning? That's how I would describe Brittney Tabel, whose positive energy radiates to whoever she meets. This California native from Daly City is a third-year sociology student, who extends her compassionate spirit towards the issue of human trafficking. Although UCLA will be sad to see Brittney graduate this year, any department of social services that she works for in the future would be lucky to have this hard working and caring woman impact the lives of many in need.

Why did you choose to be a sociology major?

I chose to be a sociology major because I want to be a social worker and I think in order to best serve people who have been put in a position to require social services, it’s important to understand the conditions of society that put people in that position. What I love about sociology is that it allows you to connect the individual/personal to the societal and getting to see how they are connected is incredibly eye-opening. I also love that it’s a major that always tries to remember the humanity of people.

What organizations you are involved with on campus? 

My biggest passion here at UCLA is being co-president of LA Stop the Traffik, a student group that seeks to help survivors of human trafficking and engage the campus in learning more about the issue of human trafficking. We do educational workshops for survivors of Journey Out -- a non-profit dedicated to survivors of trafficking -- and we also get to put on some fun events on campus like documentary screenings, benefit concerts, and speaker panels.

What are some experiences that have shaped you and helped you grow as a person?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I believe every moment has helped shape me in some way but if I had to pick a highlight I would have to say one of the most memorable experiences was my first year human scavenger hunt. I went to a very small high school and coming to a huge school like UCLA was a bit intimidating. I really wanted to be sure to get out of my comfort zone and so I started this scavenger hunt game with my friends from high school who went to different colleges to try and encourage us to meet more people. Basically it was a list of people to find like “meet someone who knows more than three languages," “introduce yourself to someone at a dining hall," “make friends with someone who has a scooter" etc. Some of the tasks led to some of my most awkward moments but for the most part people were super friendly and it really helped me grow more comfortable in putting myself out there. I feel like being the first one to initiate conversation became way easier after doing this and it really helped set the tone right for my first year of college.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?

One of my biggest inspirations is the poet Andrea Gibson. Her poetry covers a lot of interesting topics like feminism, love, and healing and her philosophy on life really inspires me in the way that I try to live mine. One of my favorite poems by her is called “Royal Heart” and there’s this one line that goes “I don’t want to get out without a broken heart. I intend to leave this life so shattered there’s gonna have to be a thousand separate heavens for all of my separate parts." And I am just so inspired by the sentiment that we are meant to live life not protecting ourselves from getting hurt, but trying to throw ourselves into living and being brave enough to be vulnerable even if it means getting hurt.

What will you miss most about being a student at UCLA and living in L.A. in general?

I am going to miss the openness of everyone. It is so easy to strike up conversations with people on campus and I feel like I’ve gotten to meet so many interesting people who have had some really unique perspectives of things. I feel like, being a student, we are constantly being pushed out of our comfort zones and I hope I can pursue as many new experiences after college as I’ve gotten to do during college.

What are you most looking forward to when you graduate?

I am most looking forward to getting to spend more time with my family. The independence of living away for college has been really exciting and I’ve grown a lot, but it will be nice to get to be there again for all of the birthdays, weddings, and other important events that come along.