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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

The time has finally come: the end of my junior year of college. Better yet, the end of my junior year at UCLA. Now, I won’t lie and say that I had an easy time writing this article. Naturally, it’s going to be difficult to write about and comprehend the most surreal year of your entire life. As a matter of fact, it was so difficult to write about that I may or may not be sitting in Kerckhoff right now trying to piece together an article with an ounce of comprehensibility before my final Her Campus deadline of the year. But, as I lock in and sip my last Honey Lavender Matcha Latte of the year made by my roommate and best friend who also just happens to be a Kerckhoff employee, Jazlin Ong, I can’t help but stop in between writing my sentences and take a moment to think about how far I’ve come and just how lucky I am. 

I came into UCLA with eyes as wide as saucers, determined to do as much as I can as fast as I can and that’s exactly what I did. From the moment my feet touched UCLA territory, I hit the ground running. I joined as many clubs as I could, I rushed a sorority, and I went out almost every night despite my desperate need for sleep and my liver begging me to stop. What can I say? I spent the last two years of my college life in slow, beach town San Diego. I needed that freshman experience of going way too hard way too fast in a city that’s completely new and unfamiliar, it’s a canon event. But, as winter quarter approached and the days became colder and cloudier, it became apparent that this fast-paced life I was living may not have been the right choice for me. As crazy as it was, I’m thankful for it all. So, shoutout to fall quarter. Thank you for teaching me about the joys of fast friends, to never expect soap in a frat bathroom, for showing me just how long my social battery can go on for, that casual college hookups are definitely not for me, and for letting me live an experience that I never got to have when I was 18. Fall quarter, you will not be missed but you will be appreciated. 

Like every other student that’s on the quarter system, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about winter quarter. There’s some sort of unexplainable shift in the air that causes everyone to unwillingly shut down and lock in. It seems as if the minute winter quarter begins, everybody’s mood goes down. All I can really remember from winter quarter was crying my eyes out in my room on multiple occasions and calling my parents asking them to come home. I don’t like you, winter quarter. But, I will give you props for showing me that I can do hard things. So, shoutout to winter quarter. Thank you for showing me that I can survive without my parents, for helping me realize how much I love San Diego, for showing me that I can be alone no matter how lonely it may feel, and for showing me that I lowkey look really good when I cry so if I ever get cast in a role where I have to cry then I’m set. Winter quarter, you will not be missed either but you will most definitely be remembered. 

Now, as I sit here post location change from Kerckhoff to Tongva Steps (my best work is written when I’m tanning), I find myself sitting underneath the warm L.A. sun and reminiscing on spring quarter.  As you would expect, spring quarter is the fan favorite of the three quarters. Maybe it’s the sun, the excitement of summer approaching, the whole concept of “last firsts”, or all of the above. For me, it was something much more than that. Spring quarter was the quarter where I finally felt like myself. I finally felt those two years of college catch up to me and, after being put through way too much character development, I finally felt like the Lauren I was meant to be. 

Maybe it’s the fact that I am writing this article on the day that my roommates/ best friends graduate (shoutout my roommates and best friends, Layla Ghalili and Stephanie Luminto) but I find myself feeling extra emotional and extra nostalgic. This past school year at UCLA has introduced me to several different versions of myself. I’ve seen bits and pieces of myself come and go this school year. For a lot of this year, I felt like I was a puzzle and I was trying to see which pieces fit and which ones didn’t. So many things have changed and shifted for me as I tried to solve this puzzle. But, if there has been one thing that has made this puzzle of a human feel complete, it is the people. 

I have met some of the best people I will ever know at UCLA. UCLA has given me some of my very best friends and, for that, I am eternally grateful. These are the friends that make you really realize that home is not a place, it is a person. L.A. feels like a place I can call home now because of my friends. So, not only shoutout to spring quarter, but shoutout to my best friends. Thank you for being there for me, for making me feel seen, for supporting me through everything, for loving me, and for making my first year at UCLA unforgettable. You make me feel whole. 

Lauren Del Mar is a third-year World Arts and Cultures major at UCLA! She is from San Diego, California and she is beyond excited to be a part of the Her Campus team! From writing to performing on stage, Lauren absolutely adores storytelling and is so happy to be able to tell stories through Her Campus!