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Survival Advice For First Years From Upperclassmen

As we head into Week 3 of the quarter system, we’d like to congratulate all the first-years who have completed their first few weeks of college. Now that you’ve made it this far, we can bet that you’re starting to stress out about your first set of midterms that are slowly approaching. Don’t worry, we believe in you! If you’re reading this article during a study break, please take your time going through this list of advice that we’ve created just for you. 

1. Don’t be afraid to stop reading for the night. Your workload might seem overwhelming at first but you will have enough time to go out with your friends and catch up on a few extra hours of sleep without feeling like you’re falling behind. Get up a little earlier in the mornings or stay on campus during the small gaps between classes to catch up on reading during the day so that you don’t have to stay up late to read. 

2. This is specifically targeted at UCLA students: don’t always ignore your fellow peers who are flyering on Bruinwalk. Trust us, we despise yelling at you to take our flyers just as much as you do. Seriously though, once you start taking flyers from students you will probably be surprised at how many cool clubs there are on campus and how they are all advertised in that one specific area.

3. Use this year to familiarize yourself with all the different clubs, organizations, and sororities you would like to join during your sophomore year. We know that when we visited our first club fair during our freshman year, we were extremely overwhelmed with all the different clubs offered at UCLA. Many of them are very similar and it is hard to tell right away which club will fit your personal agenda and the goals you want to accomplish. Take the year to do online research and feel free to ask your peers which clubs they really enjoy. It’s never too late to try something new and even seniors apply to new organizations during their final year of college. Be sure to join one or two clubs now and get as involved as possible so when you apply for the organization you really want to get into next year, you will have some college experience to add to your resume.

4. Rejection will happen. UCLA is filled with incredibly talented and gifted individuals which makes getting accepted into organizations, jobs, and internships extremely challenging and competitive. If it’s something that you know you really want, be persistent and stay determined. Even if you keep getting rejection after rejection and you feel like you aren’t good enough, remember how competitive the applicant pool is and how unique you are as an individual. Although you didn’t get what you really wanted, don’t be afraid to apply again next year or apply to something entirely different. Push past the sting of rejection and work toward the goal of becoming better and stronger after each downfall. Also, apply to every organization you show the slightest bit of interest in because you might be surprised by which ones accept you. 

5. Don’t be afraid to eat in the dining halls by yourself. Learn to love all the “me time” you get during college because it is really hard to get alone time on the hill since we are all packed in like sardines.

6. Take advantage of all the resources that the campus has to offer. Whether it be the counseling office, the financial aid office, or the career center, use every resource you can get your hands on. Be sure to start planning ahead on which classes you want to take next quarter and what year you want to study abroad. 

7. Don’t feel bad if you feel like you don’t have enough friends. As you move on through the years, you will make new friends and lose some old friends. Don’t feel like you have to hold onto the relationships you make if you feel like they are negative or they are not making you a better human being. Be sure to break out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people in your lectures and discussions because you never know when you’ll need a study buddy. Also, college is the perfect time to start networking for jobs and internships so remember to keep in touch with the people you meet each quarter. 

8. College is the perfect place to learn how to budget your time. Don’t spend all of your time studying. Go see that movie you’ve been dying to see, join a few clubs, take a beach day, or hang out with your friends. Taking one day off isn’t going to hurt you and if you have set plans and times arranged, it will force yourself to finish your work more quickly.

9. Remember to appreciate the little things during the day. On a big campus like UCLA it can be hard to find a quiet space to yourself, so you have to take the time to discover your favorite study place on the hill, on campus, and in Westwood. It’s nice to find an area that you really like and can always go to when you need to study or just chill out. We’d give you some suggestions, but we don’t want to give our secret spaces away to everyone!

10. It’s okay to have no clue what you’re doing and it’s okay to feel completely lost. The transition to college is tough and the entire experience can be overwhelming. Take each week day by day and remember to take it slow and enjoy every moment because these next few years will go by fast. 

Now go forth and start studying! 

Photo courtesy of Megan Reusche and GIF courtesy of giphy.com

Megan is UCLA's Co-Campus Correspondent. She is a 4th year English major and Education Studies minor at UCLA. When she's not at a coffee shop reading, she loves going to the beach and trying different cuisines at new restaurants.
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