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Welcome To Westwood: Pros And Cons Of Living In UCLA’s College-Town

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

If you asked any Bruins to clarify where the UCLA campus is located—Los Angeles, Westwood, West Hollywood or Brentwood—the answer would most likely be a resounding ✨Nobody knows, nobody cares✨ (But for the sake of this article, let’s go ahead and call it Westwood). 

Since my parents moved to the suburbs of the San Gabriel Valley before I was born, I spent my entire childhood in a mid-sized city where everyone knows everyone’s name and the highlight of your year is when the local donut shop is featured on the evening news. Thus, as you can imagine, moving to the heart of Los Angeles initiated the largest bout of culture shock I’d ever experienced in my life (though that’s not very hard, considering the craziest place I’ve traveled to is Disney World). 

Strangers were standoffish and food prices brought tears, but the hustle and bustle of big-city living offered an exciting start to this new phase of my life. Fast forward to the present day, I have been a Westwood resident for over a year and a half and can provide you with all of the juicy secrets about life in L.A.

Check out the best and worst parts of residing in SoCal’s City of Stars below:

PRO: As the beatles once said, “Here comes The Sun.”
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Blazing Heat Wave GIF By SpongeBob SquarePants via Giphy

If you aren’t already using sunscreen everyday because your favorite beauty influencer told you to in a GRWM video, then start using some. SoCal sun is never too far away, providing us with beautiful weather all day, every day!

Con: No matter which way you’re walking, it’s somehow always uphill.
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Sports GIF via Giphy

We aren’t the University of Calves, Legs and Abs for nothing, folks. You could actually turn this one into a pro if you figure that the massive hills compensate for not going to the gym after class, but keep in mind that it is NOT fun sitting in a pool of your own sweat during class… 

pro: location, location, location.
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Fozzie Bear Muppets GIF via Giphy

While the movie theaters, restaurants and parties always offer fun opportunities for Westwood-based students, the real benefit to our campus’s location is its close proximity to other fun things to do. 

We are a mere Uber ride away from beaches, concerts, museums, malls and amusement parks. Plus, we have famous food joints for DAYS. Guy Fieri quakes in his boots when he steps foot in L.A., trust me. 

con: your bank account cries more than college students in finals week.
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Begging No Money GIF via Giphy

Abandon hope all ye wallets that enter here. 

Big city life is all fun and games until you go to the grocery store for milk and eggs but somehow rack up a bill of $50. Los Angeles ISN’T cheap, so take advantage of those Welcome Week freebies because that’s the only time you’re not going to pay absurd amounts of money for something.

pro: fat sals? diddy riese? tacos 1986? yes please!
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Guy Fieri GIF By Food Network via Giphy

If you can get past the prices, Westwood has a surprisingly diverse food scene for close-by students looking to grab a bite to eat. An absurdly gluttonous sandwich shop? Check. President-approved street tacos? Check. Ice-cream-cookie sandwiches, pizookies and fresh donuts for dessert? Triple check

con: not to sound like my grandma but…you kids are being way too loud!
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Animated GIF via Giphy

Yes, I wear earplugs to bed every night. No, I’m not ashamed to admit this.

The noise levels in L.A. are probably comparable to any big city or college town, but I had to add this con because the random firework explosions, finals week screaming at midnight (yes, that’s a tradition here) and obnoxiously blaring car horns make finding peace and quiet an insufferable task here.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but living around L.A. is equivalent to the conclusion of La La Land’s opening dance number: Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic while a stupidly attractive guy flips you off before speeding away. 

Whether you’re an incoming UCLA Bruin or a young adult looking to move to the sunny West Coast, establishing a life in Westwood/LA/West Hollywood/Brentwood is certainly not for the faint of heart—your first task being to figure out where you even live, which may take years

But if you can keep up with Angelenos, you can essentially do anything. Just come join us, it’s never too late!

Grace LaPlante is currently a senior English major at UCLA—she’s a literature lover, music enthusiast and sports fanatic with dreams of traveling the world someday!