10 Things I'm Excited To Have Done Before Graduating

10 Things I'm Excited To Have Done Before Graduating

I’m crossing things off my college bucket list, one adventure at a time.
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As I’ll be graduating in five months from UCLA, aka my second home, the sentiments have started pouring out - both in the form of Odyssey articles and in my daily activities.

“Oh, I’ve got to go to Wooden Gym every day because I won’t be able to in five months!”

“I’m definitely going to Spring Sing in my final year!”

“Do I need a yearbook? I don’t care. I’m gonna get one!”

And a regular one in my apartment, “Woah...it’s already fourth week of winter qua—” “Nope! Stop it! Don’t you dare finish that sentence!”

Besides the general UCLA traditions I can’t wait to participate in again for another year, there are certain aspects of being a university student I’m glad to have done and to do soon.

1. Doing touristy things in my city

Being in Los Angeles definitely helped in this task, but discovering the city you'll be staying in for one to four years is highly necessary.

I went hiking to the Hollywood sign, went to shows and concerts around the city, and hung out at the beach (whenever I got the time). All those experiences helped me adjust and create some of the most formative memories of the last few years.

2. Staying overnight in the library during finals week

I know this sounds crazy. And possibly, fundamentally unhealthy.

But staying overnight in the library (and ordering pho through Postmates to our research library) is an experience I wouldn't take back now. Even though I hated myself in the moment for keeping my body up that late.

3. Taking fitness classes

Take advantage of this!! Taking cheaper classes and using the free gym were a couple of my most proud decisions as a college student. You'll rarely find the same resources and facilities, for the price, after leaving a college campus.

4. Participating in organizations on campus

Everyone says go join an organization to make friends. And they aren't wrong!

But you can also change career paths because of an amazing opportunity. Or take on leadership roles you wouldn't have otherwise. For example, I am currently the President of a creative writing organization and also teach fifth grade through it.

5. Going to university athletic events

School pride is the best (and frankly easiest, if you go to a college like UCLA) way to get involved on campus. There's a crazy surge of energy one feels when they're at a football or basketball or soccer game, and you feel your whole school surrounding you.

U! C! L! A! Fight! Fight! Fight!

6. Getting to know my professors

I know it used to be embarrassing to have to hang out with your teachers at lunch during school. But we quickly figured out that becoming friends and acquaintances with our professors was the best way to understand our classes.

There are also the opportunities for research and internships professors tend to know about. Especially if it's your professor who's the one doing something really cool that you could have the chance to be a part of.

7. Saying “yes” to meeting new people

Finding an environment I felt comfortable in took a while after starting university. I wasn't sure about large parties and I was nervous about injecting myself into what I assumed were already-determined cliques.

But the thing is, most people are excited to be making new friends. I figured out where I felt best—small kickbacks or parties that my close friends throw or dorm events—and I went there and made new friends!

8. Showing people around campus

I feel pride when I can easily show my friends, family, or tours my campus. I get the feeling that I know my own campus well enough that I can get other people to fall in love with it as well.

9. Reading on the main campus quad

I've always wanted to be part of those establishing shots or scenes in college movies. The ones where there are college students playing guitars on the stairs or playing Frisbee on the grass.

I always feel that moment when I grab the books I need for the week and sit in the columns of Royce Hall or on the rolling Janns lawn.

10. Making lifelong friends

I had always hoped I'd make some of my best friends in college, people who grew with me at the same time of our formative years. And I did!

I love my roommates, the friends I made in my major and even the random people I ended up becoming close to at a random party. Even without the other amazing experiences I will take away from college, I know that the longest-lasting would be the friends I made.


I know graduation is going to be that much sweeter because I will have fulfilled so many college dreams throughout my time here at UCLA!

Cover Image Credit: Jui Sarwate

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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