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!