Do I Belong Here?
Start writing a post
Student Life

Do I Belong Here At UCLA?

I lost a lot of things so far (my sanity, a few brain cells, ink in my printer and thousands of dollars to name a few) but still had something—my self esteem.

640
Do I Belong Here At UCLA?
Renee Lee

Way back in high school, late March—around the time when college acceptances were given out, there was a huge buzz going around about who got accepted, who got waitlisted and who got rejected to their dream schools.

As still the "new girl" who had applied to barely any schools (I had moved from Connecticut the middle of my junior year), it was an unusual process for me. I thought Cal States weren't prestigious enough, UCLA and Berkeley was too competitive, USC was too expensive and UC Irvine/Riverside were a waste of money unless I waited two years to be eligible for in-state tuition. It felt weird trying to apply to schools back on the East coast when I had just moved out to California, so I didn't even bother.

I got rejected to UCLA at the time, which wasn't a huge surprise—just about everyone in my senior class did too. Even those who everyone thought would have a chance at getting in, ultimately didn't and had to settle for their "safety" schools such as UC San Diego, Irvine and LMU. One of the smartest kids in my class got a flat out rejection from UCLA despite boasting a near perfect math SAT score. Obviously, if he didn't get in, how do you expect someone like me to get in?

Fast forward to now. 2019. BruinCard in hand, I roam around North Campus, walk up Janss Steps, hang out at Westwood Village and type away on my computer at some random corner of Royce Hall in between lectures.

How I got here still seems surreal. How did I go from graduating high school as a straight B student who ditched class on a regular basis to handing in 15 page papers and studying for a degree in a subject which I had zero passion about four years ago??

As one would expect, my first quarter at UCLA was a total chaotic mess. The I-Have-No-Idea-What-I'm-Doing type of mess where you're smiling on the outside but painfully dying on the inside.

Socially, I honestly just felt like an outsider. I felt as if I wasn't smart enough to belong with the “smart kids". But at the same time, I wasn't the cool/outgoing type to join a sorority and go to some top tier frat party every week. I was just average.

It was hard for me to feel accepted because I didn't know how others would perceive me. How others might judge me simply based on what my major was or the fact that I didn't attend UCLA beginning my freshman year—I transferred in.

I'll never forget the time a TA asked all transfer students to "raise their hand" at our first discussion section to shamefully single us out.

Or the time a professor commented how my writing style was a bit unusual since it lacked a certain structure and my thoughts were rather sporadic, hence the big fat C on the first page of my essay.

I couldn't help but stare at the mass of students rushing by me in their UCLA sweaters swinging around their trendy hydroflasks to ask myself: Do I belong here??

With that realization, I constantly tossed and turned every night, ugly cried about the overwhelming stress of trying to balance academics, work and my social life and anxiously submitted assignments knowing they would eventually be teared apart or perhaps even laughed at by the professor and his TA.

I contemplated about dropping out. During my hardest moments, I seriously considered it to be one of my options.

But it turns out that although I lost a lot of things during my time here so far (my sanity, a few brain cells, ink in my printer and thousands of dollars to name a few) I still had something—my self esteem.

I still had the confidence to own up to what I was capable of, and realize how far I've come from my high school days. Sure, I might never have the type of intelligence and the impressive test scores as the math prodigy kid from high school did but I worked hard to earn my place at UCLA.

I didn't take some one way golden ticket to get here. And I'm not simply going to graduate by waltzing through my classes and giving up on essays just because of that one professor who thought my writing sucked. I'm not going to hide under a rock to avoid making friends—I'm going to get out there to join clubs and even start my own student organization to meet new people and make the most out of my time here.

If any of you reading this are experiencing what I'm going through—just know you are not alone. You are not the only person at UCLA (or whichever school you attend) who feels isolated. You might feel as if you're not good enough or that you just don't belong. But you can't force yourself to become a genius overnight or magically pass all your exams and ace those papers. You can't become friends with everyone on campus or make all the professors love you.

You know what you can do? Take advantage of the situation like I did to truly realize your capabilities. Understand how far you've come to get where you are now and never take that for granted.

You become what you make of yourself. So the next time you want to wave that white flag of defeat, think again.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

20 Quotes That Will Make You Smile Today

Everyone could use more self-care and without the judgement...

68
20 Quotes That Will Make You Smile Today

Welcome to a new day and a new opportunity to be our best selves. Here's a list of 20 quotes about self-care, self-love, positivity, and finding inspiration. Carry these quotes with you throughout your day for positive upliftment!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

10 Small Reasons To Smile​

There's always a reason to be happy.

1185
10 Small Reasons To Smile​

It doesn't cost a thing - so smile.

Keep Reading... Show less
11 Songs That Will Hit You In The Feels, No Doubt About It

One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is making different playlists on Spotify. I find it so fun to go back to old songs, find new ones, and categorize them into my different playlists. We all have that one playlist that we resort to when we are really feeling some type of way — also known as a "feels" playlist. If you have one of these playlists or feel ~inspired~ to make one, here are 11 songs that are a must to add.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

To My Fellow Girls With Resting B**** Face

A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.

3128
Jupe du Jour

To the girl with resting b**** face:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriends Of The 2000s

Thank you, J14, for the Posters

5751
J14 magazine

Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments