I Just Finished The Last Final of My Undergraduate Career

I Just Finished The Last Final of My Undergraduate Career

I did it, everyone! I graduated!

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I've dipped my hand in the waters of the Inverted Fountain. I can't and won't go back now.

We have this tradition at UCLA involving our beloved and iconic Inverted Fountain. During our student orientations, we place our hands in the churning waters of the interesting piece of architecture with the knowledge that we cannot touch those waters again until after completing our ultimate final and are about to graduate. If you do, you are cursed with an extra quarter added on to your academic year.

Today, I touched the waters because I submitted my final essay for an English college course, and I have nothing else left between that paper and my graduation day.

I transferred to UCLA two years ago, and consequently, had two fewer years than other students at UCLA who began attending their freshman years. I walked past the fountain for my first year often and always thought: 'Maybe it won't be so bad if I have another quarter here. Maybe I'd finally have that college experience people talk about. Maybe I could make more friends and take a more active part on campus. Maybe...I could dip in one toe.'

Like I said, it's been two years and I never touched the water of the Inverted Fountain until literally five hours before I started writing this article. And I am glad for it.

Transferring and making the most out of my two years of UCLA meant that I made the transfer friends that I might not have made otherwise. It meant that I took advantage of all the services available on campus and checked out every nook and cranny, knowing I had less time to explore than my other four-year friends. Honestly, I think I know more about this campus now than most students have known their full four years here.

I was scared at one point that two years wouldn't be enough. But, if you've read any of my previous articles, I think that my appreciation posts for my roommates, the campus and Westwood are enough for me to write future iterations of UCLA college brochures. I love UCLA and all the people that I have met here. I wouldn't have become the woman and adult that I am today without the environment that nurtured me and challenged me and excited me.

I will have left UCLA by the time this article will be posted. I am thankful for my time here and I will not forget any part of it. Thank you, UCLA. Bruins Born, Bruins Bred, Bruins till the day we're dead.

Cover Image Credit:

Andrew Evans

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An Open Pat On The Back To Full-Time Students Who Also Work

You really deserve an award, but this article will have to do.
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It's pretty freaking hard.

“I can work nights and weekends, I'm a student," you told the manager during your interview.

So, what does he do? He schedules you most nights and weekends. This is OK. This is, after all, what you asked for. So you start working.

Class, class, work. Class, work. Class, no work tonight, you sleep and it feels like the first time in years. Class, homework, homework, homework. Class, class, work.

Before you know it, it's the weekend. There's a party. Your friend wants to see you. Your mom is calling you to see how you are.

But you are working all weekend.

You call your mom on your half hour break. She tells you are doing too much. She tells you that you should work less. Ask for less hours. Sleep more. Eat more. You will get sick.

You get out of work Friday night around 11 p.m. There is still so much night left!! You try to hit up that party. Sure, you will show up a little late, but at least you will make an appearance. At least you will get to see some of your friends. At least you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself. At least you will be able to have some fun. By the time you get ready and get there, people begin leaving. You begin to wonder why you came out in the first place.

“I'm sorry, I've been at work" becomes an all-too-familiar phrase.

But, but, but.

You really deserve a pat on the back, so here it is.

You've given up a lot. And you work crazy hard. Those long nights and hours are hard. A lot of kids your age don't work and rely solely on your parents. But you, you have taken it upon yourself to earn some money for yourself. You are a full-time student, and most of your free time goes toward working and supporting yourself.

You truly do not get the appreciation that you deserve.

But when you do get some time to go out, when you request a weekend off, you have some money to spend. You are never the guy who can't go out because they don't have enough money.

And of course, you will start saving. This is huge. You're going to graduate in debt (probably), and because you busted your butt during school and saved up, putting a crack in that debt will be a little easier for you.

You are a forward thinker, whether you realize it or not.

You are building responsibility, money management, and self-reliance skills, whether you realize it or not.

You are quite mature for your age, whether you realize it or not.

AND YOU deserve a pat on the back. So here it is.

You're incredible. You're amazing. Go get 'em.

Seriously, take a second to congratulate yourself for all your hard work.

And whatever you do, get some sleep, kid. And remember, don't work yourself too hard. Just hard enough so that you feel good, and rewarded, and happy.

You're the man. Keep killin' it, dude. Keep killin' it.

Cover Image Credit: Peter Bernik/123rf Stock Photo

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I Never Wanted To Go To College

I never wanted to go to college, but I stayed because I learned some things along the way - who knew.

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I went because it's what the family expected from me. It's a step towards a successful career path. And obviously because it's a natural progression from high school. But deep down I never wanted to go because I really found no reason to be there.

In my view if you weren't going into traditional career fields, going to college was an expensive long shot. I was also careful to pay attention to all the people that attended college only to work in fields different from what they originally studied.

I was wary but didn't care so I don't put much thought into it. I applied to a handful of schools and attended the one that was more convenient. Once there I found the whole process disheartening.

I relied heavily on financial aid and felt the interaction and choices I was making were more transactional then enriching. It was just like high school again. Go to class take notes, read the book take the test, rinse and repeat until you get the degree.

That was until I fell into a philosophy class that was really challenging. It was challenging in a way that I hadn't been experienced in a while. I was having trouble understanding the material but desperately wanted to learn it. I read books over and over until the concepts were crystal clear. It also helped that I had a teacher who was passionate about the subject as well.

It kind of changed my whole approach to picking classes. Sure I'd visit the advisors and get their take on how to follow the quickest path to graduation. But I also wanted to be intentional with my course selection and take classes where I would learn as much as I could in topics that interested me.

Whether or not they fit my major. That's the only thing that made going to school worth it. Learning topics that change how I approach life and challenged my thinking. Then I was growing intellectually and not just checking boxes for a degree.

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