On March 13, UCLA announced that instruction would be offered remotely through the end of the year. Although spring quarter is being offered online, it feels like UCLA is winding down — which has prompted me to take a step back and think about college as a whole.
Prior to entering college, I heard stories about classes, parties, food, etc. But I wish I kept in mind what college is NOT about, so I could begin with the right mentality. Everyone's experience is different, but here are my two cents on college so far.
WHAT COLLEGE IS NOT ALL ABOUT
Posting everything on social media.
During the first month of winter quarter, I took a break from Instagram. I found myself living in the present, enjoying each moment for what it is, and feeling my emotions rather than projecting an image. (Stay tuned for an article about this, coming soon.)
Taking the easy way out.
Work through challenges, not around them. BSing interviews is a huge temptation, but I've met amazing people just by prepping or studying with them. Going through the process may be a lot of work, but it accelerates growth in the long run.
Sticking to the plan.
I love plans. However, they don't always pan out. Maybe you feel like you should change your major, try out for that club you've been eyeing on Bruin Walk, or go for that team you told yourself you weren't going for. I wasn't planning on joining Bruin Women in Business, but I tried it out and fell in love with it. Fortune favors the bold, but fortune also favors the fluid. Listen to your heart.
WHAT COLLEGE IS ALL ABOUT
College is all about learning, but not just academically.
Explore. Figure out who you are and who you want to grow to be. Mistakes will happen, but that's what makes explorations "learning experiences."
For example, it took me two quarters to realize that I am not willing to compromise my values in order to appear "successful" in the eyes of others. Keep an open mind and the learning experiences will just keep rolling.
2. Taking risks
One of my favorite quotes is "Take the risk or lose the chance." The scariest part about risk-taking is the possibility of failure. However, getting over my fear of failure has been one of the most liberating lessons of my life. Sure, it sucked getting rejected from various clubs and jobs, but I became a more knowledgeable, experienced person in the end.
3. Making lasting friendships
As I look back on my first year at UCLA, I remember my friends more than anything else. My classes were great, but my fondest memories are spending time with people. Taco parties, Netflix nights, or just lounging… any time with loved ones is well spent.
It's hard not to rattle off a list of cliches in an article like this. But I look back on my high school experiences and the beginning of my college experience, wishing I would've kept a level head with this advice in mind.
Sometimes having fun can feel out of place in the midst of the hustle and bustle culture of the present. However, the right thing may feel like the wrong thing in the moment. In retrospect, I'm grateful I made memories this year that make me smile and laugh without fail.
You never know what day is your last. So even though it may feel like it sometimes, college is NOT just about your GPA, your Instagram caption, or even the job that you land. College is all about learning holistically, pushing yourself, and creating memories.