- Class: Freshman
- Major: Government
- Gender: M
- High School: San Dieguito Academy
- Transfer Student: N
People get worried about such a big school. I certainly was. The truth is, UCLA is its own city. I came from a small high school where everyone knew each other, the teachers were personable and friendly, and spirit was kept on the DL. At UCLA, I have had a very different experience, and I couldn't be more grateful. College is supposed to bridge a gap between one world and another. Being in a big place allows you to find communities and use your own resources. Probably the main difference between the pre college and world and the post college world is that no one hands a lollipop in real life. At UCLA, I've been able to go out and find my own lollipop in a safe, encouraging environment. The school seems smaller than it is when you be yourself and go out and DO yourself...if that makes sense :) Honestly, UCLA has no weaknesses. Yes, here we go, another Bruin who likes to brag and say NOTHING bad about his school. The truth is, the only complaint that continues to poke my side is parking. Parking at UCLA blows. It's like trying to talk to Buddha about the quadratic formula; your needs simply won't be addressed. Other than that, UCLA caters to all. Bruin plaza has been host to experiences I'll never forget, like a mock wedding for a gay couple (just months before the California Supreme Court legalized it!!!), a mindblowing birthday party for Israel, a performance by someone who, in my mind is the next Marvin Gaye, etc. If you mass thousands of people who are smarter than you who then devote their every day to helping you experience something bigger than yourself, you will get my school.
Professors will know your name if you raise your hand and are a good student. My favorite classes have been the two classes I've taken that I anticipated to be the most boring: Introduction to Jewish Studies and 19th Century American History; Jewish Studies because I'm a Jew and therefore have a strong background in the information I would be learning, and History because well...come on, it's history. The truth is, I could not have been more wrong. Both professors retaught me how to think, encouraging the incorporation of viewing information as belief instead of fact and analyzing for what it can be instead of what it is. Both professors knew my name because I raised my hand often and disagreed with their views even more often. Both TAs (grad students) knew my name all through the courses and got me thinking even more than the professors did. I met the professors and TAs outside of academic purposes a few times as well. My least favorite class was Theater 20. Now hold your horses, I LOVE acting, come on. But the class was for non-majors, and the TA didn't seem to respect the students' potential very much. I attribute this to the fact that our Theater school is one of the best in the nation. All of my GE classes have been interesting and I've had great selection. I took a class on music's influence on Religion in global cultures. It was taught by a professor who was born in Macedonia, grew up in Croatia, spoke 7 languages, and had experienced and worshiped with virtually every religious tradition in existence as part of a life goal of hers. THIS CLASS WAS A GE!!! I learned a lot, despite her thick accent. Don't underestimate the power of ALL departments at UCLA. There are no weaknesses (except Geology, I've heard?). Engineering is top notch (I have friends pulling all nighters to write 30 page computer programs, so I know), humanities are well funded and attract thinkers from all over the country, sciences seem to attract a lot of professors who used to teach at MIT...weird, and the Arts are so comprehensive, I don't see how anyone could choose *cough* CAL *cough*.
UCLA is known for its diversity. Well, that and it's Asians, but mostly for its diversity. I only mention the Asian population because I came from an area of Southern California lacking a strong Asian population, so it was a bit of a culture shock, but a good one. The great thing about being at a school where there are so many types of people is that you can't help but get along. If someone harbored racial or another type of tension toward another group, he/she would have nowhere to turn because of the extensive diversity. I experienced the environment first-hand in my own room, where one of my roommates was a Japanese bisexual atheist bio major from about 15 minutes away from where I lived, and the other roommate was a debating conservative Vietnamese physics major from San Jose. Personally, I'm a flaming art-minded liberal Jewish guy who is undecided on major but knows he's going to live in a box in due time. The thing is, we have become good friends and get along great. People of all socio-economic, religious, sexual, racial, and cultural backgrounds learn and interact together on campus, and it makes UCLA a better place. People are generally very active; you'll see student groups on Bruin walk every day advertising another event, activist organizations pushing for another cause, or people debating another intellectual topic or controversy.
The Best Things
There's nothing that isn't offered to you.
The Worst Things