Shooting deaths at my beloved alma mater today. It's horrifying that this continues to happen. I hate this act so much, and that it continues to happen. But I wanted a list that focuses on the positive when I'm hurting. Here are some random things I love about my school and why I chose it as my leap into adulthood. Bruin strong 🐻πŸ’ͺ🏽 Class of 2004
  1. β€’
    Dorm Brunch
    The food in the dorms is famously delicious. Visiting friends from other colleges would gasp in awe when dining with us. Weekend brunch was the easy highlight, and many a Bruin has spent a good 3 hours putting away waffles and made-to-order omelettes while shooting the breeze with their buddies. My bachelorette party even finagled a meal there years after graduation β€” the perfect hangover cure
  2. β€’
    Rolling Down The Hill by Janss Steps
    You haven't lived until you lie down like a log and roll down this grassy slope (graduation gowns are good for this). Or ice block sled down it in the dead of night.
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    It's huge
    There were 24,000 students there at the time I graduated (2004). This is not a good fit for many. But it was wonderful for me β€” this place was overwhelming and intimidating. And so is the real world. UCLA made me learn the rules, figure out when/how to cut through red tape, how to be my own advocate and forge my own path. It pushed me to be independent and I am stronger for it.
  4. β€’
    Powell Library
    The main library on campus is downright gorgeous. Plentiful in study carrels, cozy chairs for naps, and decent vending machines right outside. You walk up those stairs, peak into the Main Reading Room with its huge windows and pretty beams, and feel that shiver of blessed academia run down your spine.
  5. β€’
    Incredible Diversity
    I mean this in every sense of the word. You will find ALL KINDS of people here, and if you look around and participate you can learn a lot. I have friends of varying ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, interests, and talents who all found a place here. Plus, this place has insane talent and opportunities in both sciences/tech and humanities/arts. You can study a wide variety of stuff here.
  6. β€’
    Inverted Fountain
    This is where incoming undergrads get baptized as Bruins, and you're not "allowed" to touch the water again until you've taken your very last final senior year. So each June, you're guaranteed to find kids getting rowdy with bottles of cheap booze. It's a truly glorious tradition.
  7. β€’
    All the Unifying Events
    UCLA encourages the student body to be involved, and you really get a sense of solidarity when you participate in (or just attend!) some school-wide events. Sports games (tailgating at the Rose Bowl is a must), the Homecoming bonfire, Spring Sing (school musical talent competition)...these are beautiful ways to feel a part of some big bigger. 8οΈβƒ£πŸ‘πŸ½ (honorary mention to finals week traditions of yore: Midnight Yell and the Undie Run, both occurred during my tenure)
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    Final important side note β€” If you fear for someone's mental well-being, you HAVE to speak up
    At time of writing, we don't know the story of what happened in the UCLA shooting, the whats and whys and whos. I'm speaking generally about people who are looking to harm themselves or others. I have had two friends who been actively suicidal. Both times, I had to call in other friends to create a support network. Those situations do not just go away, they do not resolve themselves. It wasn't anything that they (or I) could handle alone. You have a responsibility to reach out.