My first year at UCLA was indescribable, it was a challenge, it was something completely new and something that allowed me to grow into a more mature/independent young woman.
The first three weeks at UCLA were exciting, I was happy to be in Los Angeles far away from home; most of all I was excited to experience being on my own. I was not home sick for those first three weeks, but I was very nervous and shy when it came to my classes ad getting to know other people. After the first month at UCLA I became very home sick but coped with it by webcamming with friends and calling my family every night.
Making it to UCLA is an accomplishment that I am very proud of but at the beginning of the school year I questioned my abilities and compared them to the ones of my peers, peers who obviously grew up in better environments and attended high schools that were extremely competitive. In high school I was used to being the top student who had no competition, but at UCLA I struggled and had to come to terms with accepting the fact that I was no longer the top student in the class; I now had to work ten times harder than I ever did in high school. I doubted my abilities the first quarter but throughout the first year I discovered that I was just as competitive and capable as all the other students, even if it took me longer to understand something.
Three things that I had to teach myself during my first year were:
I had to learn to read, and by "learn to read" I mean to comprehend and analyze in depth what I'm reading. I had to learn to read beyond the words on the paper; to think what the literature means and how this literature was relevant to the topic that I was studying and of course how I could expand the ideas that the writer focused on. I also had to learn to read faster, this is something I really wish I could have learned in high school.
I had to learn to write better and to write more than just one draft to be able to get a good grade.
I also had to change my study habits, the study habits that I had in high school were not helpful in college. I had to rethink my study habits, and change them to what would be most helpful to me.
Another thing I had to learn during my first year was to take care of myself. Once you are in college you won't have your parents there with you, and you have to be responsible with what you have to do. In college you won't have anyone to remind you to study or to go to class, or to even pay attention; all of this you have to do it on your own.
The best part of being in college was discovering new people, I truly believe that if I had not gone from the East Bay to Los Angeles I would have not met the many great people I know now. "Who would have I met in Richmond? or what would I be doing if I had not gone to college?" I really don't care to know the answers to these questions because I am having fun being in a new environment where everyone that surrounds me has a positive view of the future and cares about and education as much as I do.
The 2017 Vanderbilt Cohort Has Been Selected
6 months ago