How To Survive the First Quarter of College


And I might not have received the grades I wanted in my classes but I still improved from where I started, and I am still alive. So without further ado, I introduce my tips to surviving the first quarter at UCLA.

Dorm Life

1.      Invest in some type of air conditioning.

That may be a large fan, or housing that has AC in the building. It might be Fall Quarter but it is summer for a good couple of months, and walking up that hill in the heat (and all the way to Hedrick Court) is torture.

2.      Yes you will need shower shoes.

Even if you have your own bathroom, it’s not just the tile that seems grimy,it’s the carpet in your room.

3.      Snacks are essential.

Your appetite schedule might go through a drastic change and you’ll find yourself longing for anything to eat at 12 am.

4.      Invest in good lighting.

That light on the ceiling of your room is straight from the ceiling of Home Depot. It’s miserable. Invest in a tall lamp that will provide you with a warm light. It will feel nice and home-y.

5.      The bottom bunk is not the coolest bunk.

Sure, you can flop down on it anytime you want, and you have tons of wall space, but you literally have no privacy.

6.      Try all the dining halls.

Find your favorite. Go to the to-go places in your hour of need.

7.      Eat healthy when you can. (I guess you could go to B-Plate)

You might have dessert-only nights at a dining hall (it happens), but once in a while try to eat some fruit and veggies.

8.      Be honest with your roommates.

Talk it out if you’re uncomfortable with anything that is going on. You’re paying tuition to live there and you don’t deserve to feel uncomfortable in your own dorm.

Academic Life

1.      Sit where you want to.

The first week, I sat in the front rows of my classes because I had heard it is the best place to sit. I found that it is not. I could barely see the board because it was basically directly above me. The back rows might be for snoozers but if you need visual space to read a board, it’s quite nice at the top.

2.      Back-to-back lectures are hit-or-miss.

I had two back-to-back classes, and while it is nice to get them out of the way in three hours, my MIDTERMS were back-to-back and it was A HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. Three hours of my neck being bent down, a pounding headache, and annoying jeans are not the keys to success.

3.      8 AMs.

I haven’t had one yet, but honestly by week 5, my 9:30 AM class was hard to wake up for. Sometimes you have to do it, but I, a goody two-shoes in every way, lost my ability to wake up before 8 am.

4.      Get help when you need it.

Counseling, tutoring, and studying with friends are gifts from a higher power that you will not realize until it’s a little late. (Unless you already know that.)

5.      Get help when you don’t need it.

In high school you can blow off some classes and still ace the final because your teachers love you, but here it’s really important to spend an equal amount of time on every class because you never know what can happen.

6.      Discounted textbooks in the student store don’t exist.

The best place to find your textbooks at a cheaper cost is in the UCLA Free & For Sale Facebook group. People post their old textbooks and most transactions are done right on the hill or on campus. You don’t have to pay for shipping or wait a few days for it to arrive.

Social Life

1.      Make a Facebook if you don’t have one.

You don’t have to post anything, but sometimes it’s the only way you will find out about events happening on campus and in your residence hall.

2.      Go to floor meetings.

They establish a sense of community. (It’s also okay if you find out you don’t really bond with your floormates, but you have to give it a try first. The same thing goes for roommates.)

3.      Go to football games.

Maybe even buy a Den Pass and go to all of them!

This is where my advice ends because I am not exactly the most social butterfly in the kaleidoscope (yet I manage). Above all, just be open to the fact that everything is going to change and nothing is as it seems. I told myself I would embrace the change and (while I already wish I didn’t have to embrace my GPA just yet) I’m doing it. Good luck to all you future Bruins!


BTW: I will probably add more to this if I think of any more, and I will make more lists after future quarters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s