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University of California-Los Angeles

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

My undergraduate coursework in neurobiology and psychology has given me a unique perspective. I am forever considering the intricacies of brain circuitry and neural activity. I constantly see behaviors in equilibrium state responding to fluctuations in physiological function. Most importantly, my education has taught me to think critically, problem solve, and approach complex analyses confidently. Supplementing my coursework, I also pursued the opportunity to work as the primary research assistant on a large retrospective study at UCLA Medical Center. This experience gave me insight into how clinical research is conducted, and increased ability to critically examine and understand other medical research. Additionally, I have already had the privilege of working with multidisciplinary healthcare teams in multiple settings. As the coordinator of a yearly summer diabetes camp and in the UCLA emergency department, I have seen teams of physicians, nurses, EMTs, technicians, nutritionists and social workers come together to provide comprehensive patient care and education. I have come to have a great appreciation for the importance of a well-functioning interprofessional work and educational environment. These skills and insights gained during my experience at UCLA have been invaluable contribution to my life long skill sets.

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Many go to college in search of a career. While attending UCLA did lead to greater professional prospects, it offered something much more valuable: the opportunity to become a well-rounded person. Through my college experience, I gained not only the academic but the personal wisdom necessary for success. This wisdom was achieved through my scholastic, social, and internal experiences while at UCLA. My coursework taught me to think critically and intelligently about life and society, while a rigorous academic environment helped strengthen my work ethic. The extracurricular activities in which I participated lead me to adopt new interests, learn about diverse cultures, and gain compassion for various social causes. Encounters with people on campus, from professors to roommates, opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and communicating, and lead to life-long friendships and connections with some of the best and brightest in the country. Lastly, learning to live independently and productively contributed to personal discoveries that would otherwise not have been made. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a baccalaureate in psychology, but the greatest reward I received was gaining life experience amongst wonderful influences that contributed to my becoming a well-rounded human being.

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Ask yourself key questions. Do you want to go to business school? Look into schools that offer practical courses that will help you get into one, as well as schools that have their own graduate schools of business. Medical school? Find universities with high acceptance into medical schools, with opportunities like a student Emergency Medical Technician program. Do you want to do social work? Look for urban schools with active campus participation in such activities. Still entirely unsure? Find a large school that will help you decide, by offering variety: of courses, counselors (each with their own experiences), and campus organizations (which can spark your interest in a field you never considered, and connect you with professionals in any field). You'll choose your top school based on many qualifications, including the campus, classes, and people. But it isn't the only school. Your second, third, and even last choice schools have interesting and unique cultures, alumni and opportunities. With determination, you can reach your goals (and discover new ones!) at any school. Don't immediately decide to transfer. Allow yourself to see all sides of the best school that accepts you, and give it a chance to be great.

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I’ve completed my first year of college with new friends, memories, and ambitions. While a psychic reading would’ve been helpful during my senior year of high school, I shouldn’t have worried excessively. Embrace the present to ensure a better future. If procrastination were a deadly sin, I would’ve gone to hell long ago. All-nighters won’t disappear until you modify your habits. I’ve sprinted—up stairs and hills, through major crowds—to English classes on essay due dates. If I allotted myself more study time, I could’ve spent less time in the floor lounge at 4am, eyes glazed over my computer screen. Prioritize academics without sinking. Now and then, explore the local beach or museum. These are incentives for hard work. Study to understand: not just to reach a benchmark. B+ instead of an A-? Oh, well. It’s more remarkable to discuss class material and apply it to daily conversation. Sometimes, embarrassment is essential for progression. Enjoy college life while you can. Even when facing homesickness or academic, health, and personal issues. Difficult times are temporary; your harnessed mental strength is an everlasting asset. Above all, amazing college memories outweigh unpleasant ones.

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?Go Bruins! Beat the Bears!? We chanted at the Rose Bowl. As an incoming freshman, I did not think school spirit would be as strong on such a large campus. However, I realized becoming a Bruin meant we always stand together, and gain the intrinsic disdain towards the Trojans from across town. The days following my becoming a Bruin were like an adventure, moving on to campus, first day of class, meeting new friends, each day more exciting than the previous one, until reality caught up, the week of November 18th. UC President announced the fee hike, as an out of state, loans were already overwhelming, but with this increment education was becoming unaffordable. Having fully comprehended beforehand about the financial hardship college was, I would have prepared a better financial plan, applied for scholarships and researched other financial resources. Not alone with this unavoidable stress, we all came together protesting against the increase, our former rivals from Berkeley became our allies standing alongside us, together against the system. However, the UC system is not solely responsible for my financial situation; I could have been more prepared. If I could do it again, this time I would definitely plan ahead.

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After emigrating from war-torn Laos, my dad came to America and enrolled in college, but he also needed to work to finance his education. However, balancing both his studies and a 40-hour work schedule became a struggle. He chose to continue his job as a waiter in order to save up money for my and my brother’s college fund. My mom attended The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; however, she had to withdraw because she could not afford the cost of tuition. From parent’s experiences, I learned to value the importance of my education because their sacrifices and hard work gave me the opportunity to attend college. In addition, attending college was extremely valuable to me because Thai individuals like me are historically underrepresented in higher education. My experiences at UCLA cemented my desire to receive a graduate degree in anthropology, enhanced my commitment to become an anthropological archaeologist, and helped me to understand the difficulties faced by those who lack the accessibility, affordability, and resources to higher education. Furthermore, I have come to embrace the unique facets of my Thai-Chinese American identity that I have long been disconnected from during my childhood years.

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There is nothing more confusing and nerve racking than choosing which university to attend. There are so many factors for students and parents to consider: cost, campus environment, instructional programs and a school?s reputation, to name a few. How can one decide? Students and parents must first make a list of the various criteria that they feel are significant and rank them in order of importance. The final decision will come from how well a college fits the criteria. To reach this final decision, one must do their research. There is a wealth of information online, but it is just as important to visit various campuses and talk to students and alumni. Some information is easy to access, such as tuition and campus size; however details such as social aspects or environmentally friendly campuses requires one to delve deeper. Making the college experience enjoyable is about trying new things and being engaged. Getting involved and working hard in one?s passions will achieve a sense of fulfillment outside of obtaining a degree. In the end, the student?s personal drive will make them successful, for a university provides the foundation, but the individual decides what to build upon it.

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The student's posession of self awareness of the importance and necessity of education, as well as insertion of a clear goal before attending a college is crucial to student's success in their college life. To be an educated person means to take into account different perspectives of variety of social groups and persons and integrating those differences in one's knowledge basis, thereby allowing fabrication of informed, suitable choices and decisions. A student must respect other fellow colleagues and professors, and must be willing to learn new materials, social and academic, by interacting with other people. In the course of such endeavor, a clear-cut goal set before the student's entrance to a college institution is critical in guiding himself/herself to achieve personal affluence. Whether or not a student reaches that goal is irrelevant to success, since it is virtually impossible to grasp exactly what the student wants before entering a college. I hope that a college education will provide grounds to achieve insight as to see what kind of options the student may have after college and that the student is able to integrate those options to set a more definitive goal after graduation.

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The main issue that parents and students look at when choosing the right college is whether or not it specializes in a specific academic program or has a particular major. While securing an academic path is important, an equally important question should be considered when making a landmark decision such as this: Does this college fit my personality and offer me opportunities beyond getting good grades in a classroom? Each college is unique in not only its degrees and education, but also in its environment and setting. Students who are extroverts and enjoy being surrounded by an energetic vibe may feel more at home in a cosmopolitan school, whereas reflective and solitary students may enjoy the intimacy of a smaller school. It is important for each student to feel as if they belong on that campus to enhance their learning experience and also be immersed in various activities suited to their individual personalities. Such activities do not necessarily have to have the purpose of advancing their career or education. Look for a college which fulfills what college should be about: allowing you to experiment with different interests to discover your identity and broaden your view of the world.

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Throughout my first year of college, I have the opportunity to experience freedom, independence, community, and diversity. Before going to college, I was always bounded to home; I did not have any say once my parents? decision was final. On the other hand, while in college, I have the authority and final judgment in everything I choose, but freedom also comes with responsibility. Consequently, I taught myself to be responsible. Independence became a huge part of my college growth as well. Because my parents' constant involvement in my life, I became a very dependent child; thus, after going to college, I had to learn how to live on my own and wisely manage my own time. It was difficult at first, but I managed to pull through. Furthermore, living in the dorms promotes community; I discovered that instead of individual lifestyle, everyone lives together as a whole big family and helps each other out. Lastly, since colleges are composed of students from all over the world, I have many opportunities to interact with various students who came with different culture backgrounds. Those consequential aspects I attained in college are the reasons why I perceived it is valuable to attend college.

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