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University of California-Los Angeles

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What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I wish I would have known that it is impossible to participate in everything UCLA offers. I was thrilled to join Greek life, the fencing team, student government, and a religious organization during my first quarter at UCLA, but soon learned I did not have time to remain involved with those activities and the political, theatrical, and service-based clubs that also interested me. My experience has become a balancing act of prioritizing activities, events, schoolwork and internships, and I wish I would have been able to accept the fact I would have to miss out on some activities sooner.

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My personal feeling is that regrets, which are feelings that the future is limited by the past, are thoughts that are simply not worth having. I believe that what we perceive as mistakes are vitally important steps in the process of learning and self discovery that constitutes life. Frustrations, disappointments, or uncomfortable surprises are like teachers that are there to alert us to our own preconceived notions that limit our ability to accept life and make the most of it. Sincerely, I don?t wish I had known anything before I learned it; that's what makes the journey meaningful!

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I wish I had known the background nad specifications of some specific departments at UCLA that have captured my belated interest both academically and career-wise. They are Film, International Development Studies, World Arts and Cultures, Ethnomusicology, and Geography. While few high-schoolers think of these departments when choosing and enterring universities, these departments at UCLA are some of the best in the world of their type, and it makes me wish I had committed to a few them early on in order to have further explored my future in these fields.

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Before I came to UCLA, I wish I would have know how different college is from high school. In college, you make your own schedule, you are more independent, and you have so much freedom. I wish i would have known that UCLA is extremely competitive and challenging. Every day is an obstacle where you have to continue striving for that career of choice. I came here thinking college would be fun but I never considered how hard it could be. Everyone at UCLA is extremely intelligent and on their way for accomplishing goals for that better future.

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I wish I knew how to say no without feeling guilty. There were so many extra-curricular activities, social events, sport and fitness options, and fascinating class topics that I became overwhelmed at times. It was great to dabble in everything that was offered for the first year, but as time went on I should have had the confidence to surrender and say, I know this offering is a great opportunity but I want to concentrate on this other thing. The ability to not stress about missing out might have strengthened my connections and confidence.

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I wish i had the opportunity to get more financial assitance for this school. Prior to attending this university, i had few guidance in my high school about the many scholarship opportunities. My high school consisted of only one college counselor, who was at times difficult to reach. I would here about some scholarship opportunities, but I often felt discouraged to apply because i felt that my GPA wasn't high enough or that my family socio-economic level was not good . Now i regret not applying to the few scholarships i knew about.

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Before arriving to UCLA, I wish I had known how much more disciplined I have to be with school, work, clubs, and how to balance personal and family time on a regular basis. I also wish I had known ahead of time how the process of picking classes went because orientation was really stressful. I wish I had known that tuition would increase, without warning, at an alarming rate in a matter of months entering my first quarter. I also wish I had been more informed about the campus, the events, and what special programs the school offers.

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I wish I had realized the importance of creating and maintaining social networks with more peers and professors. As I near graduation, I realize that these casual connections are the keys to getting a foot in the door for various career arenas. Furthermore, the pressure for finding a job right after graduation is accentuated by the large amount of debt I have accumulated; had I been more aware my financial responsibilites, and how to save and manage the funds I was receiving, I may not be under such financial stress.

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This is no fault of the school, but I wish I had known that I could take more classes outside of my major earlier on. For some reason, I thought I was limited because of either time or credits. In retrospect, I could have mapped out which courses I absolutely had to take and when so I could plan to take non-major classes around them. I would have sooner realized my interests in other subjects, and could have double-majored or minored. Sadly, I lacked the financial means to remain another year in order to do that.

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Before coming to this school, I wish I had known just how competitive students are academically. Throughout high school teachers are constantly warning students to prepare themselves for the workload of college courses and to not expect to be at the top of the class anymore, but I was never too worried about that. As long as you manage your time well and keep your priorities in order, you will do great and still be able to have a social life. It's all about finding balance between class, work, and friends and fun!

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