23 & A Quarter

Who knew UCLA would kick my ass to the point where I would be off the grid for so long. However, the work was all so worth it. Did I have a handful of panic attacks? Of course, it’s a given at this school. Do I love it? ABSOLUTELY.

Although so many things have happened, I sometimes forget to acknowledge how mentally challenging its been. My first quarter at UCLA. Seeing kids mentally breakdown publicly with no shame. Losing my ID card and wallet multiple times, then bolting back  to find them. Thinking somehow being late to class would get me pushed out of my spot. Having no clue what a course reader was, and having to figure out where they were sold (there’s this sketchy shop in Westwood that sells them and I have no clue how it’s even part of the school). Figuring out what a Discussion was, and they’re essential to your already long lectures. Filling out a bunch of random forms so you don’t get frozen from enrollment on certain dates, on top of your schoolwork. Discovering that athletic events are hard to attend when you’re trying to get good grades. Discovering living life in general is hard when you’re trying to get good grades. I remember, there were so many points I actually felt trapped. Even thinking about UCLA made me sick to my stomach.

I know what you’re thinking, “You’re being over dramatic, Kat.” That’s the thing ain’t it? Nobody really knows until they experience it themselves. I attend one of the best schools in the world. I should be grateful, and obviously I am, but there’s a huge difference between admiring the school from afar, and being a student there. It’s tough. Then, add the pressure of the prestige and high expectations. It can be suffocating.

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So, what happened? Well, I made the best of my situation. UCLA is beautiful. Even when there were days where I wanted to punch the school’s face (if it had one), it was beautiful inside and out. I remember when I was walking out of class after a tense conversation with my professor (he wouldn’t let me retake a quiz and I was pissed) and I was thinking the most negative things about the university. Then, the sun started to set near the Powell library. Guys. It’s like cotton candy and fluffy Dole whip decided to magically float and dance together in the sky. And the fountain in front of the stairs, where that view of the sunset was the best, began to glisten with pinks and blues from lights installed. The buildings and halls looked more like beautiful castles than classrooms for students. No matter what mood I was in, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful and lucky I am to be here. Or the sculpture garden. Nothing beats listening to music through your headphones, strolling within this sanctuary of unique pieces, and finding a spot in the grass to lie on. Time moves so slowly, and your troubles melt away.

Until, you get up and grind again. Midterms, finals, and projects are hard but not impossible. If there’s any transfers reading this, it’s hard to be a freshman trapped in a junior’s body. Make your life easier your first quarter. Take easier classes because it’s gonna be hard still. It’s ok to only focus on school your first quarter. If you have to work though, less school work is essential (bruinwalk.com is your best friend, it’s the same thing as ratemyprofessor.com so find those nice professors). Having trouble making friends? Go to the Bruin Transfer Center or even Holly (on-campus housing for transfers). They’ll have events where you can mingle with your fellow transfers (trust me, my solid group of friends happened because I did this). You will get through it, and you will make friends soon.

Finish one quarter, and you’ll feel so much better as a student. Also, you’ll know what you can and can’t handle (adding more classes, starting an internship, volunteering, going to sporting events, etc.). You know how much you should read, you know how you should study, and everything starts to fall into place like it did in community college (or at least that’s what my case was, every transfer has their own background).

So guys, I am 23 as of last week and have finished my first quarter at UCLA. I’ll share more stories soon, until then, talk to you later.

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All that stress… turned into a perfect day #UCLABound

I cannot express the happiness I have felt in the past week. Hard to believe how only that short amount time can be life-changing. If I actually dissect moments more within those days, a second can even define your future. And the sliver of time I am typing about, is the moment my decision letter from UCLA came into frame on my iPhone.

Here’s some background, I applied to plenty of universities. My top 3 were UC Santa Barbra, Berkeley, and Los Angeles (from low to high). Honestly, I worked my ass off for the grades and student leadership opportunities I achieved. I kept straight A’s as I created the first Communication Honor Society and led the Honors Student Council (HSC) to its former glory. I founded the Why We Love OCC event and successfully executed it, while I got almost perfect grades on my Finals that same week. Did I mention I had a job and an internship all at the same time? I am still amazed by how much I did and what I was able to handle as my schedule for such a long time, but I loved doing it. Like they say, just because you do all the right things doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get into your dream school. So if you’re going to go above and beyond, quick advice, make sure you’re doing the things you love or else all that work feels pointless no matter if you get into your university or not.

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Moving on, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It is a rare occasion that a transfer student gets into both Berkeley and UCLA. You usually get one or the other. If you get into both, give yourself a grand old pat on the back because you did the impossible according to community college counselors and alumni students. Thus, I was extremely terrified to see my decision letters. Especially since, I decided I wanted to attend UCLA over Berkeley at the end of my Fall semester. UCLA is very impacted, and Communication is a very impacted major. In 2017, UCLA only accepted 12% of students who applied for Communication. Over 950 Communication students applied. If you can’t do the math, let me help you out, a little over 100 students were accepted. The odds were not good at all.

March came, a month before UC’s decisions. I found out I got into Cal Poly Slo and holy shit it felt good. Then, the first week of April came. I got my first acceptance letter from a UC. I burst into tears because the first UC I got into was UCSB. I was accepted into one of my top 3 schools! I was relieved that if it wasn’t meant to be with LA and Berkeley, I was going to be at one of the best Communication departments and live near my older sister who is a UCSB Communication graduate.

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With each day in April passing, my anxiety and nerves heightened. Along with a decrease in my confidence of being accepted to my top 2 schools. The last week of April was here, and UCLA decisions usually came a day earlier than Berkeley’s which was set for Friday April 27th. My boyfriend and I made plans to go to the Carlsbad Flower Fields for Wednesday April 25th. The Monday of that week, I received a text from my HSC group chat of a screenshot. The picture showed UCLA Admissions just responded on Twitter they would be posting decisions the day I was going to the Flower Fields. I immediately thought, well either I’m going to have a pretty good day until I am devastated by that decision letter OR it’s going to be one of the best days of my life. One thing that struck me with absolute fear, I find out in two days.

In those two days, I graphically narrate what shall happen once I am rejected from UCLA to my boyfriend, my family, and my friends. First, I will accept why I was rejected but then start ugly crying. I will keep refreshing the page of my decision letter thinking I maybe read it wrong, and cry some more.  I will keep moaning how devastated I am and apologize for my existence. I will officially go missing from social media and be off the grid, until everyone stops talking about how they got accepted to UCLA while I didn’t. Until finally, I start to draft my appeal. Yes, I was going to do that because I am crazy.

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Wednesday was upon us, and I was shitting myself. I kept thinking to not think about UCLA. Focus on the pretty drive to Carlsbad, and I will soon be surrounded by flowers like the poppy scene from Wizard of Oz (if you don’t like that movie, you don’t have taste). I check the UCLA decision’s site again and again, but it is still down. It says it will be back up in the evening. WELL THAT IS NOT SPECIFIC AT ALL. I even checked the definition of “evening” to get a better answer, not specific as well.

We arrive at the Flower Fields and oh my god. My jaw dropped when I saw the color oriented fields of flowers. They went on for miles, and we were right near the ocean. It was beautiful. My boyfriend came to the rescue with his nice Nikon camera snapping pictures of me in a dress that I was supposed to help promote. It wasn’t all business, we walked around the fields holding hands, we ventured into the sweat pea maze, and had an amazing strawberry milkshake. He’s busy too, so it was nice that we had time to relax and enjoy a small day trip. For a second, I almost forgot about UCLA decisions. Well, almost. I start to say what if I don’t get into UCLA, but I get into Berkeley. He looks at me and speaks as if he’s carefully picking his words. He says, “We will figure it out, we will make it work.” We both smile with hope, but still have a ping of sadness.

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We were back in the car and heading home, when my phone vibrated. A text from HSC, I knew what the message was about before I even read it. UCLA decisions were up. As I type my information into the decisions page, Jamie and I are dead silent. I quickly hit “enter”, already fearing the worst. In an instant, I see in big bold blue letters “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE UCLA BOUND.” I am blown away with happiness, but I still ugly cried. I still refreshed the page to make sure I didn’t read it wrong, and continue to happily cry. I still moaned, but cried instead, “I cannot believe I got in, I am so happy, I have never been this happy before…. I shouldn’t have worn makeup today, I am so stupid, I cannot stop crying.” I didn’t go missing from social media and go off the grid, but I decided not to share my decision letter at the time in respect to my peers who may not have gotten in. A planned out scenario, for a completely different outcome. What made it better, my boyfriend holding me (as best as someone can in a car while driving) saying how proud he was of me and he’s so happy for me.

I called my parents, my sister, my wife, and all my other nearests. They were so excited for me and made the moment even more immensely special. My favorite phone call was with my grandpa. He kept saying how proud he was, how I absolutely deserved it for how hard I worked, how happy he was I called him to share this moment with him, and how he cannot wait to tell everyone his granddaughter is going to UCLA. My heart melted.

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The next day, I found out I was invited to Honors Night at OCC where scholarships are awarded to students. How could it get any better than this? Until finally, I found out I got accepted to Berkeley the next day. I was shocked and so thrilled I was able to be one of the rare students that has gotten into both Berkeley and UCLA. However, when I found out I got accepted to Berkeley, I was satisfied but not overwhelmed with happiness like I was for UCLA. At that moment, I knew I was making the right choice that UCLA was my school. I am going to Bruin Day, and if all goes well, I am not going to hesitate to submit my Statement of Intent to Register (SIR).

The point of this blog post is that there are going to be days where you feel like you’re contributing to an end goal that is not in view. If you can’t see it, what makes you think you will ever see it? My answer to that, I had one goal my whole life. I wanted to go to UCLA ever since I was in 1st grade. I was 8 years old. Now, here I am with an acceptance letter to my dream school at 22 years old. Do dreams take that long to achieve? Not necessarily, it took me three years to get my life together and work towards transferring to UCLA. If I was told in high school I was going to end up at UCLA, I would’ve laughed thinking there was no way in hell I was going to be lucky enough to go there. Once again, here I am. The point I am trying to make, if you’re going to work towards something and you remain on top of it even when it gets so hard, the energy you put in is bound to come back. Of course failure can be inevitable, but you’ll only cement the failure if you give up. I promise you, someday, it will all pay off.

Tune her thoughts

She sat across the couch from him as he tuned the guitar while sitting on the stool. She let herself sink into the couch as she hugged her legs draped by her maxi skirt. She used to wear this skirt a lot when she was a carefree spirit, only looking to get high in a secret garden with a chocolate shake in hand. However, she felt more on edge than what this skirt usually entails. She felt uncomfortable. Around the guy who usually puts her mind at ease. He started to strum the guitar, and one of the strings sounded off to her. He played with the guitar pick until he suddenly stuck it in his mouth to use his hands instead. She asked, “is it just me or does one of the strings sound off?” He finally looked up at her, holding her gaze with his green eyes. With his hand he strummed the guitar and it sounded superb. He smiled biting the guitar pick still, “it’s just you, babe.” She honestly smiled, and let go of her captive legs to lay them on top of his lap as he continued to fill the room with music.

Interview #11: Jade Sta Ana

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I loved this denim mini skirt with a butterfly on it, I loved to wear heels that didn’t match. They were wedges, and they had blue and white polka dots on it. But I liked that it didn’t match and I killed it anyways. Whenever Britney Spears came on, like Slave 4 You, I’d rock that outfit.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: Homeless, I am wearing a navy blue pull over that I washed too many times, leggings where the elastic doesn’t even work anymore, and really nice nikes. People think that I’m homeless but I’m dope homeless

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?
A: A year from now I’d hope to be better at writing, writing more poetry, and doing more things to pursue my career as an elementary school teacher. I’d be wearing apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur.

Interview #10: Sam Isaacs

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: Dungarees (overalls) because I had a brother who was very similar to age of me and we would dress like twins. I had corduroy Everglades green dungarees, and i looked banging in them.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I got the pants from America in Boston. I love them because of the color and my bum looks quite nice. The boots are from TkMax, I can just run around them and look posh, and I bought the plaid button up from H&M. I love a good collar. I think people think I’m smart, poncy, and Cambridge.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: A year from now I’ll be doing this program, and hopefully it’ll be bigger and better. But it won’t be you guys, who are my number ones. I’ll be wearing tight pants, boat shoes, a strong collar, and I’m feeling the pinks so a strong salmon collared shirt. Very profesh.

(Sam was my advisor for the study abroad program in Cambridge, simply the best person you’ll be blessed to meet if you get the chance).

Interview #9: Krista Marina

(Krista currently attends Orange Coast College and is a rising singer/songwriter)

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: Headbands. It helped get my annoying hair out of my face, but it would make an outfit too!

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing essentially all black, open toed boot heels, black jeans with holes at the knees, a black blouse with thin white stripes & bell sleeves, and a starry bracelet. I’d like to think people think that I am confident, I am comfortable with myself, and that I’m free spirited thanks to the bell sleeves.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: I’d hope to progress significantly in my music career. I’d hope to wear black jeans, some type of cute comfy shoes that makes me taller, probably a signature shirt, a piece of clothing that makes a statement, and quaint jewelry.

Interview #8: Zoe Muratalla

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I loved wearing Roxy shirts and board shorts because I loved going to the beach ever since I was a baby, I wanted to be like the cool surfer girls I saw in magazines.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing a black denim skirt, white tank top with intricacy, and a Levi denim jacket. I think that people see it as simple style, not super crazy. An easy-going outfit besides leggings.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A:  I’d hope I’d be continuing my education at UCSB, and be at the beach wearing comfy beach sundresses that I love. Plus, sunglasses because I love sunnies!