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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Dear UCLA Dormmate,

I know you are on the same boat as me, but let me explain how I got here first. I thought I could get away with requesting a single at UCLA Housing. Thus, what was the need to make a roommate request when I wasn’t going to have one anyways? Turns out, I was wrong and wasn’t considering the many other students who wanted a single. And here we are, not knowing each other still.

UCLA Housing informed me I would not know who my roommate is until the end of this month. I don’t know if you checked too, but if you did, it’s good to know you’re just as anxious as I am to figure out who you are. We’ve known for over two months we would be in a Double Deluxe at Sproul Landing/Cove. The real question is, with who?

Whoever you are, these are my hopes and dreams of who you could be. I hope you don’t snore, but if you do I hope you at least warn me about it (I can get ear muffs or something). I can promise you now, I am a very silent sleeper and I also like sleeping early. If you’re similar, then we will get along swimmingly. I do need to warn you, I am a morning person. I tend to be energetic as soon as rise from my slumber, even a sip of caffeine will assure me not sleeping that night. If you like to go to coffee shops, I do too! I will be getting tea instead of coffee though, sorry. I apparently stomp loudly, so I am sorry if I wake you up in the morning, I will try my best not too. As I hope you would do the same for me.

I do not mind if you bring people over to our room, you don’t even have to ask. I hope you’re the same way. I’m not much of a partier, I prefer small get-togethers or kickbacks. Frat parties I would like to avoid, I have had my fair share of Greek parties thanks to UCI. If you’re the same way, we might as well be best friends. I am not a super anal cleaning person, but I promise my things will remain in my general area and I always clean up after myself when it comes to food or using anything. Also, I tend to organize and clean once/twice a week so our room won’t be too messy.

Which brings me to share the most important part of this letter to you, I want to be close friends. I am always down for movies, I love any kind of music (except country, unless it’s Johnny Cash), I love talking/taking part in sustainable living, and I am more than happy to try new food places. I want to be able to go to school events with you or hit you up whenever I got time to kick it/ need a study buddy. I am also down for Netflix marathons, so if you ever wanna do a Girl’s Night In, you know where to find me πŸ™‚ .

Warm Regards,

Kat Sotoodeh

P.S. If you love Disney movies and ramen as much as me, we are definitely going to be best friends.

 

Community College is Over, and Summer is Here!

I officially finished Orange Coast Community College. This place has taught me so much about my major, general education, and myself. I remember the first time I ever set foot on the campus, I was given a tour led by a former OCC Women’s Tennis player. My high school tennis partner and I were recruited to play for the team. I joined community college because it was the best option I had for an education at the time, and I wanted a second chance at my college education. I got accepted to a few good universities, but none that really peaked my interest. Furthermore, I gained so much more from going to a community college than I ever thought was possible. Without OCC, I would never have been able to get into UCLA. Especially in their Communication department.

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If you are in high school, in a university that you hate, a single parent who wants a different career path, a veteran who wants to return to school, or anybody who wants to just find what they want out of life, GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE. It will hopefully change your life for the better, like it did for me. The best part, you can be involved as little or as much as possible there. For those who are in community college and are having trouble making friends, join a program or club. While I was at OCC I was part of the Women’s Tennis Team, the Honors Program, DSPS, Sigma Chi Eta Communication Honors Society, Honors Student Council, Speech and Debate Team, and Green Coast Day Committee. I met so many people and made great connections that I know will have for the rest of my life. Those people have inspired and motivated me to become a better student and better individual. You want to plan a community wide event? You are totally capable of doing that with lots of help if you have a club or student government backing you! For example, I was able to host campus wide events such as Why We Love OCC and Green Coast Expo, which I will always proudly boast about due to their successes. Financially struggling? Community colleges are known for offering financial aid and even handing out their own scholarships that you can look into! Have kids? Community college will probably have resources where you can drop off your kids until you’re done with classes. It’s pretty amazing.

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Now that I have finished singing my praises for community college, specifically Orange Coast College, it is time to move on to bigger and better things. Summer. You are a true blessing in my life. I am finishing this blog post in England. I will get into more details of my trip once it is done, but I hope my readers are enjoying their summer as much as I am already. Just wanted to write this blog post to share my appreciation for my community college since those institutes don’t receive the love they deserve,Β  and wanted to keep you guys updated that more posts are coming once again πŸ™‚ .

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In the meantime, here’s a photo of a flock of geese that all were eerily staring at something…. We still don’t know what they were looking at.

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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, β€œis 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, β€œit’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.

Having a blog for a year.

Just renewed my domain. Weird to think how much can change in a year. A year ago, I had no clue what this blog would bring me. I only did it because I wanted to pursue my passion for fashion. Then, possibly transition to something I’ve always wanted to do. My end goal for this blog,

Getting people to tell their story. Personally, my favorite form of entertainment is personal and real stories. Great examples of this work is Humans of NY, StoryCorps, and Strangers podcast. I absorb that material like a sponge. There is seriously some things out there you cannot write. Might as well get the best stories straight from the source, am I right?

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I guess that would mean I need to dive deeper into who I am and tell my stories as well. What’s the point of giving a space for encouraging those to reveal their life tales, if you are too afraid to do it too? I wouldn’t say I am wise, nor am I strong. I try to act those things but I know I can only make that character real for so long. I have had some crazy experiences though. Traveling to different countries starting at the age of seven, still learning to love myself and body everyday, accepting there will be those who you love that will be your enemy someday, losing control of your body and how to cope once the nightmare is over, becoming someone you would hate if you ever met them, the difference between “love” and “in love”, understanding you shouldn’t push those away who will show you what there is to love about yourself, and even more.

The purpose of this blog post is to make a public statement. I will still post interviews about people’s clothes. The whole point of that interview bit is if I compliment people on their outfits, I should get to know them better for rich style could also mean rich personality. However, I shall begin transitioning people telling stories about themselves. It could be their happiest memory, their worst memory, their most embarrassing story, if they only had a year to live what would they do, etc.

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I am starting anew because I am moving on to bigger and better things. I have already been accepted as a transfer Communication major student to Cal Poly SLO and UCSB. We’ll see what UCLA and Berkeley decide at the end of this month. Until then, stay tuned for more material. Thank you to whoever has followed my posts so far, I hope it has been fun and entertaining in some form πŸ™‚

i love you most.

a few weeks ago,Β  three interactions made me realize something.

the first one, my boyfriend.

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i was leaving his place to go eat dinner with my family. this relationship is probably the most mature one i’ve had yet. i have a key to his place, i have a toothbrush there, and some pieces of clothes lying around. my home away from home. not only was our union random, but the way it started shoudn’t have been that easy for us. and we definitely should’ve been more cautious going into it. but we weren’t, and everything happened so organically and nothing felt rushed at all. our big foundation was we had plenty of time, when rushing was always my biggest worry due to past problems. and he completely understood. we have fun doing the most basic things, from watching Drake and Josh on the couch to grocery shopping at Sprouts. there’s never a dull moment. anyways,Β  he walked me to my car and he held my hand until we got to my vehicle. i turned away from Hermia (yes, that is my car’s name, in honor of Midsummer Night’s Dream) and looked up at my big friendly giant boyfriend to be kissed quickly by him, “got ya!” stealing kisses is his specialty, so are silly voices. he tells me to have fun and he’ll see me soon. as he walks away i say love you. he responds i love you more. i shout back i love you most. he shakes his head side to side as he yells back No!

the second one, my mom.

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i was leaving the restaurant where i met up with my mom and dad. we ate Persian food, the culture my dad descends from and I am half of. we had a lovely time trying this new hole in a wall, to the point where we plan on having this be our new place. they had tender steak kabobs, perfectly cooked rice, and the spices mixed well to satisfy any foodie. my dad left early to go on a walk, while my mom and i stayed behind for some hot tea. we talked about her tennis match and the rest of my day. it was peaceful and comfortable. of course, a few jokes and teasing were added to make light of the mood. i am known as my mom’s twin, clone, the blondes. whatever fits the day, i am always paired with my mom. and who wouldn’t like to be? i love my mom. thus, when we parted ways to our cars i started to holler at her i love you. she responded i love you more. i curiously shouted back i love you most. she laughed as she responded No!

the third one, my best friend

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i was driving back to my boyfriend’s because I accidentally left my textbook behind. i decide to call my best friend who now goes to school up north. we met through our college tennis team and we were inseparable. we went through a period where we carpooled together to school, even though she and i lived a huge gap of time away. that’s when we bonded the most. we lip synched to songs we showed each other, with too many of them being claimed as our songs. when she left, it was hard for us both. phone calls remained our consistent connection, and we would talk long enough that the distance didn’t matter. all that mattered was we were still there for each other, no matter what. to bring this all back, she answered and we fell into our old habits of jokes then telling each other what we did today. i pulled up to my boyfriend’s house and told her i had to go. i sadly said i love you. she insisted i love you more. i confidently confirmed i love you most. she giggled and shouted from my phone’s speaker NOPE!

why am i sharing this? because, there are points in life where you feel unloved or alone. i have definitely felt like that in my life. at this point however, i have created strong relationships with people i am truly grateful for. i have felt in the past people taking advantage of my compassion, and when they would say they loved me, i knew it didn’t compare to how much i cared for them. i have cut those people out of my life and others should too. it does get hard because those emotional drainers realize how important you were to feed their idea of themselves, so they’ll say/do anything to keep you near. if that is the case, watch out for yourself and stay strong. because one day, you will find yourself surrounded by people who live closely by your moral compass. and another day will come, when your wholehearted love will be met with theirs evenly.