New Beginnings

Before entering the realm of higher education, I had the faintest idea of what college would be like. I knew that for the first time in my life, I was on my own. By choosing to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, I was given a new set of responsibilities, freedoms, and an unfamiliar yet exciting environment. The realities of being given this much independence was unsettling yet exciting.
My first quarter was filled with trials and tribulations. Although I did not think I would feel homesick, there were times through out the quarter where I felt alone. As heavily populated as UCLA is, I had difficulties coping with the distance between my family and I. With many of peers originally from Southern California, I was jealous by how often and easily they could go back home. My homesickness would occur when I was left alone, or stressed by academics.
Part of the reason my homesickness was so strong last quarter was because of how difficult my first quarter was. I came to the realization that college was different from high school very quickly. Although I only took three classes, the course load was plenty to keep me busy. I have never read so much in a matter of 10 weeks than I did in my first quarter of college. In addition, the amount of hard work I put into my classes did not always translate into the letter grades I received. I was frustrated by how futile my efforts were. And since UCLA is on the quarter system, I felt dragged by the quick pace. This has taught me to adapt and resilient in times of distress.
Balancing my academic and social life was yet another learning experience. Trying to excel in one’s classes, participate in organizations, and have enough time for oneself is a constant challenge. Whereas I could do anything and everything I wanted to while in high school, I knew this would not translate well into college. Because of this, I decided not to participate in many clubs. While this gave me more time to focus on academics, I was left unsatisfied. Finding a good mix between academics and clubs are important. I was never the type to lay idle, and this new approach left me both unhappy, and regretful. While I did have more time to study, I would not always use my time effectively. Being more involved has actually forced me to manage my time. Maintaining one’s mental health is important, no matter how much emphasis is put on academics.
I have learned many things in my first quarter of college. While my experience was not smooth by any means, I am excited to take what I learned in my first quarter and apply it to my future college endeavors. As fast as high school was, college is even faster. It should not be used to be regretful, but to be resilient and progress in the face of conflict.