An Interview On
University of California at Los Angeles

Background

Interview Date:January 2019

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Indian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in the East Bay Area, CA with a graduating class of about 1,000 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Psychology
Minor: Statistics
Extracurricular Activities: I work on the UCLA Radio Station team.

How has working at the radio station impacted your experience?
Being able to work on the station has been fun. It’s nice to meet a lot of people that I have things in common with, and who are working toward a common goal.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
There are no assignments for Psychology, but we have weekly meetings and have to read journal articles. Later on in the quarter, we’ll have a literary review group project.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I’d like the Psychology program to reach out more often to undergraduate students about research opportunities. I know a lot of pre-med students do research pretty easily. For a Psychology major, I feel like they aren’t as accessible.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s not as competitive as I thought it would be when I got into UCLA. The typical learning environment includes big lecture halls, and there are some discussion classes under 30 people. I don’t have any outstanding observations about the learning environment.

How accessible are your professors?
They have office hours once a week, so they are kind of accessible. Some of them say to email the TAs before them, so maybe they don’t want to be as accessible as they are. In general, if you desperately need something from them, you can contact them.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I was first in Business and Economics, but I wasn’t happy. I hated Economics, and Psychology was the only other thing I knew I liked. Not knowing what I wanted to do for a career, I felt like it was a good place to be in. So far, I’m happy, and I think I’ll stick with it.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Rieber Hall with two roommates.

Sophomore: Rieber Hall with one roommate.

What was your favorite living situation?
I think the double was nicer because we had room for a TV.

How was transitioning from the East Bay Area to Los Angeles, CA?
I’m from the Bay Area, so it’s not like L.A. is crazy different. The weather is a lot warmer here, which took a little to get used to. Socially, people were different, but it wasn’t [a hard transition] at all.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel super safe all around campus. I haven’t encountered any situations where I felt unsafe.

Pros and cons of being located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles?
Pros:
1) The location in terms of safety. It’s a very safe area.
2) There’s a lot of stuff to do around here.

Cons:
1) It’s kind of far away from the city, and public transportation isn’t that effective from here.
2) The apartment rent is high.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Aside from typical college apartment parties, I don’t really do much. There is a bus that goes straight from here to Santa Monica Pier, and that’s definitely a popular nighttime activity. Also, a lot of people go out into Westwood to Rocco’s, which is a bar. There’s a lot of food directly off-campus, which people indulge in on the weekends.

What are your favorite events or activities?
We’re all busy people, so just getting food or being in each other’s presence doing homework or watching TV.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Usually just Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because it’s the weekend. If there were plans to do something during the week, and I could do it, nothing would stop me from do something then too.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There are a lot of campus clubs that have events. Also, in LA there are a lot of concerts going on all the time, and there is a lot of food in Westwood. I feel like there’s an endless opportunity of things to do directly off campus.

How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think I’m pretty happy with it. I typically like to spend my nights relaxing after a hard day of work, just kicking back and turning on the TV.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
They were my roommates or were on my hall last year.

How would you describe the overall social scene at UCLA?
I’d say people are pretty social at this school. I feel like UCLA does a lot more social activities than the average college.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
All the time. In fact, my immediate friend group is racially diverse. There’s a fair amount of racial diversity on this campus, and that’s really cool. [UCLA is 3% African American, 28% Asian, 22% Hispanic, and 27% White.]

How would you describe the student body?
It obviously large, there are about [31,000] of us. Generally, I feel like the student body is very humble and nice. I haven’t really encountered anyone I had a real problem with. I also feel like everyone minds their own business. I’d say it’s a little bit cliquey, but that’s only with Greek life. Otherwise, everyone is easy going and friendly. I feel like I’m on an equal level with my peers. [There are about 31,000 undergraduate students.]

Do you think people are happy with their choice of UCLA by senior year? Do you think people leave loving UCLA?
Easily.

How do you like the size of your school? How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
With the hills, we have a lot of stairs on the campus. It’s impacted my social life in the way that when I’m talking to people, I’m probably a little bit out of breath immediately after the stairs. It’s one of the smaller UC campuses, and I like that because I don’t have to walk hours to get somewhere or take the bus to get to class or anything. Even though it takes me 20-25 minutes to get to class, everything is very centralized, and I can get used to that.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I haven’t really looked into that yet, but supposedly it helps. There are a lot of workshops where alumni come and talk. You can ask them questions, possibly about internships.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful was it?
I haven’t used it, but I intend to.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’m in a Psychological Statistics class, and we’re learning the language R. Statisticians use this during research.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something a prospective Indian student should know that we haven’t touched on?
There aren’t as many Indians here as you think there are, but maybe that’s just within my social circle because they probably exist. I don’t really care that there aren’t a lot more, but I figured there would be.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The food. We have an outrageously unnecessary amount of food options at this school. We have four regular dining halls, then three or four take-out dining places. I did not realize the extent to which I would be spoiled food-wise. Other than that, I’d say the stairs are going to be a problem in the beginning. They stop people from going to class, but they are easy to get used to.

Reasons to attend UCLA:
1) I wouldn’t call UCLA a quiet campus. There are lots of things going on all the time. For some, that might seem like a pro, but for others who prefer a quiet, distraction-free environment, that might be a con.
2) It’s ridiculous how good the food is for a college campus.
3) The weather is nice.
4) There are over 1,000 clubs. There is definitely a club for every person, where you don’t have to feel like you’re alone. There are other people you can share your interests and common pursuits with.

Reasons to not attend UCLA:
1) I’ve had some bad professors. At first, I thought it was just one guy, but I’ve had several terrible professors, and that’s not something I’d expect out of such a prestigious institution like UCLA.
2) You definitely have to reach out into social groups, organizations, or whatever you want to do. If you don’t make an effort to reach out a little bit, you’re going to be left doing nothing. There are always people handing out flyers and stuff, but if you don’t take the time to show up to a meeting, nothing will come to you. You have to go for it yourself.

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