Tag Archives: UCLA

Senior Crisis

Would it surprise you to know that I’m a bit afraid of commitment? I had no problem saying yes to my wife, but almost anything else that requires a commitment scares me.

We might be going to see him Sunday!

Recently, we decided that it might be a good idea to adopt a cat. We have been wanting to get a puppy for a while but our current building doesn’t allow them. And unfortunately, neither will our housing for our next three years. I’ve had a lot of stress-related problems and have gotten good at dealing with them. However, I still feel like something is missing. This is how we ended up talking about the possibility of getting a cat. Did you know some cats could live for 20 years? That’s quite a commitment, isn’t it? Funny enough, this is not the one that I’m struggling with. Rather I’m struggling with prior commitments I’ve made.

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Married During College

This is bizarre. Only recently have I begun to feel like I’m getting the hang of things around here. Right when I’m about to leave UCLA.

It was more beautiful in person!

There are many things that I wish I could change, but I’m finally realizing that I cannot control everything. In fact, the only thing I can barely try to control is myself. And I even have trouble doing that sometimes.

On the other hand, some things seem to be sailing smoothly. My classes are depressing. They are mostly about poverty and injustice in the world. Yet for some reason, I seem to be very good at them. Mind you, this is just my opinion since I haven’t gotten any midterm grades back, but I really like what I’ve been writing about. For the first time ever, I’ve felt comfortable enough to share my papers with others- this used to terrify me.

Work sucks, but that’s what happens when you work in customer service. Regardless of how awful most people are, there are still the very few who brighten my days with their goodness and wittiness. Like the older couple today in which the sir was making fun of the fact that he does everything his wife “orders” him to do. I smiled and told him that that’s how it’s supposed to be done. We all had a good laugh with that one.

My internship is the same as usual: It’s difficult to get myself there, but when I do, it’s not so bad. However, I am in the middle of a text-argument with a peer intern (I was not the initiator) and I anticipate this will be a problem in the future, since we usually work together. In short, I’m being blamed because I looked out after my own interest AFTER I had offered a solution to benefit both. Hard not to do when the answer to the original offer was: “Well, that’s really your personal situation, not mine.” Ha, if it had been just my situation then why are you yelling at me through text messages now? Life is a joy. I buy Whoppers for moments like this one.

Just kidding, I bought them because a coworker dragged me to CVS during our break to get candy. I didn’t complain.

My relationship with my wife is great as always. Well, not as always (we are human, you know?), but it’s been particularly good lately. I will not lie, the law school application process was a big problem for us at times, but ever since that got sorted out, things have gotten a lot better. Also, as I blogged before, I have a duty to force myself to calm down. For my health and all.

In any case, last night after studying for a while, we went to the Westwood Village and ended up at 800 Degrees Pizza for dinner. It was legit. All of this goodness I’ve been going through is made a thousand times easier because I get to share it with the love of my life. I really don’t understand why most people don’t get married during college. I highly recommend it 😉

Best pizza I’ve ever had!

-Mrs. This One


Go Ahead, Lecture Me

I am usually fond of guest speakers for two reasons. First, because they provide a break from your usual professor- and it’s always good to have some variety. And second, because they tend to be very important people. Let’s face it, not many professors like to give their lecture time to others- after all, scholars love to hear themselves talk. So when they do, I assume there’s a very special reason behind it.

This time around, we had some smart scholar from Indonesia, who came to talk to us about Islam and Democracy. This scholar had a very serious demeanor and a thick accent. He also used the microphone way too close, which made understanding him the more problematic. After seeing the block paragraphs in his slides, my excitement plummeted. In fact, at a certain point I stopped taking notes, because I simply couldn’t follow.

Via talknerdy2me.org

During my college years (Ha! I sound old), I’ve come to appreciate good lecturers. I’m not necessarily asking for my professors to be standup comedians, but if we, the students, don’t understand what the lecturer is trying to convey, we ain’t going anywhere. Although I dislike admitting to it, sometimes learning can be extremely boring (there’s a reason why some people become jocks, right?).

The question is then: Is it too much to ask for professors to at least try to make their material more accesible? Perhaps universities should offer a workshop on public speaking? Now please don’t think I’m siding with the people who text their way through class because they deem such class to be boring. Rather I’m siding with those who try really hard to get the most out of such brilliant scholars, yet they are unable to because of the lecturer’s poor public speaking skills.

What do you guys think? Did you have a professor who made it very easy for you to fall asleep?

By the way, here’s a pretty cool article on one such professor who goes the extra mile for his students, yet I haven’t been able to take one of his classes:

http://today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/historian-will-deliver-112th-faculty-232267.aspx

Mrs. This One


Another Dimension Maybe?

Tonight I watched an episode of One Tree Hill that focused on letting go of relationships (mostly friendships) because people come and go. This episode was from the last season, but to those who have watched this show long term, you’d know that one of the main themes in this show has been that “people always leave.”

P. Sawyer's Work

Coincidentally, I texted an old friend who is currently in the process of applying to schools. Seeing a news story about UCLA sending out admissions offers in error to some 800 applicants (don’t get me started with this) made me think of her and I got curious enough to ask if she had heard from schools already. To my surprise, she let me know that she had deleted my phone number because she didn’t feel our friendship was healthy. I didn’t really bother to ask her for details and simply wished her luck with schools. The fact that I didn’t fight for it, might hint to trouble in our friendship. But really I didn’t see our relationship as having any kind of trouble. In fact, I thought our friendship would be the kind in which our future children would become good friends. Little did I know.

The weird thing is that I’ve also felt like I’m losing other old friends- including my closest friend. But at the same time, I’m gaining new friends. I’m not sure if this means that it is true that people always leave. But if I keep going at this rate, I will not have people to reminisce with twenty years from now. In fact, as of right now I don’t even have childhood friends since I’ve moved so much in my life.

Mrs. This One


College, Hoops, News, and More!

Can you believe there was a study released accusing the University of California schools from providing an “unbalanced education” (i.e. We’re too liberal) to the detriment of the students? The article came out a few days ago in the LA Times, and although I’d love to link to it, now you gotta pay to read the LA Times.

Maybe it’s the fact I’m graduating, but this study is very offensive to me (and to other students, I’m sure). As a political science major, I get to have the fun discussions about politics. Although most of my professors don’t say it, it is usually easy to tell that they lean to the left. However, this sentiment is never forced upon us. In fact, my professors have usually encouraged conservative students to speak up to counterbalance the view in the classroom.

However, even if this weren’t the case, this study missed an important thing. Part of UCLA’s greatness (in my opinion) is its left-leaning composition. The same way Chapman University students probably love its right-leaning composition. Isn’t that just part of college culture? There’s a reason why Berkeley or Harvard or MIT attract a certain type of students. Sure, balance is always needed, but you can only balance so much!

To be clear, I’ve been a strong critic of UCLA- but my criticism is mostly directed at the bureaucracy. UCLA really is a great institution with a lot of perks. For example, when in my Politics of Economic Development my professors asked how many students had spent more than a week in a developing country, I was so happy to see that at least 85% students raised there hands. You know how hard that is to find somewhere else?

In any case, there’s a certain feeling of relief knowing that this is my last quarter. Thankfully law school is on the semester system. I did very well last quarter, and I plan to rally through this quarter to graduate with latin honors. Because of this, I will be busy almost every minute of every day. Though in the mean time, I’m watching the Kansas-Kentucky game.

In case you’re wondering, my money is on Kansas.

-Mrs. This One


Teaching Assistant or Tough A-Giver?

I never knew of TAs (Teaching Assistants) until I came to UCLA. You know, graduate students who hold their own discussions in addition to the lecture, and most likely the person who will grade you throughout the course. It made sense. There’s no way a professor could handle a 300 student lecture on his own. And with the lack of funding, there’s no better way to offer your graduate students financial assistance than by making up a job for them, right? But what happens when this job comes at the detriment of other’s education?

I must say than in less than two years, I’ve been thankful to have met truly committed TAs who have been there to help their discussions as much as possible. But as in real life, there’s no good without the bad. I have come across two or three individuals who are so bitter about not getting an actual fellowship, that they take it on the students.

Student: “Hi, I noticed that you gave me an A- but didn’t quite comment as to why. Could you help me understand what I could do better for the next time?”
TA: “Your paper was great.”
Student: “I don’t follow.”
TA: You chose to go with X’s argument and I don’t personally agree with it. That’s why you didn’t get an A.”

Thankfully this exchange didn’t happen to me, but I know this TA in question. After all, I had to correct his flawed theories from time to time. This is the same TA who wouldn’t let me see my final to see what I did wrong in it.

I understand TAs though. Since we still haven’t heard about fellowships for my wife, she might end up becoming one of this miserable individuals. But I keep reminding her that she would have been an undergraduate once by the time she’s grading papers. I mean, both my wife and I understand how competitive it is to get into graduate and professional schools. Why ruin someone’s chances because of a personal bias?

I personally gave this TA a very sincere and detailed evaluation, including how he was inadequately prepared to aid us with the material he was supposed to be in charged of. Yet, he doesn’t seem to be listening. My classmate will be taking this matter to the supervising professor next week and I sure hope he does something about it.

-Mrs. This One.


Senior Thoughts

Go Bruins!

Tonight we went to the UCLA vs. Washington State basketball game. Although it may come as a surprise to several Sports Illustrated staff, we actually won this game with enough room to let the benchwarmers take a few shots. As a student season holder, I got to sing, cheer, yell, clap, and smile to what may have been my last UCLA basketball game as an undergraduate student. I even dare to say that there was something particularly special about the bacon-wrapped hot dog I had during half time.

If you’ve read enough of us you’d know that I’ve never claimed to have had an awesome undergraduate career. Tonight I saw this part of my life with new eyes. It may not have been great but it was mine. I’ve been made a Bruin, and I will die a Bruin. Maybe I didn’t get to change to the world yet, but perhaps this was my starting point. Tonight I felt young, even though I know I’m aging quickly. The Los Angeles Sports Arena may not be our actual home, but for some reason it sure felt like it.

Moving to a new city, going to a new school, I don’t think I’ve understood this well until now. It is the beginning of something exciting, of something I’ve been wanting for so long. But if I’m beginning something, that means I’m also ending something else, leaving it behind.

It went by so damn quickly.

Life goes on whether you want it or not. It doesn’t let you catch a breath or take a minute to rest. If I stop everything around me will go on and I will have to catch up to it. Maybe I’ve finally caught up with the situation at hand.

I’m a Bruin for life.

-Mrs. This One


Winter Break is Almost Gone

We’re three days away from starting the winter quarter. If I could, I’d take two more weeks to rest. But no, that ain’t gonna happen. That’s alright, I guess.

Photo Courtesy of Free-Extras.com

During the last quarter I went through a severe period of depression. The worst I’ve had if you ask me. I was doing way too much while being terribly sick. All I wanted was to rest and to not worry about anything else. But that wasn’t an option. I must say that after I got what I wanted (a break), my spirits were lifted incredibly high. I’m back to being the same dreamer I had been not long ago. So much so that I believe I’m going to get accepted into some really great schools.

In the mean time, I’ll be spending the whole weekend cleaning and trying to make this place more livable. We are also going with some friends to the UCLA vs ASU game tomorrow night, and I will definitely be watching the Steelers-Broncos game on Sunday. Not a bad weekend, huh?

-Mrs. This One


Waiting for Christmas

It should be 62 degrees outside, but in this studio, it feels like 50. While I try not to dwell on the lack of a heating device, the hammering from the construction going on in the lobby of the building causes me more distress than anything else. Is it Christmas yet?

I received my first grade of the quarter last night. An A-. Not the best, but also a little too good to be true, given the fact I went through months of homework, papers and exams, while enduring a lot of pain without being able to take my meds. I’d like to pat myself in the back, but there are three more grades pending- and I might not get so lucky the next time.

This past week came and went. It was the last one after finals, and it felt like just another week. I interned for four days, and I also got my old job back. Not thrilled about the latter, but we need money, and no one else is hiring. I’d like to say that I finally get to rest, but now it’s time to get my law school applications ready and hit “apply” about 17 times. On the bright side, I haven’t given the LSAT a second thought. Though between you and me, I think about January 6th (the day scores are released) every day.

We’ll be driving for a while tomorrow, and then we’ll spend a couple of weeks with my in-laws. I keep telling myself that I’m fine with this but for the first time, all I want is some quiet time with my girl away from everything- including family. But I know this is selfish, so I wave my desires away. Some day, I say.

I have no lists this time. No resolutions. Everything just got too tiring. We drove for a while last night to pick up a much needed paycheck (hers not mine), and I counted only 1 out of every 15 houses had Christmas lights on. It was saddening to see the spirit dying, but with this economy, I cannot blame anyone for wanting to cut some costs by letting decorations gather more dusts in a crowded basement room.

In the search of happiness I’ve realized that I like simplicity but some variety helps. For some reason watching two full football games kept my spirits up for the rest of the day. Who knew I loved football that much. Although you gotta admit that the Broncos-Bears game was a heck of a game. Except for the fact that I disagree with the newspapers. I love Tebow and all, but give Prater some credit. The man tied and won the game, and that’s the end of the story. Now I’m looking forward to the college bowl games. UCLA is playing Illinois on the 31st, and Auburn is playing Virginia later that day. If I can watch both games I’ll be golden. If I can hold my girl’s hand to receive the new year I’ll be… what’s better than golden? Double golden?

-Mrs. This One


Has Technology Changed Our Culture?

Today in one of my seminars, this question came up. To my surprise (and my professor’s, I’m sure), there were people who sincerely (and stubbornly) believed that there’s no way technology could ever change a culture. One of them said that culture changes technology (Guy). Another said that it was a “dynamic relationship” (Girl). And the others didn’t even have arguments worth remembering.

The class turned into a mini-debate on the subject. Guy made the argument that we are the same people, we just use different tools. Girl somewhat supported his argument, but added a little example. “Think about back in the day when people ate berries. One of them finally figured out that they could use a stone as a weapon and kill that animal. And now they ate animals!” This was her way of showing that culture and technology interacted with each other, but had no effect on each other. About three classmates and myself sided with the idea that technology can DEFINITELY change a culture. So after Girl’s argument, I said: “you just proved our point.”

I then offered my counterargument. After listening to their flawed arguments, it was clear to me that they were throwing around the term “technology” without having a concise idea of what it meant. I explained to them that technology isn’t just something digital- but that the term included other things. A bottle, for example, is a technology- because it helps us carry and conserve water. Then, I tackled why Girl’s argument was actually evidence supporting my own argument. The people (from back in the day) were now meat eaters. This involved so many different changes including how they gathered, cooked, and ate their meals. AND how eating meat would affect their bodies. This technology, in this case the stone used as a weapon, definitely changed a culture (think of hunter-gatherers becoming farmers!).

The most interesting thing of all is that Guy and Girl still would not agree with what I explained above. They were short of saying that it made no sense. But I think their ulterior motive was that admitting you were wrong about something is not easy for some to do. I do admit though, that we are all ENTITLED to have a different opinion. So if they really want to stand and say that technology does not inflict change, then be ready to look extremely uneducated. I mean, you’re UCLA students, be proud to show off your education.

Now I turn this back to you. What do you think? Can technology change a culture?

-MTO


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