Top 10 Places to Freak Out About Finals at UCLA

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Every University of California, Los Angeles Bruin has experienced the hell we call the quarter system. You only have 10 weeks to master what students at other schools have an entire semester to cover—and that’s if you actually keep up with your classes. Finals week will add a huge amount of stress to your already-hectic life. So make sure to take advantage of the best places at UCLA to decompress, recharge, refocus… or just have a really good ugly cry.

Check out 10 places where you can ugly cry your finals fears away at UCLA.

1. Your RA

Resident Assistant

Audrey Miano

Your Residential Assistant may not seem like an obvious resource when you feel overwhelmed, but part of their job revolves around providing you with support and guidance for any difficulties you experience. Your RA probably knows what it’s like to feel totally unprepared for an exam, or to have 12 hours to start and finish a 10-page research paper. “RAs don’t have all of the answers, but you can bet that they will really listen to what their residents say,” said RA Anna Bothe. “Having a resident confide in me about the difficulties they are facing validates the need for the RA position and stands as a reminder that humans can and should utilize their ability to connect and support one another.”

2. A study room in YRL

UCLA YRL Study Room

Audrey Miano

The Charles E. Young Research Library study rooms offer a variety of amenities suited to your needs as an overworked emotional train wreck. These babies are soundproofed, which means you can cry as hysterically as you like without drawing unwanted attention to yourself. You can also rent them out for 30-minute time slots just by going online. This guarantees privacy and gives you plenty of time to collect yourself before heading off to your three-hour chemistry final. You’ll also find comfort food (like muffins, teas and lattes) conveniently located in the library at Cafe 451. And you don’t even have to get up from where you’re studying to have a quick emotional breakdown.

3. The hill by Janss steps

Hill by Janss Steps UCLA

Audrey Miano

Standing at the top of Janss steps and overlooking Wilson Plaza, the intramural field and beyond to Sproul Hall really reminds you of your exams’ insignificance in the grand scheme of things. But if the sublime aesthetic of Janss doesn’t soothe your finals anxiety, at least you can lie on the hill and water the grass with your tears. “The most memorable cry I have had during finals week was after my first final at UCLA as I walked out of my Chemistry 14A exam riddled with disappointment,” said second year political science student Carolyn Stephens. “I sat on a bench above Janss steps and the crashing burden of inadequacy fell into my lap.”


UCLA CAPS Exterior

Audrey Miano

Definitely take advantage of UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). If you feel like the stressors in your life (academic, personal or otherwise) have taken a toll on your mental health or general well-being, CAPS can help. “I was definitely really intimidated about going to CAPS at first,” recent grad Frankie Masi said. “It’s a resource that so many students could benefit from. For me, it was easy and convenient and gave me the confidence to seek my own therapist off campus for long-term treatment.” The CAPS staff is the friendliest you’ll meet anywhere on campus. You can go for a walk-in screening without even making an appointment to talk to a CAPS counselor about whatever you’re struggling with.

5. Over a takeout box of De Neve Late Night

UCLA De Neve Dining Hall

Audrey Miano

If you’re studying between 9 p.m. and midnight (face it, you know you are), comfort awaits in a styrofoam box filled with fried food from De Neve. “I don’t usually cry over finals, but when I do it’s usually into De Neve Late Night takeout,” 2016 grad Reed Buck said. “The pairing of food and sadness never fails to make me feel better even while I’m upset, especially if it’s mozzarella sticks.” I especially recommend De Neve Late Night for students who don’t have time to step away from the books long enough to eat or for the busy Bruin trying to stress-eat on the go.

6. A friend’s shoulder

Your friends are going to be there for you, even when you’ve essentially ceased functioning as a human being. “When I am feeling down I like to sit with a friend or roommate, hold their hand, and just let them speak about their day as I listen and enjoy their stories. My dorm room is comfortable for me because my wonderful roommates and I made it into something we call home,” said second year psychobiology student Kawsar Nasir. If you crave human interaction when stressed or emotionally exhausted, just a hug and hearing it’s going to be okay might soothe some of your anxiety.

7. The botanical garden

UCLA Botanical Garden

Audrey Miano

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden provides UCLA students the opportunity to reap the many benefits of being outdoors in a calm, picturesque environment. Bring a book, pop your earbuds in or watch the turtles and koi swim as you feel your anxiety melt away. “The botanical garden is my favorite getaway on campus since it is quiet, secluded, and provides an escape into nature,” said senior architecture student Ailey Simpson. “If the meltdown is minor, a peaceful walk through the winding paths calms the mind. For a full on cry, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in!”

8. Your TA/prof’s office hours

Despite what you might believe, your professors and TAs do want you to succeed. That’s why they hold office hours for you. If you’ve never been to office hours for any of your classes, start taking advantage of them. You can ask questions, voice concerns and get tips on how to study for each of your exams. Or you can have a good old-fashioned sob session. Your professors and TAs want you to take care of yourself more than they want you to pull three all-nighters and forego showering just to study for your exams. Even if your professor or TA doesn’t alleviate all of your finals week fears, they can give you good advice on how to start reviewing or what other resources you might want to look into.

9. Into Powell Cat’s soft, silky fur

Human-animal companionship can work wonders for your psychological and physical well-being. Pay an evening visit to Powell Library’s honorary pet, Powell Cat, who you might spot on the pathway on the west side of Powell. Friendly and soft, Powell Cat is happy to greet you and wish you well on the exams you’ll cram for all night. If you’re not so much of a cat person, you can always check out Fluffy Friends for Finals at Powell, where you can de-stress by petting and playing with puppies.

10. Wherever the hell you want

The fact is, everyone worries about performing well in school—and in life in general. While it may seem like everyone else at UCLA has their shit together, they don’t. “Ugly crying comes on at the most inconvenient of times, so my attitude is just f–k it. There are so many justifiable reasons to cry in college. I wouldn’t judge anyone I see crying in public,” said first year English major Erica Griggs. It’s okay to be that hot mess of snot and tears, walking down BruinWalk in the middle of the day. You’re a person first and a student second, or third or ninth. That means dealing with stress and anxiety whatever way works best for you.

Audrey is a second-year English major at the University of California, Los Angeles. One is most likely to find her angrily reading conservative news articles, playing Dungeons & Dragons or cuddling a stranger’s dog.

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