10 Things They Won’t Tell You at UCLA’s Orientation

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​University of California, Los Angeles​ ​orientation​ represents ​a​ ​hyperbolized​ ​version​ ​of​ ​freshman​ ​year​ ​at​ ​UCLA.​ ​Professors will lecture you in a room filled with strangers.​ ​You​ ​will​ ​walk​ ​for​ ​miles​ ​over​ ​hills​ ​in​ ​the​ ​heat.​ ​You​ ​will​ ​get lost​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bathroom.​ ​People will ask you what your major is twice every hour. Second Year and New Student Advisor Maripau​ ​Paz said,​ ​“It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​packed​ ​three​ ​days​ ​but I​ ​am convinced​ ​that​ ​they​ ​leave​ ​students​ ​prepared​ ​and​ ​excited​ ​for​ ​UCLA.”​ ​Although​ ​orientation will​ ​provide​ ​you​ ​with​ ​the​ ​basic​ ​skills​ ​to​ ​thrive​ ​as​ ​a​ ​UCLA​ ​student,​ ​the extensive curriculum is bound to leave off a few minor details.​ ​

Ready to call yourself a Bruin? Check out 10 things you’ll need to know before you start at UCLA.

1. You​ ​will​ ​skip​ ​morning​ ​classes

Going to bed at a reasonable hour proves impossible when​ ​you​ ​can​ ​hear​ ​relationships​ ​being​ ​made​ ​right​ ​outside​ ​your door​ ​(literally…it’s​ ​gross).​ ​​FOMO-​induced​ ​sleep​ ​deprivation affects us all.​ ​The​ cure? Sleeping​ ​in, right​ ​through​ ​your​ ​9 a.m.​ ​lecture,​ ​your​ ​10:30 a.m.​ ​discussion​ ​and​ ​12​ ​p.m. office hours.​ ​​“Morning​ ​classes​ ​are​ ​like​ ​New​ ​Year’s​ ​resolutions.​ ​They are something​ ​great​ ​to​ ​aspire​ ​to,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​are​ ​tricky​ ​to​ ​pull​ ​off,”​ ​third year math and economics major Riley Davis​ ​said.

2. You’ll look like a freshman with a tray

Using​ ​a​ ​tray​ ​in​ ​a​ ​dining​ ​hall ensures being labeled​ ​“freshman”​ ​by students​ ​sitting​ ​three​ ​flatbread​ ​stations​ ​away​ ​from​ ​you.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​absolutely​ ​no​ ​idea​ ​why​ ​the​ ​vast majority​ ​of​ ​UCLA​ ​students​ ​neglects​ ​to​ ​use​ ​this​ ​practical​ ​means​ ​of​ ​maximizing​ ​food​ ​intake,​ ​but​ ​you should accept this reality sooner rather than later.

3. You​ ​will​ ​get​ ​sick

You​ ​will​ ​get​ ​sick​ ​so​ ​often​ ​in​ ​college​ ​that​ ​you​ ​will​ ​actually​ ​acknowledge​ ​and​ ​appreciate​ ​when​ you can​ ​breathe​ ​out​ ​of​ ​both​ ​nostrils​ ​and​ ​finish​ ​a​ ​sentence​ ​without​ ​coughing.​ ​Turns​ ​out,​ ​thousands​ ​of teenagers​ ​packed​ ​into​ ​closets​ ​like​ ​sardines​ ​increases​ ​the​ ​germ​ ​count​ ​exponentially.​ ​Germs will literally surround you at all times.​ ​Drink​ ​as​ ​many​ ​green​ ​juices​ ​as​ ​you​ ​want, but you will find no escape.

4. You’ll use​ ​BruinWalk.com more than Facebook

Coming​ ​into​ ​UCLA,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​probably​ ​call yourself an ​over-achiever.​ ​This​ ​will​ ​more​ ​than​ ​likely​ ​manifest​ ​in misplaced​ ​optimism​ ​regarding​ ​your​ ​academic​ ​capabilities.​ ​An​ ​upper​ ​div​ ​neuroscience​ ​class? Sounds perfect​ ​for​ ​an​ ​English​ ​major. An​ ​8​ ​a.m.​ ​lecture​ ​on​ ​atmospheric​ ​sciences?​  Sign​ ​me​ ​up! No.​ ​Do​ ​yourself​ ​a​ ​favor​ ​and​ ​do​ ​your​ ​research.​ ​Make​ ​BruinWalk​ ​your​ ​new​ ​homepage​ ​and familiarize​ ​yourself​ ​with​ ​the​ ​art​ ​of​ ​optimizing​ ​grade​ ​distributions.

5. You’ll regret taking GE​ ​Clusters​

During​ ​orientation,​ advisors will shove general education clusters down your naive throat. I​ ​think​ ​this​ ​is​ ​an​ ​imposed​ ​Social​ ​Darwinism​ ​exercise​ ​to​ ​wean​ ​out​ ​the​ ​weak. Basically,​ ​a​ ​cluster entails taking ​one class all​ ​three​ ​quarters​ ​your​ ​freshman​ ​year.​ ​The​ ​topic​ ​will develop​ ​over​ ​time,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​my​ ​case,​ ​will​ ​become increasingly impossible to manage.​ ​If​ ​you survive,​ ​you’ll ​get​ ​an​ ​extra​ ​GE​ ​credit​ ​and​ ​a​ ​Writing​ ​2​ ​credit.​ ​During orientation, advisors ​told me​ ​I​ ​would​ ​get​ ​“more​ bang for​ ​my​ ​buck,”​ ​an​ ​apt​ ​statement​ ​if​ ​by​ ​“bang”​ ​they​ ​meant​ ​existential crises while writing​ ​B-​ essays and​ ​by​ ​“buck”​ ​they​ ​meant​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​hours​ ​alone in a cubicle dissecting​ ​the​ ​nonsense​ ​that​ ​is​ ​Marx.

6. You’ll turn up Thursday–Saturday

Remember​ ​when​ ​I​ ​advised​ ​you​ ​against​ ​scheduling​ ​morning​ ​classes?​ ​I​ ​would​ ​also​ ​encourage avoiding​ ​afternoon​ ​classes,​ ​or​ ​classes​ ​altogether,​ ​on​ ​Fridays.​ ​For​ ​some​ ​ungodly​ ​reason,​ ​an anonymous​ ​heathen​ ​decided​ ​at​ ​a​ ​time​ ​unbeknownst​ ​to literally anyone​ ​to​ ​pick​ ​an​ ​arbitrary​ ​WEEKDAY​ ​for parties.​ ​Students​ ​(and​ ​their​ ​attendance)​ ​suffered​ ​ever​ ​since.

7. You’ll buy a premium​ ​meal​ ​plan just to make friends

Prepare​ ​for freeloading upperclassmen.​ ​Within​ ​five​ ​minutes​ ​of​ ​meeting​ ​literally​ ​ANY​ ​student​ ​who​ ​lives​ ​off campus,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​be​ ​asked​ ​which​ ​meal​ ​plan​ ​you​ ​have.​ ​Premium​ ​means​ ​you​ ​can​ ​swipe​ ​people​ ​in, and​ ​let’s​ ​be​ ​real—​food​ ​can​ ​motivate​ ​anything,​ ​even​ ​(especially)​ ​friendships.

8. You’ll praise the ground your TA walks on

​You​ ​will​ ​never​ ​have​ ​a​ ​conversation​ ​with​ ​your​ ​professors​ ​freshman​ ​year.​ ​Correction: You​ ​will​ ​never​ ​make​ ​eye​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​your​ ​professors​ ​freshman​ ​year.​ ​Ginormous general education​ ​classes​ will swallow you,​ ​and​ ​unless​ ​you​ ​do​ ​some​ ​serious​ ​kissing​ ​up​ ​during​ ​office​ ​hours, your​ ​professor​ ​will​ ​never​ ​know​ ​your​ ​name.​ ​On the other hand, your​ ​TA​ ​will grade​ ​your​ ​essays, assign ​your​ ​homework ​and​ ​potentially​ ​make​ ​your​ ​life​ ​miserable.​ ​​“My​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​TA’s​ ​is​ ​similar​ ​with​ ​buying​ ​textbooks. Sometimes​ ​they​ ​are​ ​super​ ​helpful​ ​and​ ​save​ ​your​ ​grade,” Davis said, who went on to mention that TA’s could also be less helpful. It’s a tossup, TBH.

9. You’ll miss living with your little sibling

I​ ​once​ ​overheard​ ​my​ ​roommates​ ​in​ ​a​ ​heated​ ​discussion​ ​about​ ​who​ ​the​ ​Jesus​ ​is​ ​in​ ​every religion.​ ​This​ ​conversation​ ​was​ ​followed​ ​by​ ​a​ ​long​ ​pause​ ​and​ ​a​ ​mumbled​ ​“There’s​ ​a​ ​black Jesus…​ ​right?”​ ​You​ ​will​ ​survive​ ​your​ ​living​ ​situation.​ ​Plus,​ ​the​ ​more you suffer, the more you’ll gain in ridiculous party stories. I​ ​tell​ ​pretty​ ​much​ ​every​ ​stranger​ ​I​ ​meet​ ​that​ ​one​ ​of​ ​my​ ​roommates​ ​was engaged​ ​and​ ​that​ ​her​ ​30-year-old fiance​ ​quickly​ ​became​ ​our​ ​fourth​ ​roommate.

10. You​’ll find “your people” eventually… but maybe not at orientation

You​ ​may not be able to shove​ ​your​ ​dining​ ​hall​ ​friends​ ​into​ ​bridesmaids​ ​dresses​ ​right​ ​away…​unless​ ​you have​ ​a​ ​premium​ ​meal​ ​plan​ ​(see​ ​#8). Orientation​ ​won’t​ ​hand​ ​you​ ​your​ ​best​ ​friends.​ But ​it​ ​can​ ​facilitate​ ​friendships​ ​that​ ​will make​ ​a​ ​terrifying​ ​situation​ ​slightly​ ​less​ ​daunting.​ ​​Third Year New Student Advisor Mathew​ ​Santiago ​thinks​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​part​ ​of​ ​orientation​ ​is​ ​one​ ​that​ ​can’t​ ​be​ ​taught.​ ​“UCLA​ ​is​ ​so much​ ​more​ ​than​ ​its​ ​academia.” Santiago also thinks you can’t teach the most important part of orientation. “Students​ ​should​ ​come​ ​into​ ​orientation​ ​and​ ​meet​ ​other​ ​people.” Beyond that, Davis​ ​suggests​ ​making​ ​as​ ​many​ ​connections​ ​as​ ​you​ ​can.​ ​“I​ ​met​ ​a​ ​pretty cool​ ​janitor​ ​last​ ​year.​ ​We​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​close​ ​friends,​ ​we​ ​never​ ​even​ ​learned​ ​each​ ​other’s​ ​names, but​ ​now​ ​there​ ​is​ ​one​ ​more​ ​friendly​ ​face​ ​I​ ​might​ ​run​ ​into.​”​ ​

Sophomore English & Political Science double major at UCLA. Thespian, retired gamer, Vonnegut groupie, pancake enthusiast.

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