In honor of UCLA vs USC week, here are what some UCLA students had to say about being a part of the Bruin community!
It’s a fact of life – happiness can be achieved through helping others. As a college student, it can sometimes be hard to find meaningful ways to benefit other people. The life-saving act of giving blood has been made incredibly easy by the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center located in Ackerman Union right across from the Bookstore. It can be a little intimidating, especially for people who have never donated blood before, but ultimately it’s quick, easy, and saves people’s lives. Here are five things you should know about giving blood on campus.
Who can donate? Almost everyone, but there are some restrictions. Generally speaking, if you weigh more than 110 lbs and are feeling healthy, there’s a good chance you’ll be good to go, but it’s important to be sure. For the complete list of requirements, click here.
Is it safe? Yes! The equipment is sterile and completely safe, so there is no chance of contracting any infection by donating.
Giving blood is very easy to fit into your schedule. It takes less than 15 minutes. The Center asks you to set aside an hour, but most of that time is spent relaxing and eating snacks (that they provide, of course).
The UCLA Blood and Platelet Center does not pay people to give blood, donations are made strictly on a volunteer basis. This ensures that everyone wants to be there, and is happy to take a little time out of their day to help others. If saving lives isn’t rewarding enough in itself, however, there are some small incentives working as a nice ‘thank you’ for coming in. Movie tickets, meal vouchers, and promotional items like t-shirts and water bottles are among the list of things you could receive for your time.
Does it hurt? Pain is hard to quantify, but this is a really common question. The short answer is yes, it does hurt a little bit, but it’s a small pinch that lasts about one second, NOT the entire time the blood is being donated.
If you have the time, or are looking for ways to help others, giving blood at the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center is a great opportunity. Everyday is a great day to save lives.
Over the past few years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I realized that there are so many things to do in Downtown LA other than barhopping. I started to make a list of places to go with my family and friends who would visit from overseas or out of state and now that list is three pages long!
Here are a few ideas for the next time you want to be a tourist in your own city.
Walk from Grand Central to The Broad
Grab a quick bite at the historical Grand Central Market. There are so many food vendors that you could choose from, including diverse options reflecting Los Angeles’ rich cultural variety like German, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and so much more. I recommend DTLA Cheese or Eggslut. When you’re done eating, you can take the famous Angel’s Flight trolley on South Hill Street to start heading towards The Broad Museum.
Angel Flight is a railway that is 117 years old and costs $1.00 to get to the top in less than a minute. In the past, it connected the tenement communities of the city, and after being closed for awhile, it’s a can’t miss spot! Alternatively, you could take the never-ending stairs if you’re feeling like doing a mini workout.
When you get to the top, it will be a short walk to get to The Broad museum.
Make sure to reserve tickets online (it’s free) ahead of time to avoid a line! The Broad has some of the most influential modern art from artists like Ragnar Kjartansson (beautiful music installation), Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, and of course the instagram-worthy Robert Therrien & Yayoi Kusama.
Insider tip: If you take the glass elevator down to leave, go back up the stairs to get a sneak peek of where the museum stores their art! This place is called “the vault” and it’s pretty cool to look at.
Arts District and Little Tokyo
On the eastern edge of Downtown LA is the Arts District and Little Tokyo. These two locations are for those who truly love galleries and boutique stores. I love visiting this part of the city because there’s always something inspirational that you wouldn’t expect to find. The last time I visited, I went to Hauser & Wirth and was deeply moved by the works of Alexander Calder.
Nearby, there is also a cute store owned by a married couple called Poketo. This place is one of my favorite stores near Little Tokyo. They have cute stationery, accessories, and home items that are sensible and aesthetically pleasing.
If you’re feeling hungry, I recommend Wurstküche for German sausages and dessert at The Pie Hole in the Arts District. If you’re willing to wait in line, the ramen at Daikokuya is phenomenal and so is the matcha ice cream at Tea Master in Little Tokyo.
And for those of you over 21 and do want to go barhopping…
Here’s a list of a few favorites:
This week’s blog post will be an interview with a fellow Bruin and good friend, Maya. She is an English major and she is a second year at UCLA. She has been a vegan for 2 and a half years and stands strongly in support of it.
Why do you like food?
Maya: It is a human thing that we have to eat to survive, you know? It’s the most human thing, makes us human. The fact that we can choose what to put in our bodies is very interesting. It makes it a part of life. I have fun when I eat!
When did you choose to become a vegan?
Maya: I started 2 and a half years ago. I was vegetarian for 4 years before. I always knew I wanted to be a vegan, but I also didn’t know. I thought “I am a vegetarian — I could never be vegan”. I was one of those people who didn’t think I could do it. All of sudden, it was easy. “F**k this shit,” I told myself, “I am not eating anything”. The date was 7/7/17 when I first started.
Why are you a vegan?
Maya: I am a vegan for a couple of reasons. The first is because of love. Animals have heartbeats, veins, and eyes that speak things that words cannot. We have the ability to spend time and energy with animals and pets, so we should treat all of them with the same level of respect. We shouldn’t be judging which animals are better than others, letting some get killed and brutally consumed while protecting others.
There is also a health incentive for being vegan. It’s simply better for my body to not put animals inside of it; eating meat is proven to lead to heart disease and America is a great example of the consequences when a proper diet isn’t followed. So I stay as natural and green as possible for my mind, body, heart, and the hearts of other beings.
What places would you recommend for vegan food near UCLA?
Maya: Grocery stores! It is so fun to make your own food, and when you are a vegan the possibilities are endless. Any combination of beans, rice, vegetables, fruits, oats, and more can turn into a great meal. Experimenting with food and seeing what you can come up with, DIY-ing things on your own, is the best part about it.
When I do eat out, Thai and Indian restaurants are very accommodating to vegans and always have fantastic options.
Any last advice for your vegan/non-vegan fans out there?
It’s important to be aware of the fact that we have the ability to be socially conscious and spiritually progressive in many of our daily lifestyle decisions. We can understand that it is morally incorrect to be consuming living entities that have the capability to love. Our habits should reflect that understanding.
During my interview with Professor Miwon Kwon, contemporary arts chair at UCLA, we discussed some interesting views about art history and how this discipline has changed throughout the latter half of the 20th century, and what it has become today.
In the 1960s, art history was viewed as an elite discipline that typically used a European canon; modern art, Greek sculpture, Italian Renaissance paintings…etc. With other arts from different cultures, there would just be one person in the entire faculty, teaching the general topic of “Asian arts”.
But since the 1970s, art history departments in the world’s best universities began to push against the definition of what art history is. The idea of art history started to become a subject pursued by mavericks and people who think or see the world differently. There was an increased push for global coverage to other parts of the world beyond Europe.
Professor Kwon claimed that the category of contemporary art was added to the mix that traditional programs may not have included. UCLA was one of the universities during the 70s, that was very ahead of the curve on the transformation of art history, setting the precedents for learning and teaching global and contemporary art. This was partly because UCLA is situated on the west coast, with much less of a burden on tradition than schools in the east coast. The department was therefore more daring in teaching more progressive topics with younger faculty members.
Professor Kwon herself was one of the first chairs for contemporary art in the country during the 1990s, at a time when many still did not think “contemporary” works had enough value to be labeled as part of “history” yet. Contemporary arts was not really considered a realm of academic scholarship, and was still quite controversial amongst professors and scholars. It was also a very difficult subject to teach because there were rarely any published works on contemporary art, so referenced photographs would have had to be copied using xeroxes for every student. Professor Kwon recalled that she had to present images, shoot 35 millimeter slides, and make xeroxes of contemporary works every day to teach at UCLA, where there was still hardly any textbooks out there. Syllabuses also had to be created out of scratch.
Nowadays, more schools would prioritize contemporary coverage over traditional categories such as sculptures and paintings. In fact, there is an increased search for 18th and 19th century art historians in schools, which was the opposite situation during the early 20th century, where there was an abundance of information on European topics.
It evident now, how art history was once a rather strict discipline, that was quite limited to a certain group of people interested in European arts. The ideal image of art history would have also been Greek sculptures, Van Gogh’s painting, or Michelangelo’s God and Adam. But now, it is a flexible and malleable discipline that is striving to become more inclusive of various perspectives of art, taught from a more diverse standpoint. This encompasses art categorized chronologically (e.g. contemporary, post modern art), materially (e.g. photography, multimedia, installations) and geographical (e.g. Chinese art, African art), or both (i.e. contemporary Indian art). Speaking of art history in the modern day, would actually lead us to think about people like Rothko, Jeff Koons…etc. We are becoming more and more perceptive and absorbent towards the world around us through art and it is enlightening to see how the arts changes, as well as how people’s interpretations of the boundaries of art is still evolving.
Looking for song recommendations that are a vibe and go with the rainy weather? I got you. Here’s a list of a few of the songs I enjoy listening to in the rain that I completely stand by and recommend.
1.) A song about a relationship that’s toxic and keeps repeating the same mistake. An alternative/r&b type feel. Same Thing — Marian Hill
2.) A song about a girl that has all the guys mesmerized but the singer can’t figure out what it is about her that’s charming. Stuck on a Puzzle — Alex Turner
3.) A song that’s instrumental. Sunset lover is just ooof if you want something nostalgic that’s a little bit of happy and a little bit of sad in a reminiscent, nostalgic longing for the past and happy memories sort of way you’ll love Sunset Lover — Petit Biscuit
4.) A song about the pressure of relationships with a nice contemporary r&b beat to it. Pressure — Jhené Aiko
5.) A song about how electrifying it feels to be in love. Electric —Alina Baraz ft. Khalid
6.) A song from a rockin’ all female band from the state of Washington about a party in Seattle with a pop/garage/alternative/indie type feel all at the same time. Seattle Party — Chastity Belt
7.) A song by The Smiths most definitely had to be on the list. How dare I if I hadn’t! There is a Light that Never Goes Out — The Smiths
8.) A song about falling in love with the allusion of a person and then not knowing how to keep loving them when they turned out to be different than the way you imagined them to be. Don’t know How to Keep Loving You — Julia Jacklin
9.) A song about a couple that remains committed to each other regardless of the world’s distractions. A hip-hop & jazz type feel. An absolute classic from the 90s. You Got me — The Roots
10.) Rain or shine, a song that’ll make you feel like a boss: 7 Rings — Ariana Grande
Seeing as UCLA is the most applied to university in the United States, it is expected that it is full of students from all around the country. Although, even with its high application rate from students from all over the nation, UCLA is made up of a predominantly California residents, with the out-of-state undergraduate population making up around 20% of the student body. Out-of-state students are met with a great change from their hometowns. They are thrust into a new city, new surroundings, and new experiences, all while not having the comfort of being close to home and their families, which is something that many California students do not have to deal with. All of these things may seem difficult, but when UCLA is the school you attend, it’s not as hard as it may seem. Here is what some First Year Students have to say about the issue:
Chloe Wyn Evans-Svarre (Home State: New York)
I’m originally from Manhattan, New York, born and raised. Moving to a city as spread out as Los Angeles has been quite a transition, as I am not used to things being so far from each other, and so quiet. However, instead of looking at this as a negative, I like to think that I can adventure around Los Angels bit by bit throughout by four years here. Moving from coast to coast has been a pretty smooth transition for me personally, but the support system I have around me has definitely made it easier! I don’t feel very homesick, or feel like I am struggling to find my place at UCLA. I speak to my friends and family back home everyday, and being independent has really helped me enjoy this next chapter in my life.
UCLA has become a second home for Chloe and she feels very comfortable being away from school. UCLA has allowed her to feel independent and really start her journey to finding herself and figuring out what she wants to do when she graduates. Although far from home, attending UCLA has been a great transition for Chloe.
Julianna Laurentano (Home State: Massachusetts)
Coming from boarding school in Massachusetts, going to school in California has definitely been a change. However, I love adventuring and exploring new places, so living in LA has been an awesome experience. Although I miss my family and friends back home, I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing students and faculty here, making this campus truly feel like a home.
Being an East Coast native, the physical difference between Julianna’s hometown and California is evident, but this physical change is not hard to adapt to when you are in a place as beautiful and full of opportunity as Los Angeles. There are so many different things to do to keep busy in Los Angeles, giving any person an opportunity to find something that entertains them and makes them more okay with being across the country. UCLA and Los Angeles as a whole have been very welcoming for Julianna, as she states that the people UCLA has given her have made her feel like she has a second home.
Kaitlin Kearns (Home State: North Carolina/ Connecticut)
I’m from Connecticut and now live in North Carolina, so coming all the way to the West Coast was definitely a daunting experience. However, as soon as I got here I felt comfortable and campus felt like home. I love being in Los Angeles and experiencing new things.
Kaitlin was afraid to make the big move to California, but once she made it here, she has had great experiences and feels like she has a second home. Across all three people interviewed, it is clear that UCLA is a place that feels like home. Each student has found a community that makes them feel welcome and it has made their experience as an out-of-state student worthwhile.
Being an out-of-state student comes with its difficulties and drawbacks, but UCLA makes students feel very comfortable and often provides students with a community which makes them feel at ease. There really is no place like UCLA, and that is evident in the student happiness here! (that is, when midterms aren’t going on!)
Skipping class can be very intriguing: maybe your friend in the class is out sick and you don’t want to go a lecture without a lecture buddy, or perhaps it’s an 8am that you can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed. It’s even more enticing if the lecture is Bruincasted, although it’s something that you shouldn’t do. Of course, it seems obvious that you shouldn’t skip class, but what are the real reasons why?
Firstly, you’re paying for the class. When the cost of your tuition is divided, the amount you’re paying for each class is around thirty dollars. Thirty dollars going down the drain each time you don’t go to class just seems silly, yet people do it all the time. That seemingly minute amount of money adds up quickly, and with each skipped class you are only wasting more of your own or your parent’s hard-earned money. You are paying for an education, so why not go to the lectures and discussions that you are paying for to receive that education?
Secondly, there’s just something about being in a classroom that makes you more engaged. Say, even if you got notes from a fellow classmate, you will never be fully engaged in the material. You won’t be able to hear comments made by fellow students or important clarifications from the professor that your friend’s notes may fail to include. Even if the lecture agenda is just watching a documentary, it is very beneficial to watch it in a lecture hall. Being able to discuss what you have seen on the big screen with the entirely of your class is very enlightening. It’s interesting to see how people who have watched the same thing you have may have an entirely different takeaway from yours. Their different takeaways allow you to see different perspectives on a singular topic, which is critical for a developed knowledge on said topic.
Thirdly, skipping class can become a habit, and it is definitely a habit you do not want sticking with you. Going to class is not only about going to learn material, but in a broader sense it’s about having a schedule and sticking to it. Skipping class is failing to follow the schedule you have put into place for yourself, which is only a detriment to you both now and in the future. As a college student, you are able to make your own schedule, which is something that you may not be able to do when you become engrossed with a full-time job after college. Following the schedule you make for yourself in college is crucial if you want the transition to a post-graduation schedule to be smooth.
Skipping class may seem like a good idea when you want to take a nap or watch some extra Netflix, but it really just hurts you in the long run.
It seems like everyone living in Los Angeles has a favorite taco place. Located in historic South Central, Tire Shop Taqueria is hands down one of my favorite places to get traditional Tijuana-style tacos. Not only do they grill the juicy and perfectly seasoned meats in front of you, their tortillas are freshly handmade. This taco place is located in the parking lot of an old tire shop. When you first get here, you can smell the charcoal and see hardworking staff grilling in open flame under canopies.
You can’t get more authentic than this.
I remember the first day my friend brought me here five years ago when I was visiting Los Angeles. He’s a chef and he told me that he was going to take me to the best taco place in Los Angeles. When his car pulled into the area, I was honestly confused on why he would want to eat here. He drove around for a bit over ten minutes looking for parking and I remember telling him that I didn’t need to get tacos anymore. He reassured me that the neighborhood was safe and told me again that these tacos were amazing. When we finally did find parking, we had to wait twenty minutes in line. I was convinced that he was crazy.
But when I finally took my first bite, I fell in love. I remember I stood in line again just to get more. The meat was soft, rich, fatty, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. I’m honestly still amazed to this day every time I try it. I took my boyfriend on one of our first dates and now it became our little tradition where we come here at least once a month. I also take my friends who visit from out of state every now and then and every single one of them fall in love.
When you first walk up to order, you can see that everything is made from scratch. You can choose from carne asada, chorizo, al pastor, and cabeza. They also have quesadillas and vampiros. I’ve tried all of them and would recommend getting the carne asada and cabeza tacos. After they take your order, the ladies who are standing in front of a bowl of corn masa hand press the tortillas on the spot. You then walk over to the workers grilling the meat and these meats go on a cutting board. They will ask you if want toppings, trust me and ask for all toppings (onion, salsa roja, cilantro, guacamole).
Look at that juicy meat. And let me just say, I don’t know how they do it but their guacamole is unbelievable; fresh, creamy, and delicious. There is a self-serve section where you can get sides such as grilled onions, radish, beans, limes, and jalapenos. Lastly, their beverages include Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water), Horchata, and Mexican sodas.
These tacos are set at a reasonable price for only $1.50.
After I took this photo, it was gone in seconds so I couldn’t take more.
Easily the best I had in Los Angeles, no question. Make sure to bring cash. They used to have a few communal tables five years ago but you might have to eat standing or in your car since they only have one now. Also, make sure to check their hours because they have irregular hours; usually open 6:00pm – 11:00pm. And they close Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And it’s a bit on the sketchy side of town.
But everyone is so friendly here. Maybe it’s the taco effect. I’ll probably go again in a few weeks! Totally worth it.
Looking to improve yourself? Looking to be a role-model? Take a look at UCLA Mentorship Club. Mentorship Club puts UCLA students in a setting where they are each paired with a younger student. These younger students are anywhere from first grade elementary school kids to adolescent teens in high school. The club is based around a series of bi-weekly activity days where the younger kids and UCLA mentors meet out by the Sunken Gardens where they participate in the activities. Each day also presents a theme such as career day or science day. On top of the themed activity days, the club goes on field trips every other Saturday. The club also does fundraising to create scholarship opportunities for low-income graduating high school seniors.
Noah Lopez, a fourth year Biochemistry and Microbiology major, is a member of the club since his third year. When talking about the club, Noah explains, “The club is really great as these kids need someone to look up to and to be so important in someone’s, especially younger, life.” Lopez further mentions, “The UCLA Mentorship Club puts college students in a position that requires a surprising amount of maturity. The opportunities that I got at such a young age to be a role model has been amazing.”
The scheme of the club’s bi-weekly themes is another great factor for the kids. It provides variety so the kids are in a new environment every time. For example, one of the themes was career day. During career day, the club gathered everyone around and brought in special guests from different career paths. Juan, a UCLA Alumni, and also a doctor comments, “Talking to the kids is great. We get to teach them about what we love doing and have it be cool for the kids as well.”
One of the best aspects of Mentorship Club is probably the long-lasting relationship cultivated through the time spent at the club. Noah illustrates the relationship by saying, “It was great. I had a junior in high school, so the atmosphere was a little more mature. Talking to him and giving him advice that I know will help him in the future feels great also!”
UCLA Mentorship Club is an awesome club and one of the most underrated ones at UCLA. Not only does it help the outside community, it also helps develop UCLA students even more. So, if you are looking to be a role model and a greater person, join UCLA Mentorship Club!