My Life at UCLA
As my academic life at UCLA draws to an end, I thought I would post some of the pictures I’ve taken during my time there. I couldn’t ask for a better education or university experience in my wildest dreams. UCLA was everything I wanted it to be: challenging, with excellent professors who pushed their students to excel while building relationships with them; the university provided opportunity to get involved and meet people; and it had high honor code.
I love the way that the light makes the hallways of Royce look so mysterious and hallowed. I only had one class in Royce, French 3, during my first quarter in Fall 2008.
I discovered this quote from the Psalms by accident one day as I was walking from South to North campus. It graces the tympanum of the Humanities Building. I love it.
The original quad of buildings (Royce Hall, Powell Library, Haines, and Humanities) were modeled after the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio in Milan. When I went to Milan, I took over 400 pictures of every last detail of the basilica, and the architects of UCLA did a wonderful job. The frescoes that don the vaulted arches of Royce are of people representing different fields: Chemistry, Languages, Drama, Literature, History, Physics, etc., rather than religious figures.
The majority of my Art History courses took place in Dodd Hall. It suffered flooding a couple times in my two years at UCLA, making the first-story classrooms unusable during Summer Quarter 2009.
Powell had a few books that I needed for some of my papers, but the libraries that I nearly lived in were the Arts Library and Young Research Library (not pictured). These last two libraries had every single book I ever needed and then some! I often had to cut back on the amount of sources I used because otherwise, my papers would be full of interesting but unnecessary tangents.
I hated these steps, despite how iconic they are. Luckily, there is an alternate route that stems from BruinWalk that students can take to get from South to North campus. There are less steps, but more hills.
In December 2008, I wrote about my first quarter at UCLA. To my surprise, that first quarter is my favorite quarter, simply because I was taught instantly what it takes to be a UCLA student. Almost a year later, in Spring 2009, I started to understand and learn more about what it takes to be a “real” art historian – a scholar, thanks to Dell Upton’s Art Historical Methodologies class (Art Hist 100, for future Bruins.) Doing my Senior Thesis was the best part of my entire UCLA experience, though. I loved swimming in books in my room and trying to put pieces together in order to argue my point, and effectively prove it. Coincidentally (or not), the final quarter of my Senior Thesis (Spring 2010), I took a New Testament History course. In actuality, it was a Writing 2 course, and my T.A. was… an amazing teacher, hilarious, and BRUTAL. But his tough edits of my papers for his course helped me to self-edit my own thesis and double-check my word conciseness and take out any “interesting but unnecessary” tangents. I was lucky to have an incredible Thesis Advisor who supported me, understood my ramblings during office hours and helped me put my rambling ideas into concise words that made sense.
The Art History major is well designed at UCLA. I was required to know three languages by the time I left. I chose Spanish, French, and Italian. German is really the ultimate Art Historical language for what I’m interested in, but I didn’t have time to take it. I really like that students are required to take non-Western art courses. I was really interested in them and did really well, but I couldn’t ever be a non-Western art historian because of the language requirements. My favorite? Indian art with Dr. Brown (he shows a clip from Indiana Jones and dresses like him – how awesome is that?), and “From Mongols to Mughals” (also Indian art, 114F for all you future Bruins.) Taking non-Western art courses gave me a much wider working knowledge of world history and of art history as a cohesive whole, and I was surprised at how many times I said in a class, “Well in X class, we learned about Y tradition… etc.” It was excellent. Some of my fellow classmates thought that the major was too hard or time consuming or they just wanted to take courses in their area of interest, but I loved it. The only thing that could improve the program is to make a museum studies course and Art History 100 (Methods & Theory) required for graduation from the major. Knowing how to do the different art historical methods and knowing about different theories made my papers, from Spring 2009 onward, that much better. I can’t imagine not taking that course, and my upper divisions assumed that students already knew those basic things, so if you didn’t, then tough luck!
What about practical, non-academic things, you wonder? Well! UCLA has an amazing Career Center with counselors who put up with my crazy, worried, detailed questions about resumes, interviews, cover letters… They helped me with word choice, formatting, and not worrying. I joined the UCLA Alumni Association as well, which threw an awesome Senior Sendoff cocktail attire party. I love dressing up, so the dress code made it that much more fun. The Alumni Association has UCLA “chapters” all over the country so that (almost) no matter where you live, you can meet other Bruins. It’s like a big, nationwide UCLA family. I have to yet to actually move anywhere and see if my theory is true, but that’s the way it was described to me! Ackerman Union has everything you could ever want in a store. It’s like a mini-mall filled with UCLA gear, a Clinique makeup counter, shoes, skateboards, books galore, and a little grocery mart, and even a flower kiosk. Plus, there’s a Jamba Juice. I realize this all seems shallow, but it becomes important when, say, you’re about to go to the Senior Sendoff and forgot a brush and mascara at home… Or when you want to plan a trip to Europe and need to speak to a travel agent like, right now! (Sadly, the STA Travel store in Ackerman closed, but there is one on Westwood Blvd.) … Or when you want to see a movie but don’t have enough money: $2 movie nights (periodically) to the rescue! … See? Ackerman has everything, except Starbucks … but that’s a few blocks away in the ClubMed Cafe and you can use your BruinCard. Coffee is important to college students! Did I mention that Powell Library has NightPowell, where students can read/study late into the night? I never did this because I didn’t live on campus, but if I did, I would have lived in Powell. During finals week, Kerckhoff gives out free coffee and I think Powell is open 24/7 for at least a couple days of Finals. UCLA has a gorgeous sculpture garden too, where you can sit and relax and listen to the sounds of high school tour groups, birds chirping, lawns being mowed, and the occasional crying baby. Although there are times when it is very quiet. Once you learn class schedules, you can go there when it will be quiet! UCLA is all about timing… Getting to class on time, getting to student dining in time to avoid the crowds, signing up for classes right as the clock strikes your enrollment time, managing your coursework, leaving time for fun and getting to Diddy Reise at specific times throughout the day so you can get the freshest cookies! …
Have I convinced you that UCLA is a magical place and that you should be there? I hope so.