Student Quotes

More than 1,870 seniors – approximately 44 percent of all survey participants – responded to the following question: What was your most meaningful learning experience at UCLA? The majority of responses to this question fell into one or more of 11 themes (based on 2,998 codes), presented below and accompanied by select responses.

Curriculum & Coursework
Personal Growth
Intellectual Gains
UCLA General
Interactions Outside the Classroom
Extracurricular Involvement
Research Experience
Academic Programs
Non-Academic Programming
Work & Internships

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Curriculum & Coursework (32.1%, 601 Responses)

During the Fall 2019 Quarter, I took the course COM LIT M191P: Careers in Humanities. This class really helped me consider my career options, introduced me to alumni, and gave me practical job-searching skills (writing a cover letter, formatting a resume, interview tips, etc.). Overall, the class made life after UCLA seem less intimidating and more exciting. I think every student should take a class like this!

One of my favorite classes was Disability Studies 101W. In this class, I was forced to confront my privilege and ableist views, and to become more open minded and aware of other people that I had previously overlooked and sometimes even actively avoided. This class helped me to stay updated on current events, be more mindful of how I treat others, and be more involved in civil rights, current events, etc. I also really appreciated my professor, who was very encouraging of me, my writing skills, and my final project.

Winter Quarter of my freshman year I took Gender 10 – Intro to Gender Studies… and it genuinely changed my life. It changed how I related to the world, it motivated me to go to CAPS and get therapy, changed how I viewed my body, how I communicate with my father, how I understood my racial/ethnic identity, and more. I came back every day after lecture and discussion with my mind blown and the need to share every word I had heard uttered in class. I truly felt like, “Wow, this is what learning is.” I can only hope that I’ll have such an experience again in my life for it was truly eye-opening and life-altering.

Taking several Anthropology courses that I selected based on my interest in expanding my understanding and skills within the field. Courses such as Environmental Anthropology and Anthropology of Photography have taught me more about my community and the power of anthropology and visual tools. These courses essentially gave me my first experience doing fieldwork and ethnographic research in my own community. Which caused me to be more engaged in the current social issues occurring in my community and grew my skills in writing and photography when conducting research.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was during the Spring 2020 quarter. I was taking the course AF AMER 176: Racism and the Law and while taking this course the George Floyd incident occurred. Because of this, tensions were very high in our class and our discussions were the most meaningful and insightful discussions I have ever had. It was a very emotional time for many of my fellow classmates but we were able to connect with each other during a rough time in everyone’s lives.

My most meaningful learning experience was an upper-division biochemistry class I took as a 3rd year. In addition to interesting material, the class taught me the relevance and possible applications of my academic studies. It played a minor part in my decision to attend graduate school and pursue the same field.

The physiology major changed my perspective on how I study and learned. It opened my eyes to applying learning outside of the classroom, especially with regard to current research on physiology and not accepting all information given to you at face value. I now understand that learning is a lifelong process and not even the science we know today is set in stone. It also taught me how to study efficiently and for the first time I genuinely enjoyed the material I was learning. I was challenged intellectually and felt like I was able to strive above and beyond and feel proud of my academic accomplishments.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was finding the Chicanx and Central American studies department which helped me find other people like me and validated my experiences at UCLA as a first generation DACA college student and a Chicana with imposter syndrome. Not only did these courses, professors, and other students helped me find a community that showed me I was worthy of my position as a UCLA student, but it also empowered me to keep going despite any negative comments and help others who may feel the same way.

As a Statistics student, I believe my minor upper-division European Studies classes really gave me another view on learning through critical thinking (classes such as Cities in Europe, Cold War in Central and Eastern Europe, and Faith and Profit). Also, I believe UCLA’s freedom to choose majors and minors is an advantage for students to choose their own future paths.

Personal Growth (29.3%, 548 Responses)

Finally realizing being a transfer doesn’t make me inferior to students who came in straight out of high school. I performed very highly, learned so much, and have rightfully earned the respect of my professors.

My most meaningful learning experience was struggling tremendously with my accounting classes while devoting most of my time to an internship I loved in the music industry. Balancing my academic responsibilities and my passions taught me a lot about how to prepare for my future and effectively organize my time. This also taught me that there are some areas and subjects in my life that come naturally to me, and other things require more determination and focus in order to achieve success.

I finally understood that I was more than my grades, and that I don’t have to “compete” for #1 when I’m already having so much fun doing what I love doing: learning.

I think I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. Being surrounded by so many wonderful students can be challenging in that it creates a competitive environment, but uplifting when you realize that you can learn from the people around you. It was hard when I doubted myself and my abilities (which I still often do), but I found that UCLA challenged me in many ways that made me more resilient and allowed me to embrace fear and discomfort in life.

My most meaningful learning experience here was learning how to ask for help when I needed it and to not be embarrassed about not understanding something. I think this really helped me grow as a student and an individual.

“Everything works out in the end.” I remember as a Freshman, I was always stressing out over academics and struggling with imposter syndrome. I felt inadequate and used clubs and extracurriculars to escape from my poor academics. When I joined Alpha Chi Sigma at UCLA in the end of my freshman year, I befriended a bunch of seniors that year. They would take me out to hang out or grab late night tacos and one night, we went out to get tacos at 2am and I told them all my worries and concerns. They listened to me and told me that everything falls into place in the end, and that you don’t need to stress about it too much. I couldn’t understand at the moment and I was still struggling after that conversation, but now that I am a senior and so much has happened during these 4 years – I finally understand what they meant. Everything does work out in the end, in one way or another. It’s such a simple sentence and notion but it’s also so, so profound. To all the stressed and struggling freshmen out there and freshmen to come – do not worry, everything will work out. You’re doing great and you deserve to be at UCLA. You will find your footing eventually, trust.

Coming into UCLA I was convinced I would not do well in the chemistry or physics series. Had I not been required to take these courses, I would have just avoided them. I am so grateful that these were requirements. I learned that my mindset has a HUGE impact on how well I do in a course and how much I improve over a quarter. I transformed my perspective on grades and success by taking these courses and practicing metacognition (identifying the skills I could improve upon). I also gained the confidence to take any course, even if I have no experience in the material, because I realized that learning is a process and as long as I have a growth mindset, I will improve over the quarter and I will ultimately succeed.

Perspective and presence. As a transfer student, my time at this institution already had its limits. Limits that were of course constrained more so on account of the pandemic. My time in the on-campus transfer community at UCLA taught me that education is not a fixed path but one that is different for every individual. It taught me to appreciate where I am both academically and socially without stressing too much about the future or worrying about the past.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was learning about Christianity and critically thinking about the arguments, reasonings, and evidence for and against Christianity. Suffice to say, it was the most meaningful learning experience because I learned and am still learning a lot about Christianity, and it caused me to change and broaden my perspective, and caused me also to think more about additional topics that I have learned in my classes, as well as to be more aware of other perspectives.

I learned a lot about myself as a person both inside and outside of the realm of academia. My experience at UCLA has taught me life lessons such as living with other people on and off campus, balancing social and academic life, networking with others, and focusing on myself as student, artist, and person.

I learned that success in academics doesn’t necessarily make you a smart person, and that soft skills are just as important (if not more important) than hard skills. I learned the importance of getting enough sleep, going to the gym, and eating healthy. I learned that if I want to stay in touch with people, I should reach out to them instead of waiting for them to reach out to me.

As a first-gen student, graduating from UCLA, I am extremely proud of everything I have accomplished: waking up at 4am every morning to drive to campus, managing my time wisely to get as much studying as I could, finding different places to study with a group, making new friends who were very supportive during my time at UCLA, finding amazing professors that have helped me during my time at UCLA and in the process of helping me applying for graduate school, having an amazing support group on campus (friends) and at home (my family), and finishing what I started, my mathematics degree. Some advisors told me to change majors if I found mathematics too difficult, but that only made me push myself harder. There were times were everything felt so overwhelming, but my friends and family were there to support me no matter how difficult it became. I finished! The routine I built for myself got me here, a graduate, and now graduate student starting fall 2021. My UCLA experience was tough, but quitting was never an option. I did it!

Faculty/TAs (20.9%, 390 Responses)

The thing I felt most impacted by was the relationships I have built with some of my professors. I hope to maintain them after I graduate because they have taught me so much about the world outside of the United States and provide me with so much wisdom and guidance that I can use to help me grow as an individual.

I have not only learned academically, but also life philosophy from the amazing professors at UCLA. I have a professor who gets up at 5 am just to commute to school; I have a professor who cried with me when I cried because I screwed up a test; I have a professor who treats me like a friend; I have a professor who always responds to our questions immediately with full patience… They made my 4 years at UCLA meaningful and rewarding.

In my first quarter at UCLA as a transfer student, I received my first C on an essay. I was devastated, but I took the time to talk to the TA for that class to understand where I had gone wrong and how I could improve my writing. He gave several tips and suggestions, providing me with an entirely different writing process for the second essay than what I was used to. I was reluctant, but I gave it a try, and this new process has improved my writing so much.

After bombing a philosophy paper, I went to a TA’s office hour to talk about it. He gave me honest feedback while also giving me the confidence I needed to succeed and keep trying in the class. I switched to philosophy at the end of that year and am now likely going to finish the major with honors.

My most meaningful and memorable learning experience occurred during summer 2020. I had the great opportunity of having, in my opinion, one of the greatest professors at UCLA, Professor Kim. She was so open to learning things from students and had so much personal experience to share. She actually cared deeply about her students and told us more information than what the course was about and gave us life advice that I can use in the future. I will forever hold her words in my heart and hope that I can someday meet her in person because she is also an amazing human.

The most meaningful learning experience I had at UCLA would have to be my sophomore year with Professor Polly Roberts. She is the reason why I decided to become a WAC major and pursue what I am passionate about.

Professor Myers is an incredible professor who genuinely challenges his students to not only think deeply about the course content but also the role of history in our lives generally. Through my conversations with him, I always felt challenged, and grew as a thinker.

I have not been at UCLA for too long unfortunately, but a great learning experience I had was during my Theatre class where I was able to interact with both the professor and students. Professor Shushtari has created such a welcoming virtual environment for students and I would look forward to his class every day, even though I am a psychology student.

I was always very aware that I never had a professor that looked like me or shared similar experiences with me. During my senior year, I took a microbiology class outside of my major and that is when I was introduced to my first Chicanx professor. I finally felt represented at UCLA as a first-generation student and as a Chicana. This professor had parents who immigrated from another country and he told us his experience as a first-generation student. I felt comfortable going to office hours and as a result, I was able to perform very well in the class because I had [a] learning-friendly environment.

Professor Karen Givvin in the psychology department made learning fun, relevant, and she made sure students knew that they mattered. UCLA is a large school and the psychology department has a lot of students and it’s so easy to get lost in the shuffle, but Professor Givvin made learning cooperative; she listened to our opinions, sought out our opinions, and taught with such an infectious passion that she genuinely made me fall in love with learning all over again. I will never forget her class (Psychology 133F).

Management 1A and 1B with Professor Ravetch were undoubtedly two of the most impactful classes I took here. His passion for teaching is so abundant, and the level of care he shows for his students is unmatched by almost all of the teachers I have had in my entire life. Even though he was just teaching accounting principles, I feel like I learned so much more from his class. His instruction helped me to improve my study habits and work ethic, but it also helped me be more empathetic and compassionate. This may seem strange from an accounting course, but Ravetch always emphasized that everyone is different, but each of us have our own path that we get to make for ourselves. His love of teaching really showed me what it is like to be truly passionate about a career. Even though this is entirely cliche, I think he really embodies the saying that “if you love what you do, then you will never work a day in your life.”

I took CS 32 when it was being taught by Carey Nachenberg right before the pandemic; that course single-handedly changed the course of my career and the way I think about the world. Programming formerly seemed so foreign and uncomfortable to me, but Carey reframed the whole field of computer science for me in the light of problem solving.

Intellectual Gains (14.3%, 267 Responses)

Growing academically. Having received my high school education from a school in Panama, I really got to broaden my academic endeavors and learn beyond my imagination. UCLA’s education has reshaped my entire way of thinking, allowing me to critically analyze and question information prior to accepting it as the status-quo.

Being an English Major taught me critical thinking abilities and expressing my personal thoughts without being shy. [The] English major trained me to write well, to organize my ideas in a logical way, and to develop my arguments. I learned to analyze complex information, research, critically read, and observe the texts.

Having to tie multiple aspects of learning to one subject and understanding that everything affects everything else and nothing can be without the other.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was not one specific instance, but rather the personal growth that occurred as I learned how to think critically, be open-minded, and pursue excellence in my studies. I learned how I most effectively study, my strengths and weaknesses, and what true leadership looks like.

This past academic year, I learned that I can love the learning process, to enjoy the classes not for how they satisfy my degree progress but for how they challenge and expand my thoughts and how wonderful that feels. I learned that the professors don’t resent me and wish me to fail, that they dislike it when their students aren’t engaged and are only doing the bare minimum to pass. My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA has been that at my age, when I’m used to being the authority on EVERYTHING (or at least my kids think so), that maintaining the capacity to learn, to explore, to take risks, and to occasionally fail is the path to unknown places, un-thought-of ideas, grand new concepts. My most meaningful learning experience IS the learning experience, and I’m so grateful that, after 30 years, I’ve had it.

In all honesty, most of my learning took place outside of the classroom in books which I read in my free time or lectures I watched in my free time. UCLA gave me the time to learn on my own.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA is in this upcoming year, as UCLA has prepared me not just with skills, but to be a curious lifelong learner. I seek to continue learning with skillsets and tools acquired here at UCLA and make the next learning journey the most meaningful one yet.

There are a handful of specific, singular problems on some of my problem sets that I believe represented the most meaningful learning developments in my time at UCLA. Solving exceptionally hard problems, or proofs with historical significance, showed me that I did indeed belong in this major and that I was capable of doing work that at first seemed completely impossible.

Learning about the politics of foreign countries and US relations/involvement with those countries has inspired me to make meaningful change not just at home but around the world. Additionally, Italian has singlehandedly been the most influential class to open up my mind to learning about new subjects. I initially came into UCLA resenting foreign language because of its difficulty to learn at an older age but after the fun and encouraging environment that has influenced me in one of my most dreaded subjects, I am open to learning about anything foreign.

UCLA General (13.0%, 243 Responses)

The physics building was always open and so my friends and I studied in a classroom for a midterm one weekend for over 10 hours, and all the chalkboards were completely full of derivations. I was in the physics zone!

I like the environment. There was an atmosphere that everyone wanted to succeed, which pushed me to want to succeed as well.

I really love UCLA, and the large-size population with a diverse set of opportunities (clubs, research, study abroad, etc.) allowed me to expand my horizon in ways I could never imagine when I was still in high school.

My dad passed away my freshman year, and the amount of support I had received from people I had just met was astounding. It really made me feel like I had a home away from home. People were so incredibly caring and kind to me (even professors and TAs), and it definitely made me feel welcome!

My most meaningful learning experience was learning how to take advantage of and access all the resources UCLA offers outside of academics. At my community college, everything was in one place so it was easy to seek out the information you needed. At UCLA, this was a bit of a challenge as there are many different departments and things are separated not just geographically on campus. In order to get certain information, you have to go [to] different websites and talk to different people. I think this is a skill that will help me in the future so while it was a challenge I’m glad I went through the struggle.

I would say the campus size and way of life of the UCLA culture cultivates and pushes for one to be independent and seek out their own opportunities, which is an essential skill to have in the world of work. I feel like the general UCLA landscape is a good acclimatization pit stop between going from high school to higher education, and from higher education to employment.

Studying in Powell at late hours with the community feeling of mutual suffering but also mutual perseverance and dedication.

I feel that by being in such diverse classes and clubs, I’ve been able to empathize more and learn how to truly make an impact in bringing about change.

Interactions Outside the Classroom (11.7%, 219 Responses)

In freshman year, I was put together with a roommate who had totally different world view[s] than I did because of his religion and beliefs on the meaning of life. We had frequent conversations together about these things and he really tested and sharpened my beliefs and helped me question why I believed what I did. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity because it has ultimately helped shape my faith and taught me to consider deeply what I believe and to listen to what other people have to say especially if they have a different view.

At UCLA, I did a lot of learning outside the classroom. The most meaningful learning experiences I’ve had have come from interactions with other students who came from very different backgrounds than myself. I came from a predominantly white, wealthy, Christian-Judeo town in suburban New Jersey. UCLA opened my eyes to so many different cultures and experiences.

The people I’ve met, especially my roommates. I’ve also learned to be more aware of social issues while attending UCLA. Really opened my mind and forced me to think about many social issues that I was not aware of before.

My most meaningful learning experiences came from my day-to-day interaction with peers. I feel like UCLA functions like many other universities and learning institutions. Many students don’t get to internalize much of the information taught in classrooms because they are so focused on just earning a “good” grade. However, when we step out of the classroom and that pressure is alleviated, I think we are able to soak up information learned from our interactions in student organizations, late night conversations walking to The Study, study sessions, etc. Although I am not entirely happy with my experience at this institution, I am content with the knowledge interacting with my peers has taught me.

Whenever I had a solid conversation with my classmate about their story and perspective on life. College is a great way for these conversations to come up in an organic and gradual way—study groups, office hours, dorms, etc. I like hearing from my peers and their experiences.

There was one night in the dorms when some peers and I were sitting in the lounge and we were talking about poetry that we had written. It was a very unique and special moment of vulnerability where a black bio/chem student was able to share his poetry with a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and me, a white philosophy major. The variety of backgrounds and experiences were a source of pride and strength as we each got to read a piece of ourselves to the others, and cherish the moment and artwork of our peers.

Extracurricular Involvement (9.7%, 181 Responses)

I am part of Hunger Project, a community service organization at UCLA. Before COVID-19, we largely ran service projects that our members could participate in. A lot of these entailed providing food and resources to unhoused individuals in LA. We also participated in the Bruin Dine program with UCLA Dining. It was at Hunger Project that I met a group of people on campus that really wanted to help others. Though our club activities, I have also met a lot of people who have faced homelessness and food insecurity. These interactions have challenged my preconceived thoughts about poverty, intersectionality, and inequality. My participation in the club has widened my worldview about how to be an advocate and member of a community. It has also mobilized me to be politically engaged to end these crises in LA. From my experiences with the club and at UCLA, I foresee myself doing this type of work for a long time.

My most valuable learning experience at UCLA was part of my extracurricular activities, when I reached out to organizations in LA to provide COVID-19 resources to low-income populations. I learned that many people do not have access to the same resources that I have been privileged to have, and there are many obstacles which underserved communities face in getting access to food, community resources, and healthcare. These obstacles often also cause them to have more risk factors for chronic health conditions, which is compounded due to waiting longer to visit the doctor because of the cost and inaccessibility of healthcare for these populations.

My experience at the Daily Bruin, starting as a contributor and working my way up into the editorial staff. The leadership opportunity was priceless; it improved my writing and critical thinking, and I became fully engrained in the campus culture in one of the most informed groups in Westwood.

When I planned an academic conference for students and built the conference from the ground up. I collaborated with administrators and although a lot of work, it helped me see that I could do just about anything if I had the passion for it.

Being a part of the Women’s Club Water Polo team was life-altering. Joining this club helped me make the best life-long friends, and I am very thankful that UCLA funds this club. I hope that UCLA continues to fund club sports, as they are gateways for creating community, not only for Transfers like me, but incoming freshman and other students looking to make friends.

I was fortunate enough to be appointed to the Board of Directors of ASUCLA. Through this experience, I learned about how a successful non-profit organization runs, how to communicate to stakeholders, how to use a business/revenues in order to support student needs. This experience was very professional and different from anything I had experienced before, but I loved being able to learn through hands-on work. I saw the topics I was learning in my economics and management classes in real life through my experience in the position, and it was an amazing co-curricular experience.

Joining my multicultural sorority was one of the best experiences. I was in a low place in my life after my first quarter at UCLA that I had to find support. I was able to meet new people and all the girls were so welcoming! It made me feel like I had a home away from home. Some of them I still keep in contact even after they have graduated. I will never forget the long study nights and celebrations we shared.

My most meaningful experience has been being part of Grupo Folklorico de UCLA. It tested so many things about me socially, professionally, and personally. It has been a space where I have grown and acquired many skills that are transferrable and of high demand in the professional sphere. Most importantly, it was a major piece of my identity here. I was able to develop and am so humbled by that experience.

Joining the Debate Union. This allowed me to bring my in-class learning as well as my lived experience to bear in spirited discussions with others, sharpen my argumentative, critical and public speaking skills, and is also where I truly found a community of intelligent, warm people who will be my friends for years to come.

Research Experience (6.8%, 127 Responses)

Joining a lab forced me out of my comfort zone and showed me where the real learning in university comes from. I got to get my hands dirty and do the work that builds textbooks. Really, it was my best time in college and I’m glad to make a career out of it.

The UCLA Applied Math REU gave me the opportunity to interact and work with students from all over the world on very complex problems that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. For me, this was an eye-opening experience that introduced me to applied math research while also broadening my personal network and challenging myself intellectually.

Engaging in independent research. There is a huge difference between doing research and mere listening to classes even though both activities help you become an expert in your major. I truly appreciate UCLA’s various research opportunities, and I believe developing research skill[s] is what makes college meaningful.

Being a part of the PEERS program and the Undergraduate Research Center (Sciences) programming and eventually the CARE Scholars research program. These opened my eyes to different careers possibilities and now because of this, I am currently interviewing for PhD programs in biomedical research to hopefully attend in Fall 2021.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was taking part in a research lab. This offered me hands on experience with work and research and I even got promoted to Project Manager, which gave me valuable experience managing others.

My research job within the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs (Center for Neighborhood Knowledge) has been incredibly rewarding. I get to apply what I have learned in my GIS courses on a regular basis, and create maps and do data science that has a real impact. For example, I made the maps that created the priorities for COVID vaccines, which were eventually adopted by UCLA.

The ability to join a lab! Research has taught me numerous skills, challenged my ability to think critically and work independently, and offered me multiple opportunities to practice public speaking and presentations. My final research paper is something I am extremely proud of and is evidence of how much I have grown and learned from when I first joined, washing dishes!

Definitely doing contract courses with professors. Having to conduct self-directed research and writing made me think differently about all my coursework and increased my ability to critically evaluate my own writing.

Academic Programs (5.8%, 109 Responses)

The Bruin Readmission Program was the highlight of my experience… The program brought back my confidence in myself socially and academically and now I am working to get my Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine, in hopes that I can help people who are struggling psychologically. I am beyond proud to have graduated as a Bruin!

The Undergraduate Student Initiated Education program to create my own student-led course at UCLA. Professor Christopher Mott, who guided us through the process, was absolutely incredible and supportive; he changed my idea of what a good teacher is and how learning is done. I learned a lot because I was in charge of my own learning and preparing to lead others through it with my course. This program really deepened my learning, my teaching and leadership skills, and overall was a wonderful experience – the best I had at UCLA.

Studying abroad at UCC in Cork, Ireland was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I had the opportunity to meet and make friends with people from many different countries and backgrounds, learn about my Irish culture in Ireland, and expand my worldview through extensive travel in Europe. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity through UCLA to have such an amazing study abroad experience.

The Value Investing program was a valuable experience that I will greatly treasure. It gave me a unique opportunity to not only learn from a fantastic professor, but also learn from various UCLA alumni and professionals in the field of finance that most students would not otherwise get access to. Additionally, I was able to work with students with similar interests and collaborate in small groups that was an extremely valuable experience.

Attending the Freshman Summer Program hosted by AAP. It really prepared me for college coursework and helped me become acclimated with the campus.

My first summer at UCLA and the AAP TSP program. This program really made me feel as though I was part of the community and helped prepare me for being a student. The professors were phenomenal and the support was second to none. Thinking back, following the distance created by COVID, I would feel even more detached and disjointed from UCLA. I would not have the student support group that I currently have or even feel comfortable building new ones. I made lasting connections with professors, advisors, and a host of other actors. I would say that the TSP program was the highlight of my time at UCLA.

I think the most meaningful for me was when I started going to AAP sessions for my GE’s and I got to meet other students from my classes. I met so many other students from similar backgrounds to me, like being first-generation and being able to see that we were here at UCLA trying to succeed, not just for ourselves but for our communities back home. That was my first real instance of feeling welcome here at UCLA.

For the cluster series of classes relating to human aging (CLUSTER 80W), one component of our class was to engage in service learning once a week, where a small group and I visited a senior center for individuals with dementia and interacted with them. This experience taught me a lot about interacting with different kinds of people, and opened my eyes to some of the problems that older individuals have to deal with and reinforced in-class learning. I would definitely encourage more classes to offer some kind of service learning component in addition to its regularly taught content.

During the summer before my Junior year, I completed the Film and Television Traditional Animation Summer Institute. I was able to animate a short film on the same tables that Disney Animation created Snow White with and I could feel the magic in the room. I was able to learn alongside peers who hadn’t considered animation a career either, and at the end of the 6 week seminar, we all felt like a family. I never felt afraid to share my ideas or try hard, and I was able to envision a future for myself and my career that I was genuinely excited about.

This school really allowed me to grow in ways I would have never expected to. The UCEAP program allowed me to travel for the first time in my life to another country on the other side of the world. I met some of the most amazing and genuine people here. I was challenged and forced to step outside of my comfort zone NONSTOP, and the growth that I have experienced the past 4 years is something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.

Studying abroad with the UCEAP Marine Biology and Terrestrial Ecology program in Australia. It was the best educational experience I’ve ever had as it integrated what we learned in class with real life. We were able to practice our knowledge, have a hands-on experience, and given freedom to work independently and have guidance when needed.

All of my honors classes were by far the most meaningful learning experiences for me. They were smaller seminars, which was new to me at such a large school and I loved them. I also appreciated that my professors never focused on grades, and instead they offered us good grades so long as we put in the work, were engaged, and participated. I think that’s really important to education because it gets students to actually find an interest in their studies rather than spend the entire time worrying about their grades.

My involvement with the UCLA-HHMI Pathways to Success Program. I got to meet people from many different backgrounds that I became friends with for all four years. I was introduced to research and made long-lasting connections with faculty. I also was given the opportunity to tutor and mentor other students in the program, allowing me to directly impact others.

I took a service learning class without even realizing it was a service learning class, and it changed my life forever. I have always wanted to be secondary math teacher. The location I had to volunteer at for the service learning class was an education center for adult Latinx students who grew up illiterate. I instructed math, reading and writing courses while volunteering there. It was way out of my comfort zone. It was a new, challenging experience and I am super grateful for it. I felt like I was participating in meaningful work.

My most meaningful experience at UCLA was being part of the [Learning Assistant] program for two quarters. I have grown tremendously as both a student and teacher. I have learned very valuable life lessons and created incredible relationships along the way. I believe that this experience alone made my last year at UCLA worthwhile and I will forever cherish it.

Non-Academic Programming (3.9%, 72 Responses)

Attending Dinners for 12 Strangers two years in a row was a wonderful learning experience. The alumni were so eager to share about their own lives and learn about ours, and it really opened my eyes to life beyond UCLA. They had done such wonderful things with their lives after graduating from UCLA. I left both times feeling inspired and so, so proud to be a Bruin. The time spent was so worth it and opened my eyes to see that the world is so much bigger than my hometown, than UCLA, than California, and that there are so many opportunities to learn, explore, and do good. These were some of my favorite memories and learning experiences while attending UCLA and I feel I learned so many life lessons in those short 2-3 hour dinners.

Being selected as a Resident Assistant my second year was the most fulfilling experience. I had so much joy planning programs, counseling students, and connecting communities. I was also [able] to make new friends through this process!! I loved being a campus leader. I’m going to miss UCLA so much after graduating after only 3 short years.

Transfer day: truly feeling a part of the Bruin community for the first time.

My most meaningful experience at UCLA has been going to CAPS to address my mental health. I had seen a lot of promotions for CAPS and psychological services and my sophomore year I thought to take advantage of that. From going to therapy and meeting with professionals, I have had the chance to better my life and be more successful in my classes. I regret not going sooner but without the care I received I would not be who I am today. I thank UCLA for that opportunity and for inspiring me to pursue something I was initially uncomfortable with. I will forever be grateful for that.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was working with the [Depression Grand Challenge] STAND Program. Through training to become a mental health coach, I have become so passionate about mental health and how I can support people who experience anxiety and depression. I have learned so much about cognitive behavioral therapy and trained on many different skills that are useful in my everyday life, skills that I have been able to use to help my own loved ones. I believe it cemented my career path and what I want to do, which is something that I’ve always been unsure about. I have met so many passionate and caring peers that I otherwise would never have had the privilege to work alongside. I’m also incredibly grateful for the supervisors from this program. Each person that I’ve worked with has been so inspiring and encouraging, which makes me strive to give my all for STAND.

My most meaningful experience was being a New Student Advisor for UCLA. I was able to welcome new Bruins to their home for the next few years of their life and truly be a welcoming and excited presence in their college career. It was an honor to work alongside the New Student and Transition Programs professional staff and other NSAs as part of the Orientation program and to provide resources and support for the students. The bonds I formed with the students and the sense of accomplishment I felt after working as an NSA for two summers was a feeling like no other.

Work & Internships (1.9%, 35 Responses)

I think the work-study job that I had was my most meaningful learning experience because this is where I was most able to develop better communication skills, opportunities for networking. I was able to work with people from diverse backgrounds, and make a lot of friends that made my experience at UCLA very memorable.

My most meaningful learning experience has been interning at the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Research Center. I have learned a lot about public health and had the opportunity to interact with community leaders for various fields. This internship has really expanded my knowledge about women’s health, social determinants of health, and working with underserved communities. I have also been able to develop new skills, like grant writing.

My most meaningful learning experience at UCLA was being hired at UCLA Kinross Recreation Center my freshman year. The KREC supervisor and the entire staff of UCLA Recreation help[ed] create an environment where a shy, fresh out of high school kid could grow and become more confident in their skin. I definitely learned a lot about how to become a person while working here and got to meet a lot of different people I would not normally get that chance to meet.

The most meaningful learning experience I’ve had at UCLA was not in the classroom, but through my job at the John Wooden Center. This job gave me a sense of community on campus and allowed me to develop my communication, conflict-resolution, and leadership skills. It has provided me with connections, skills, and experiences that I will take into my future employment opportunities and I am SO THANKFUL FOR THE JOHN WOODEN CENTER!

My internship with ResLife Arts Engagement was definitely the highlight of my UCLA career. Jenny Byrd runs an amazing internship. I was able to modify the role to suit my own interests and I was given plenty of opportunities to execute my own ideas, whilst being provided adequate support if I needed it. The work we did in the internship emphasized UCLA’s core values and allowed me to interact with students from many different backgrounds and engage with them in a meaningful way that was mutually beneficial. Apart from the actual work experience of it all, we were challenged to think critically about arts engagement and were given pointers on how to uncover our strengths. It was a truly holistic, first-hand learning experience that really set the tone for the second half of my UCLA career. It is an experience that I will forever cherish and look back upon with utmost gratitude.

Some of my most meaningful experiences have been working at the Ashe Center for 4 years. I improved my communication and social skills with patients and medical professionals. I have gained a great network and made strong relationships while working here. I experienced working in the physical therapy clinic, which helped me realize what I wanted to do postgraduate.