My first quarter at UCLA has been filled with much discovery, excitement, perseverance - and of course, lots of studying. The transition into college life is much more than dedicating more time into reading and finishing assignments than in high school, but rather adapting into a different environment than one's upbringings.
Upon moving into the campus, my initial perception of living in Los Angeles was far from how I see things now. A solid distance from my parents and unfamiliar surroundings were all components of a life I foresaw to be easy to embrace. Difficulty in accepting these concepts was the last thing in my mind. I always thought of myself as a person open to new things, someone yearning to experience a new adventure, and most of all, a teenager eager to become liberated from all parental restrictions. Instead, these have presented a challenge for me to adapt to this unfamiliar setting. Like anyone who is distant from his or her home for eighteen years, it is common for homesickness to result. This had occurred to me midway through the quarter. Only a few days into my college career, I had developed longings to visit my parents and be home. These emotions only resonated as the weeks passed. It was almost as if I had lost some of the most precious things in my life, but this is when the beauty of college shines brightest: to lose is to gain.
My sentiments had perpetuated me to become a more active member in the school community. I learned that it takes an effort to become more comfortable in a foreign area. This modification in my way of thinking directed me to becoming involved in several UCLA groups and internships. After having much success in the high school newsroom setting, I decided to apply for an internship in the esteemed Daily Bruin, UCLA's student-run newspaper established since the founding of the university. In great disbelief, I was accepted into the group as a design intern for the publication; only a select amount of students were admitted in the quarter, and an even smaller amount for the actual design of the newspaper (some were admitted as designers only for the publication of the school's monthly magazine, Prime). For three Saturdays straight, I attended workshops that lasted all day consisting of an instructor who explained design in a college newspaper context. Once I completed all three training workshops, I shadowed a designer each week to receive a better understanding of a designer's usual functions.
My internship in the Daily Bruin was only a start to experiencing all what UCLA had to offer. In the latter weeks of the quarter, I decided to become more involved with the Filipino community on campus. I joined Samahang Pilipino, the name of the Filipino-American student group at UCLA, and have met a supportive group of people who promote both cultural empowerment and academic success to college students and local community. At the end of the quarter, I applied for an internship with a sub-group within Samahang Pilipino named the Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment, known as SPACE. This particular committee helps serve disadvantaged high schools within the LA Area. As an intern for SPACE, I will dedicated myself to tutoring high school students at a particular site, along with helping them understand and achieve the necessary requirements in order to attend a four-year institution. I have chosen to do this because I have been considering a profession in the education field, whether it be teaching or educational public policy. When I graduate, I want to return home and give back to Pinole Valley High School and the rest of the WCCUSD.
This internship is only the beginning of many wonderful opportunities LA has to offer me. When I return to UCLA, I plan to absorb as much as I can from everything I learn. Outside of school, the city of Los Angeles is host to many unique neighborhoods like Hollywood, Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles that I am ecstatic to further explore. I am also glad to say that in regards to my academics, I am doing fine and will only push myself to do harder. PVHS did well in maturing me into a hard-working, determined person ready to accomplish more.
Gabriel Augusto Jomdos Sanchez