Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stephanie Ny

Hey ILC students!

I’m Stephanie Ny, and I recently concluded my first year at Northwestern University. It was, by far, one of the most challenging school years of my life. I’m here to provide you prospective students with advice that I’ve come up with after my freshman year.

First of all, where you live greatly affects the people you meet and become friends with. At Northwestern, residential colleges and dorms have certain themes which tend to characterize those who live in them (though not necessarily). I’m not entirely sure of the living situation at other schools, but here, if you choose a themed dorm to live in based on your interests, you’ll be bound to meet people like you. Last year, I lived in a residential college with a communications theme, where I met many people with interests in communications, film, and journalism. Choosing the right place to live facilitates the friend-making process, which can turn out to be quite difficult when you choose to attend a school that none of your friends attend.

Also, be open to how different college is probably going to be from high school. Expect surprises and drastic changes in your surroundings: new people, new weather (if applicable), and new teaching styles.

I went from living in the incredibly diverse WCCUSD to living among an over 50% Caucasian student body. While there is a healthy mix of other races represented, it’s definitely much different from WCCUSD. And even so, some students say Northwestern is the most diverse place they’ve ever lived at. It’s amazing how people of completely different backgrounds from you come together to live in one community. Just realize that the entire student body at your school isn’t going to be from the same place you came from. Begin your college career with an open mind.

There isn’t much more to say in regards to weather other than this: if you know you can’t handle it, you’re going to hate attending that school. I know a few students who didn’t apply to certain places because they knew they couldn’t deal with the weather. I know a few students who knew they wouldn’t be able to handle the weather but decided to apply and, later, attend anyway – and they hated it. While education is probably your top priority, being unhappy and unable to handle the conditions under which you will be living will not help you much.

Teaching styles may be painful to adjust to in college. Some professors lecture all period and you have to either bring a voice recorder or take notes yourself. Others use power points to assist their lectures and post them online, making it much easier for you to catch up if you miss a class or get ahead if you plan to miss a class to study for a midterm or something of the like. Some professors simply assign you reading and facilitate discussions amongst students during class time, encouraging oral speaking and critical thinking skills. It’s likely that you’re going to study under these several types of teaching styles, so be prepared to adjust accordingly.

Lastly, look up professors before signing up for a class. Professors absolutely make a difference in the classes you take. Northwestern has a system called CTECs in which students rate and give feedback on the classes they take along with the professors that taught those classes. You can see the reviews for various classes each professor taught. If your school provides such a system or you know of a similar system elsewhere, take full advantage of it. I failed to do this my first quarter at school and the consequences were onerous. While there are classes that may interest you, the professor teaching it may completely destroy that interest if he or she isn’t a good one.

These pieces of advice may sound cliché, but they have turned out to be absolutely useful, and I hope you’ll take them to heart as well.

If you have any questions about Northwestern, don’t be afraid to ask me! Good luck!

Stephanie Ny

Northwestern 2014

Jennifer Kuang

Hi Mr. Ramsey,

I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping in touch as well as I should have, but things have been taking off lately, in a good way. I am currently interning at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. through a fellowship program called International Leadership Foundation (ILF) that aims to help place Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders into government agencies in order to increase exposure of the API community to the political arena and civil service. Initially, I wanted to be placed in the U.S. Department of Education but I was informed that there were no openings for an intern. Nevertheless, I am learning a lot and I am absolutely loving it here.

Anyway, it sounds like ILC is continuing very well, and I am glad to hear it. In terms of advice for the newbies, I basically say the same thing every time: be yourself, take advantage of opportunities but don't try to tackle more than you can handle, and be open to new people and new experiences. If you don't know what you want to study, try things out, and eventually you WILL figure it out. I can't remember whether I've mentioned this already or not, but I have decided on a Psychology major, with a minor in Education. Next fall, I will be studying abroad in Beijing, China, which I am very excited for. All colleges and universities have their own programs and resources, and if there is something that you want to get involved in, it will most likely be available to you. Sometimes, you just have to do a little digging. I think most of all, however, is to take it all in and not take anything for granted. I cannot believe that I am already halfway done with college, and sometimes, I wish I had taken more time to really appreciate the campus around me so that it isn't too much of a blur as it is now. There will definitely be stressful times where you deem that it is more important to study for an exam, but take a break once in a while to really get to know your peers. Here in D.C. I am starting to realize how different it is when you know people who know other people - networking, they call it, which is a complicated word and concept, and this really starts in college. In all of the various conferences and speaker panels I have attended in DC, everyone has said the same. Other than that, I think college is a place where each of you can truly find yourself if you allow that to happen. It is a time of self-realization, and I heartily agree with those who say that it is one of the best times of your life.

Good luck!

Jennifer Kuang
Stanford University | Class of 2013
B.A. Candidate | Psychology

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Julie Liang

Dear Prospective College Student,

For me, the biggest adjustment for college was learning to manage my time and study on my own. When classes started, I realized how much free time I had. Instead of being in class 8 hours a day, I was in class about 5 hours a day (not including labs). In high school I could learn all the material just by attending and participating in class, but I now had to take the time to practice on my own and visit my professor or TA outside of class. This, coupled with the fact that I was living in the dorms, made it difficult to manage my time.

I would definitely recommend going to office hours to get to know both your professor and TA. Although the big lecture halls can be intimidating, your professor really shouldn't be. You can gain a lot of valuable insight and clarification by going. So far, all of my professors have been helpful and many of them took the time to learn my name when I was an office hour regular.

Living in the dorms was very liberating. I could eat and sleep when I wanted without having to worry about my parents telling me to go to sleep earlier or to eat on a schedule (both of which are actually pretty important). I was lucky to have two roommates that I got along very well with. Although we didn't become best friends, I think it was for the better because we could come and go as we pleased and never had any arguments.

Something important that I realized about living with other people is that communication is key. A recurring situation on my floor involved resentment between roommates that would build up and lead to unnecessary arguments. The resentment was mostly because of little things such as their roommate playing music too loud or not using their desk lamp when their roommate went to sleep. Most of the time, it wasn't because the roommate was a jerk, it was because she didn't realize what she was doing bothered her roommate. What my roommates and I did to be more courteous and thoughtful than necessary by asking permission for any small thing.

The solution that my roommates and I came up with was to ask for permission before doing anything that might affect each other. That way we gave one another a chance to speak up if we were too shy to bring up an issue otherwise.

Also! Remember to eat!

Feel free to e-mail me any questions you have about UCB or college in general :)

Julie Liang

PRO TIP: Don't buy anything for your dorm except sheets until you get there! I never ended up using about 3/4 of the things I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Ikea for my dorm. Bring some necessities from home, but wait until you've lived in the dorm for a week to realize what you need. Then make a list and head to Target over the weekend or something.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jose Canchola

Hello Everyone!

My name is Jose Canchola and I am currently attending UC Merced. I am about to be a junior with a double major on Political Science and Psychology and a minor on Spanish.

Even though UC Merced is the newest campus, there are so many organizations and that you can join. There's from invisible children to a trading card game club. There's more than 100 organizations in my school, you just have to look for them. I myself am the President of Raza Unida an Interest group and soon to be a fraternity called Gamma Zeta Alpha.

Merced currently offers two varsity sports which are basketball and cross country. I am currently in the soccer team that is getting competitive every year and soon to be 3rd division.

Another thing about Merced is that the benefit of coming to this school is that there is SO much financial aid they give that you don't have to take out loans your first two years. There is even scholarships for students that are undocumented.

Classes are great because you get to work with them individually in some classes. They really care that you do good in class and don't fail.

If you're the type of student that would like to be in a small campus then Merced can be your school. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and stay safe!

Jose Canchola

Cristina Pelayo

It looks like everyone had a great time at this Penn event. I hope it's made some of the ILC participants consider applying in the near future, and I'd be happy to answer any questions or help them through the application process through email or Facebook. Next year I'm staying in a suite in the Rodin high-rise building. I'm still undecided, but I've decided to drop my pre-med classes for humanities classes in order to hopefully declare my major at the end of fall semester. I hope you enjoyed your trip to the East Coast, and especially to Philadelphia and Penn. Take care!

-Cristina Pelayo

Jessica Ong

Dear ILC students,

My name is Jessica Ong, and I am currently an upcoming sophomore at UC Berkeley! (oh, how time flies…). After just one year at Cal, I have already met so many amazing people, and also learned so much more about myself – so I’m here to give you some pointers.

First off, I would like to start by encouraging all of you to dorm for at least the first year, no matter how close you are to home. That experience will not only help you learn to be more independent, but also allow you to get a closer connection to the campus itself (and by closer, I do not mean distance). When I lived at Clark Kerr, I was initially quite sad. None of my high school friends that I knew were there, and the dorm was quite far from campus (compared to the others). Nevertheless, in less than a week, I got to know most of my floormates and, of course, my own roommates. I had lots of fun times with these people, and indeed, some have become my close friends. I think one of the things that made me cherish the dorms even more is that fact that, after a long day in class, I was always able to come back to people who were just as lost as I was. In general, just know that your first year at college will be quite a rollercoaster ride – but that you are not alone. Look to your peers for help – and keep reading these posts from former first year students – and you will go far!

Although living on campus may be quite nice, it’s not the only thing you should be thinking about. The first year at a college is an adjustment period. Even though the UC’s are considered public schools, it was still a drastic change from high school. I had high expectations for myself right from the beginning, but make sure you know your own limits. For example, I came into Cal thinking I would LOVE to join many organizations and clubs – to be involved and show others that I am capable of doing more than just studying. In truth, I did: I joined the UC Rally Committee and showed off my spirit during football and volleyball games. However, in doing so, I had to pay the price with my grades. (Now don’t get me wrong, I still ended up with good grades, but not as high as I wanted them to be). So, my advice to you is to use your first year as a trial – yes, join clubs or whatever you find interesting, and see how well you can manage your time. If it all works out, then great! If not, during your second semester, mix it up and try something else. That way, during your second year, you will have a gist about what you can and cannot handle.

What I find very interesting about the college system is being able to choose classes throughout the whole day. I personally like taking morning classes because it made my whole day more productive. Instead of sleeping in, I would be in class, and afterwards, I had the rest of the night to myself. But of course, this depends on what you like to do. All I can tell you is that two of my best friends when planning my classes were: and Courserank, as you can probably tell by its name, is a site where students go to see how others feel about a specific course. The class is not only ranked from 1-5 (5 being the highest), but some students also comment and leave their feedback about the class or the professors. Ninjacourses, on the other hand, is where I like to plan my schedule. After you choose the classes that you think you want to take, ninjacourses will come up with lots of possible schedules for you to choose from (if none of the classes overlap). As much as I like these websites, make sure you keep an open mind when you read other students’ comments on sites like courserank. It is often very hard to tell when someone is being honest, or just holding a grudge on his or her bad grade in the class. So, basically, don’t solely rely on these sites before you choose your classes – you might get more help by speaking to students in person and seeing their real expressions/attitude towards the class, or by going to speak with an academic advisor/counselor.

A whole semester of class goes by very fast. After tons and tons of learning and studying, comes the dreaded finals week. Often, the campus is quiet and students are in buildings studying like crazy; some pull all nighters and others go party. Here are my suggestions to you: DO NOT try to stay up all night. Please manage your time so that you study a few hours here and there on each subject. Cramming it in one whole night is not going to help you in any way. Also, make sure you give yourself some breaks to relax – but don’t get out of hand either or else you’ll not want to go back to studying. I think the best way to study for finals, is to start studying throughout the semester. Make sure you understand the material as the professor teaches it, and start getting to know students in the class that you could form study groups with. I think the best way to learn is by helping others – so grab a group of friends and hit the stacks together. Each person will have their own strengths and together, you will all ace those tests!

Of course, don’t forget to be thankful that you have the ILC to help guide you towards success. My time at Yale as a part of the Ivy Scholars program showed me how much potential I actually have, and without their help, I really don’t know where I would be in some cases. To those incoming freshmen, congrats in graduating high school, and welcome to another four or more years of craziness, fun, stress, and excitement. I wish you the best of luck! Please feel free to contact me ( about the college life or about Cal! Go Bears!


Jessica Ong

Matt Arciniega

Dear Mr. Ramsey,

I may have only been through one year but I think I have some solid words of advice for those of you about to embark on the most difficult journey you will ever face.

First of all, just know that it is going to be hard. Some people, like myself, go into college thinking that they are ready. That's just not the case. No one is ready for college. I have never met anyone at Columbia who does not think it is the most challenging thing they have done or ever will do. Everyone here was a valedictorian in high school, you're not special anymore. It's hard to take at first but eventually you will realize that it is nice having to work hard. You are finally going to be truly challenged intellectually and it is the most liberating experience imaginable. If you feel confident, you're probably overconfident and if your feeling nervous, that's exactly where you should be and where you need to be. Feeling nervous about school makes you work harder and it's how everyone else feels. In my experience, the only ones that don't worry about school are those who are too smart for their school (legitimate geniuses) and those who aren't working hard enough and are falling behind. Please, don't be overconfident. Let yourself worry about school and work your way to confidence with the rest of the crowd, that's where you should be.

More tangible, practical advice for your first year: Choose classes that are not too difficult but still interest you. This is my largest piece of advice for anyone entering a top tier school. I speak from experience.

My first semester, I admit that I bit off more than I could chew with a certain philosophy class. I was really interested in philosophy and I really wanted to take this class but I quickly learned that picking classes is not all about choosing classes you're interested in. I walked into class the first day and the professor says, "I don't give A's, so don't expect one." That happens all the time. Sometimes choosing classes without knowing anything about them works out but oftentimes you will end up way over your head. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to check out your professors on or whatever professor rating system your school uses. This will help you make sure you don't have a professor that doesn't give A's.

That being said, I bought into the "take easy classes" mindset a little too much second semester. I researched classes that were not extremely challenging, I took Spanish 1, I really just took classes I knew I could get A's in. I can see how people get sucked into this but it doesn't work! I actually ended up with about the GPA second semester as first semester just because I was not interested or challenged by the material.

Morals of the story:

1) Be nervous about school, it's normal and it's motivating. Humble yourself.

2) PLEASE check out your professors before you sign up for classes. It makes all the difference.

3) Take classes that you can handle but also be sure to take classes that really interest you and challenge you in a healthy, not-impossible way.

These are huge tips that took me a year and a couple GPA points to learn. Hope it is helpful. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any follow-up questions or specific questions about Columbia.

Good luck!


Matt Arciniega
Columbia College '14

Wendy Espinoza

I completed my second year at St. Mary's University of San Antonio Texas and I must say this year was more difficult than the last. I took 15 credit hours per semester , continued to work study, was involved in The National Society of Leadership & Success club, and the only new activity of the school year was joining a sorority, I took on more than I was able to successfully manage and my grades weren't as high as usual. I was less than pleased by this so I have decided to leave the sorority.

While being in the sorority had benefits such as networking, marketing skills and a family, those benefits do not outweigh the negative aspects. To start off I still have not and don't believe I'll ever be interested into the party/drinking atmosphere promoted by college life. Being in Greek life encourages that lifestyle despite its strict rules not making it known to the public. I didn't connect well enough with the women of the sorority to form a family bond. Did I mention it cost $600? Yes well, Greek life is expensive. I decided that there is a better way to spend my time . I joined because I wanted to do something in college that wasn't meant to improve my future, just for pure joy. High grades, internships, and honors are all great but wanted more out of college life. I got what I asked for and am ready to give it back.

A great tip for any college student is to go to sleep early! I continue to go sleep around 10-11pm. It's no use pulling an all nighters if A. you are going to mess around online and not study anyway. B. If you can't remember what you studied when you wake up .Eat healthy inexpensively by drinking free water, not buying fatty snacks and not eating past 6pm.

Wendy Espinoza
St. Mary's University
Class of 2013

Guadalupe Morales

Mr. Ramsey, Elizabeth Gonzalez and all others included in this email,

First off, I would thank Mr. Ramsey for always sending us these testimonials from other students. I would also thank the students themselves who send us their stories to read; they are always insightful and genuine. They are valuable readings that motivate me to stay strong in my future endeavors in college. So thank you so much.

Though all of the testimonials that I've heard have been moving and inspiring, to me, Elizabeth's story is the one that I connect the most with. Perhaps it is because her background is, in ways, similar to mine, or maybe it is because she had many of the doubts that I had or currently have. But regardless of what it is, I would to say that I respect Elizabeth so much for sharing her story and her feelings towards college with us. I admire her efforts and I find them inspiring. Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing your Brown experience. Your words are priceless to me and they motivate to me to use all of my resources and connections I have in college.

I've enjoyed reading all of the testimonials and luckily, there will be more to come. Again, thank you to everyone who has given me opportunities to be where I am today. It is priceless indeed.

Best regards,

Guadalupe Morales

Elizabeth Gonzalez

As per usual, I apologize for the delay in response. As I embark on my last year at Brown, I find myself busier than ever trying to make the most out of my time as an undergraduate student. This summer has been nonstop work—I am currently interning/volunteering with UC Berkeley’s Early Academic Outreach Program. This is the very same outreach program I was a part of from 7th grade onward. I owe a great amount of my college-readiness to this program and felt it was crucial to pay my dues this summer. With that said, I will try to address the crucial need for programs, like the ILC, that grant students the opportunity to learn about higher education.

Although I was not a participant of the Ivy League Connection, I believe that the program is very necessary and relevant to the students of the WCCUSD. Acquainting students with universities that may seem unfamiliar (or even unreachable) is not only helpful, but a duty. The more informed our students are, the more opportunities there will be for them. Their scope of the world expands, and that is a must for students from our district. Teaching them and encouraging them to reach for the stars, even if it seems like an impossible feat (at the time), is what we should be instilling in students daily. As a district we need to help students feel entitled and worthy of the hundreds of opportunities out there. This is our social responsibility.

As for my time at Brown, I will not sugar coat my experience. It has been extremely challenging. Not just academically, but emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have never doubted myself so much and yet I have never felt more active growth and maturity. I was forced to adjust to a culture (elite academia) that was completely foreign to me. I didn’t feel prepared for the rigorous work, and I felt guilty for being at Brown. It was as if I thought that the Admissions Officers had made some kind of mistake in admitting me. I found myself surrounded by peers who seemed so much smarter and better prepared. I felt unworthy. This feeling continued on into my sophomore year. I never felt more stressed and, admittedly, depressed. I would get sick very often in part due to stress and even had to end a semester early due to illness, but my pride would not let me ask for help. I wanted to leave. Quit. I wanted to hide myself from this shame. There I was: a first-generation college student, daughter of Mexican immigrants, Mexican-American Woman, and a resident of Richmond. And I felt like I was letting all of these proudly-held identities down. I felt like I was letting people down--My family, my community, and myself. There was always that fear of wasting a blessing.

I decided I would take time off. I decided to study abroad in Brazil. I needed to get away and gather my thoughts and really remember why it was important that I NOT give up on this opportunity. Quitting was really not in my character, after all. Before Brown, I was focused on going to college and would stop at nothing to get there. I finally achieved that goal, but felt incomplete or...worse, incompetent. So I studied abroad. And it was just what I needed. After my time away and having the opportunity to experience a different culture—a privilege that many people like myself do not often encounter—I felt so grateful and felt like many of my experiences were put into focus. My perspectives on life and myself changed entirely (as cliché as that may sound, it is true). In being away from school, I was allowed the space to think. Luckily, I was able to relax and just think in a beautiful place like Rio de Janeiro. All I needed was time to reflect and time to be a different person. Studying abroad came at the right time. I got to be on my own in a different country--away from the stress of being at Brown. I found myself missing Brown and wanting to take full advantage of the opportunity. Since I was beginning my junior year abroad, I realized my time was quickly passing, and I couldn't allow it to end without feeling like I conquered Brown (and not vice versa).

I stopped blaming myself for not adjusting as fast as other students. It wasn’t my fault, or anyone’s fault for that matter. It is just the cards I was dealt. It was not worth it to dwell on how unprivileged I was. I had to reclaim myself from the doubt that controlled my life for almost two years. I was unhappy and completely disconnected from the dreams that got me into Brown in the first place. I felt refreshed after studying abroad and channelled the same drive I had in high school. All I needed was a chance to slow down and re-evaluate what I wanted out of life. I found my strength and felt like I finally found my place at Brown. The following is all advice I have given myself (with MUCH needed help from the beautiful people around me):

It is not bad to feel beaten—the hard times are what make you grow and learn about yourself. How you confront the challenges is what helps define who you are. You worked to be there, it’s going to take work to get what you want out of that experience. You have to take pride in who you are, where you come from, and what you offer others. I found that the key to not letting the feelings of incompetence get to you is truly appreciating the gifts that you do have and asserting that you ARE an asset to that university. You ARE worthy of that university’s name. It may be intimidating to be at this place, however you worked your hardest and put in countless hours to be there. (If anything, you are more worthy than others who were handed these opportunities). Ask for help when you need it. That is what the resources are there for. Demand the most out of your education. You were admitted for a reason.

Good luck to you all! I am here if any of you have questions or would like to hear more about the past three years at Brown. Please feel free to contact me.

You can do it!!

Elizabeth Gonzalez
B.A. Sociology
Brown '12
Box # 6979

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eduardo Melendez

Hello Mr. Ramsey,

This email might come to you as a surprise since I never quite replied to the emails when I was asked for feedback. But as you may or may not know my journey has been quite different from the vast majority of students you have ever encountered with, the life of an undocumented student doesn't come with many positive aspects if any whatsoever so every time I was asked to give feedback of how I was currently doing as a college student, I could have simply replied and said, "Bad." But now I am finished with my freshman year in college and I can finally put together some advice and suggestions for students in the same situation as well as the ILC program.

I will first start of by sharing some of my experiences at SCU's school of engineering. It was certainly a bless to be part of such an institution, I just have to say that regardless of the academic difficulties I faced coming out of RHS, being an engineering student for a single year enlightened my life and allowed me to experience priceless memories that made me grow as an individual. Academically there were some bumps along the road but ultimately it was a smooth and unforgettable ride. I really want to thank the ILC for informing me about SCU, and I can already see the SCU is becoming to be one of the favorite colleges to apply for RHS students. I feel truly proud that Jocelyn and I were able to open up the doors for RHS.

Financially it was a complete different story, and it is really unfortunate that neither the ILC nor anyone else was able to help me allocate the resources necessary to afford college. The only reason why I was able to afford college for a year is because I was able to obtain several small private scholarships that I found by myself, also my parents agreed to make an immense sacrifice and sell their house in Mexico so I could complete the payments for the first year. Now all the money is gone and I am forced to withdraw from SCU solely due to financial struggles. When I first joined the ILC and had we had the parents meeting. My parents as well as all of the parents were assured that financial need would be the last of our worries and should not be an excuse to not attend college. Now I am sorry to break the news but financial need turned out to be my only struggle that grew so big and now I am forced to leave school. I understand that the ILC is not knowledgeable about undocumented students and that was the reason why you weren't prepared enough to provide me with the necessary counseling. This is the reason why I urge the ILC to spend a little more time learning about the different ways there are to help students like me so we can ultimately avoid having anyone go through these unfortunate struggles ever again.

Now I am looking for a community college nearby Santa Clara so I can stay in contact with SCU and ultimately be able to return to SCU by the following year by means of obtaining a scholarship given by the Jesuits at the school. It that does not work out then it it likely that I will never return at SCU and will probably look for a more affordable college to attend. At this point in my life I have more questions than answers but I am trying everything in my hands to come up with a plan. I would just really love for this email to be sent out to the entire ILC committee in order to spread awareness and get a plan in progress. The Ivy League Connection in an amazing source of help to students around the area, but at the same time it does provide appropriate guidance to a vast number of talented undocumented students to reach the dreams like any other regular student striving to become college student.

The intent of this email is not to criticize the lack of assistance I got from the ILC, but to bring awareness to the committee, improve the program and strengthen its weaknesses to become able to provide guidance to every student regardless of their background. I please urge you to spread the word... that is the only way to improve.

Thank you for listening.

Eduardo Melendez

Anna Garibo

Hello ILC members,

I hope everything went well this year for all those who have been and continue to be part of the Ivy League Connection. For those Brown and Cornell summer students, finish strong, if you haven't done so yet. I know the ILC will help prepare you well for the tough journey that college is. First of all, I want to let everyone know that it's not easy, but with hard work anything can be achieved.

As I have mentioned in previous accounts, there have been academic struggles for me. Attending a private institution such as SCU is no easy task. Being on a quarter system doesn't give you time to even breath, but you have to stay strong. Time is very important and you have to manage it well. I cannot stress that enough! This year I tried a new system of outlining important tasks I had to get done before I could do anything else, like go out with friends. Although it did work for most of the quarter, I admit it's easy to get distracted. This is where my second piece of advice is to stay focused!

As you very well know, going off to college is like moving out, becoming a bit more independent. Even though I go to a university that's only one hour away from home, I know I cannot run home every time I encounter a difficulty. That is why you have to prioritize in everything. Once you're in college, you get the feeling that no one else can tell you what to do. And to some extent that might be right. For me it has been the case that every time I go back to SC, I feel like I HAVE TO do everything on my own. Remember that college students are very competitive. There will be students who will not want to work in groups merely because they want to be the best, and in the real world that's what will happen. Not everyone will want to help you out. But that doesn't mean there aren't those people who will become your friends and will gladly help. Of course I'm not saying they'll give you the answers. The goal is to learn for yourself and understand what you are learning, so don't be afraid to ask anyone for help. Always make a few friends and acquaintances in each classroom, and ALWAYS try to work in groups if possible. A method that helped me study was asking others to quiz me and quizzing others. That might work for some of you.

Also, when I talk about asking for help, it doesn't have to limit to only students. Remember that your professors are there to help as well. For instance, in SCU you will always have professors willing to help. Santa Clara is a small community and classroom sizes range from about 10-25 students in most cases. So, if you're one of those students who like to get a one-on-one with your teacher/professor, SCU would be perfect for you. I have grown to have close relationships with some of my professors and still keep in touch with them. So, again, don't be afraid to ask for help! This is the time when you can still make mistakes and learn from them.

As for myself, my second year was more smooth and I learned about a few more resources I have in SCU. I have taken on the role of Cochair for Hermanas Unidas for the next academic year. I can not forget to mention that nothing else will make you a stronger leader than taking a leadership role on campus. I'm sure in high school everyone tells you to get involved. Well I'll say the same thing. Get INVOLVED! Find something that interests you and try to become part of it in any way and with time take challenges like getting a position in a club such as I have. For now I will focus on making Hermanas Unidas a stronger club and continue to be a member of MEChA-El Frente, another Latino club on campus. Since I switched to a Psychology major, I will look into joining a new club called To Write Love on Her Arms which will deal in any way possible in helping others become aware of depression, its causes, symptoms and treatments, and other mood disorders. As far as classes goes, I have been struggling in at least one class every quarter, but I try my best to do well. I have had to take a class twice because the first time around it was tough. Good thing is I have planned my next two years at SCU and have available spaces in case I need to retake a class. Try to plan your years in college. That will help you in knowing if you will finish on time. It will be of great help.

Lastly, since we have all been brought to the attention of financial matters forcing a former ILC student to terminate his college studies at SCU, I will mention that it is tough as the years pass by. It's tough to get a solid financial aid package, if you get one. As we have seen, one great student like Eduardo Melendez had to postpone studying at Santa Clara University. Although the ILC does help students in the transition from home to college in many ways, it still needs to improve on raising awareness among students about financial aid, how it works, and if governmental aid cannot be received, to teach students about useful tools to find scholarships and private grants. Up to this day, I have been receiving a good package from SCU and I'm thankful. I also have a job on campus, and even though sometimes it conflicts with other activities, I know it helps decrease the financial burden. But I agree with Lalo that the ILC can and should try to improve in this matter. So keep that in mind: financial matters do matter!

I really hope that everyone grows to value what the ILC is doing for each one of you, and that you apply it once you make it to college. Remember that your task as an ILC student doesn't end once you graduate high school. There will be others that will come after you and it is your duty to try to advice them in anything possible as we have with you. Also, the ILC will be open about ideas on improvement of the program. Let's try to make it a better program. With time everything can be accomplished.

Thanks for your time and thank you to the ILC for the great help it offered.

Rosa Garibo
Santa Clara University '13

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jessica Tran

Hello ILC members,

I must admit that I did not believe I could contribute anything to the ILC students. I assumed that the new students would want to hear about dorm life and how college is an independent learning experience away from home. Sadly, I cannot give you feedback on these cases, however I can give you insight from a commuter's point of view.

I am a Cal commuter, meaning I take the bus from my house to the campus and back. Was I happy about the late buses and having to wake up earlier just to catch the right bus? Definitely not. All my the freshmen were getting the "college experience": living in the dorms, socially active, close to campus, and away from home. I, on the other hand, often worried about missing my bus to go home (which would result in another 40 minute wait.) To my own ears, my freshman year sounded like a hassle; however being a commuter actually made me determined in getting more involved on campus.

I have heard that living in the dorms is the best way to socialize. However, since I did not have that experience, I decided to apply myself to multiple organizations. I was shocked to find so many clubs and organizations on campus, constantly recruiting throughout the year. I remember that I signed up for every club that sparked my interest: community service, environmental clubs, sports, designing, etc.(there is bound to be something you are interested in and if not, you can form your own club.) Then reality hit and I noticed that most of the groups collided in their first general meetings. College can offer you so much activities, but you have to be realistic about what you can handle and what you have to give up. Even though I narrowed down my groups to Commuter's Club, Rotaract, Innovative Design, Teo Chew Association, Wushu, and Rally Committee, I still found out that on top of school work, commitment was hard. I could not fully enjoy what these groups offered because of the classes I picked.

College is definitely a learning experience. My advice to students who want to be more involved in campus organizations, is to make sure your classes are well balanced. Websites like and are truly helpful in picking classes. The former organizes possibilities while the latter gives student feedback on professors and the classes. Look for these resources! I had not known about them and decided to take a freshman architecture course before freshmen year; therefore I jumped into the sophomore studio classes when fall and spring came by. Even though I was ahead, I realize now that there are many time consuming classes. Do not be scared to ask the people around you about certain classes; the truth is, they probably want to ask you questions too. Also, I limited myself to only architecture freshmen year, and therefore I could not explore any other field. I recommend to students that even if you think you know what you what to pursue, still explore other fields just in case. This is your time to find out what YOU are passionate about; do not let that opportunity slip away.

Even though I am not fully independent from my home, the ILC gave me that experience. My weeks at Brown and Columbia gave me the chance to figure out how I would take the initiative for my own life. Though I am still figuring it out, I am a step ahead because of the ILC. So even though I am a commuter, I have learned that it is not impossible to get the "college experience." I get to decide the classes I want to take and the organizations I want to join; socializing and education fits in between. To all incoming freshmen, have fun and be confident in the choices you make. Good luck with your first year!

If you have any questions about Cal, commuting, or college, feel free to contact me.

Best wishes,

Jessica Tran

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dennis Shem

I should preface this by saying that my Freshmen year was very much the outlier rather than the norm. What may have worked for me may not be what you want out of college.

College doesn't have to be hard. With careful planning, what seems like a mountain load of classes or endless course work can be manageable. Websites like (for UC Berkeley, Merced, Davis and Santa Barbara) combine schedule planning with course ratings to help students plan classes around their life and not their life around their classes. Ask around and there might be a site like this for your school. Asking older students for advice, I think, is more useful than going to counselors. Of course, both were extremely helpful to me this past year. Academic counselors know what the major requirements are, but it's the students that actually have to take the classes. As a result, older students have actual, current, experience with the courses that are invaluable.

As you can see, this takes a lot of individual initiative. If you want help, you're gonna have to go out and seek it, or figure it out yourself. I spent hours making a spreadsheet that plans out all the courses I have to take or want to take semester by semester, as well as a comparison of major requirements. This is something that not all counselors will do for you. I have attached my spreadsheet as a pdf so you can get an idea of what it looks like. (Not going to lie, I am very proud of this). The initial work of completing it has completely taken all the stress of figuring out what I'm going to take every semester, as well has making sure that my schedule fits how I like to work. I can just focus on the work I have in front of me.

Balance is important, as well as figuring out what works for you. For example, if you talk to a lot of pre-med students here at Berkeley, they'll always complain about how dumb of an idea it was to take Chem 3b (organic chem), and Bio 1a (anatomy and physiology) during the same semester. Why? Because both courses are really hard, but they took them along with other hard classes. The trick is to balance your schedule. If you like reading but hate sciences? Try to offset a hard Chem class with a social science class. An example from my life, I'm planning on taking both Chem and Bio during the same semester, but I'm offsetting the amount of time I'll be spending on that course with an easier, less intensive course.

Secondly, knowing what works for you will help you stay sane. Contrary to many college students, I prefer to work in the mornings. Instead of staying up late cranking out problems or essays, I'll go to sleep and wake up earlier the next day and get back to work. As a result, I don't pull all nighters (which many of you might rather do). It's an issue of priorities. If sleep is a priority, plan around getting a lot of sleep. If going out on weekends is important, try and get your work done ahead of time. There's nothing wrong with having fun, as long as the work has been done. It's the catch-up game that is the most stressful.

I haven't touched on many subjects that you may find useful about college. However, what I have talked about are what I found were the keys to my success my first year at Cal. Knowing what classes to take, you'll stress out less about your future. Planning your time around the harder classes, you'll be able to get more work done. Knowing your priorities and your limits, you'll stress out less about trying to do everything.

I'll leave you with a link that I found that I found helpful, and found that I were doing many of the positive things myself.
I'm always available through email to answer questions.

Take care and good luck!

Dennis Shem []

Courtney Mariano

Hello all,

Since I have just finished my first year of college, I’d like to share my experience and advice with everyone, especially the upcoming freshmen. First, take advantage of all the programs your school provides, like tutoring or academic advisors. No matter what class you’re taking, if there is tutoring offered for it, I would suggest signing up since extra practice or teaching doesn’t hurt and you can drop the session if you really feel it is not a good use of your time. And as a freshman, thinking about majors and future schooling may seem so confusing. So look into setting up a meeting with an academic advisor at the school to talk about your interests and class planning. And if you already know what you want to do in the future, perhaps joining a professional fraternity for law or business will help.

Adjusting to college academically may be tough for some. When choosing classes, I just advise that you do all of your research. Look at class times, and see if you like to take classes in the morning or afternoon and if you don’t mind big gaps in between classes or if you would rather have back to back classes. If there are rate my professor type of websites for your school, you may want to take a look at those just to see what to expect (although you should not believe everything that is written). Also take into account final schedules to avoid back to back finals, unless you feel you can handle them. I met a few people that definitely struggled during their first year. So, although a lot of people will advise this, learn how to balance your social and academic life. There will be times when you would rather go out with friends than study for a midterm, but just be wise in your choices. You will get the hang of it and will know when to hit the books and when to have fun.

In the beginning, you definitely want to explore all your options and try to get involved. I personally wish I got more involved towards the beginning of the school year because once I joined a group, I began meeting a bunch of different students other than freshmen. This is a great way to meet others with the same interests. So try to go to that activities fair that the school should hold during the first week of school and take advantage to talk to members of each group you are interested in. And once you realize what groups you like, get involved to get the most of your experience and make the most of the time you’re spending.

Living with others might seem terrifying, but definitely go into it with a positive attitude. I did this, and luckily it worked out for me and my roommates are some of the closest friends I have. You may not become best friends with your roommates, but just try to make the best of your living situation since you’ll have to stick with it for a year. Also, don’t be shy when addressing any problems you may have. Big or small, I learned that it is easier to resolve issues in the beginning. I advise that you all try to get close to your floormates as soon as possible. These are the people that you will probably see the most, and they may be able to give you advice about classes, majors, or groups to join and they can be there just for random conversations.

Best of luck to all of you, and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about UCLA or college in general!

Courtney Mariano

Justine Betschart

Hello Ivy Leaguers!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and gearing up for another year of high school or your first year of college. For you rising college freshmen, I hope to provide you with some insight into what to expect in the fall.

First off, your living arrangements will likely provide you with your social circle. I highly suggest that every freshmen lives in a hall their first year. Communal bathrooms can be awkward, but the social factor is worth it. I didn't live in a hall style dorm my first year and regret it in that a bulk of my floor had little interest in socializing. So aim for a hall!

Also, if your living situation is substandard, clubs and student organizations are the next best thing. Everyone enters college concerned if they will find people similar to themselves, and clubs provide the gateway to those people. So put yourself out there! You will be very happy that you did.

Freshmen year is a learning experience, and it is really difficult to prepare for. However, keep an open mind as you will meet a wide variety of people. Put yourself out there in order to meet new people. Lastly, soak in every moment because it flies by. However much fun you have, be sure to find that balance between academics and your social life. If one outweighs the other, your freshmen year may not be memorable.

Good Luck!
Justine Betschart
UCLA '14

Jocy Barragan


Well since Rosa Garibo went over some of the information about SCU, I will just talk a little bit more about this past quarter. I took four classes and one lab; Math 12 (Calculus), Physics 31, Mech 10 with Lab (Mechanical Engineering class that Civil Engineers also require), and my C&I (Cultures and Ideas: Ideas in a Changing World) which is a class we are required to take for 2 quarters. I was very excited to finally take an engineering class, but I was definitely not excited about physics which was without a doubt the hardest class this quarter for me. My GPA has not been great because I feel like I am still adjusting to college. Yesterday I was glad to see I had not failed physics. I went from getting upset whenever I did not get an A in high school to feeling relieved with a C-. For an engineer, falling behind just one class could really hurt you. We only get one elective our 4 years, basically our 4 years are planned out for us without having much space to take "fun" classes. What I was afraid of was failing physics and not being able to take 32 and 33 this Spring and Fall quarter, which would mean I would have to take summer classes (which is unfortunately $2,000 per class) or overload. I am currently waiting on the rest of my grades. I will talk a little more about how engineers go about registering for classes. Since I did not receive credit for AP classes, I am one of the last to register. I am a freshman engineer without AP credits nor the best GPA, so these past two quarters I've had my appointment the last day of registration. It's stressful to see the classes with the best professors and hours fill up. Most of the professors here are very nice and are excellent at teaching, but as in every other college, there are exceptions. This is why if the upcoming freshmen have AP credits, they should make sure the colleges receive the scores. As you progress, the engineering classes get smaller and smaller according to the different branches students decide to follow: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, and Bio. If you decide to go as undeclared, it is best if you declare what engineer you want to be as soon as possible to make sure there is space for you in the required classes. Make friends with other engineers! You WILL need help in homework or simply trying to borrow a book. It is going to be tough to get used to the quarter system. We have 3 final weeks, most classes having 2 midterms per quarter without counting projects or essays. Without you know it, you are already halfway through the quarter and have to start preparing for finals.

Even though schoolwork takes the majority of your time, there is always time to hang out with friends, or go to the parties nearby. The campus is pretty small, but that does not mean there is nothing fun going on around. Basketball games get filled with the Ruff Riders cheering for the team, Baseball season just started two weeks ago, and dances go on every quarter.

I am not sure if I had mentioned this in a previous email but the building I live in is a suite-style. It has 4 singles and 1 double with 2 bathrooms. Fortunately, I got paired up with a girl that does not mind me having people around. Not everyone has that luck. SCU is an expensive university, and does not always give out the best financial aid package throughout the 4 years. I plan on doing work-study next year to help out my parents since I did not apply for any scholarships this year. But I have talked to many that had not thought of SCU as their first choice until they saw their financial aid. Overall, I love SCU. It is crazy to look back and see I am just 10 weeks away from finishing my freshman year. Again, if anyone wants to go visit the campus or even stay overnight I will gladly give them a tour and have them stay in my suite. It would be nice to have more people from our district attending SCU next year. Enjoy your last months in high school and be sure that college will be 10 times better!

Jocy Barragan

Carla J. Ramirez

Mr. Ramsey & Ivy League Connection,

Having finished my first year at Denison University, I have come to realize that the 4.0 GPA doe not always translate into college. Realizing that getting straight A’s in college was nearly impossible without a social life was one of the hardest lessons I learned at Denison University.

Having failed all of my first tests in all of my classes the first semester was my breaking point. I cried and cried and cried until I realized that I couldn’t be perfect and ace everything like in HS. I can honestly say that failing those tests was the best thing that could’ve happened to me; those tests really brought me down from the clouds. I truly realized that I WAS in college and if I wanted to succeed in college I had to push my self beyond the point that I thought I could not be pushed. I think that that lesson is one of the hardest lessons we all have to learn, pushing yourself and studying harder than ever before and appreciating your grade even if its not an A, but knowing that you worked hard is the real achievement.

One thing that really proved helpful was taking advantage of professor office hours and tutoring. I encourage everyone to investigate if your school has free tutoring available for students and to make a schedule of all of your professor’s office hours that ways if you need help on the homework or you want to clear something up from the lecture you know exactly when to find them.

Living with people you don’t know is a daunting thought. One huge lesson is that communication is key when living with others, it is important to communicate to your roommates things that they do that you don’t like and to not take things personally when they tell you things that they don’t like about the things you do. Communicating these kinds of issues early is important because things will add up and be worse in the future.

These were some of the biggest lessons that I had to learn, I hope that they are useful to everyone.


Carla J. Ramirez
Health Academy Student Representative
Cell: (510) 734-8076

Gabe Sanchez Speaks

Dear Mr. Ramsey,

My first year at UCLA has been one of tremendous growth and adjustment. Never have I ever been put under such an uncomfortable position with only one available response -to adapt to the environment. The best I share to all incoming first years is to be open to everything - people, organizations, events, etc., everything. Upon entering college, I had a set vision of what I wanted my first year experience to look like. Looking back, most of what I expected was far from reality, but my experiences thus far are beyond extraordinary.

I believe that every aspect, from academics to living with my roommates, has been a challenge that has shaped me into a stronger person. In terms of housing, I recommend all students to have an open mind about their new roommates, since they may have a personality and living habits opposite of what you expected. In regards to living conditions, I was really put to the test. I had a roommate who was completely different from anyone I had ever hung out with in high school - let alone, live with. One of my roommates had a type of personality different from the friends, family, and acquaintances that surrounded me back home. He was very messy, away from the dorm almost every weekend, and sometimes used some of my stuff without permission. Along with that, his interests and hobbies differed far from mine. Although these differences were a problem to our relationship at first, I became comfortable with some circumstances and addressed to him the other concerns. After pushing aside these problems, I got to know my roommate and now consider him as a good friend who has helped me through some of my hard times during my first year. I recommend that everyone have the same mentality when it comes to making friends, no matter how different one is from oneself. One of the greatest things about college is the multitude of diversity it hosts. Take advantage of every single bit of it. I feel like most of the learning I remember and now hold dear to my heart is from the experiences I have had with other people outside of class.

In regards to academics, I strongly urge all students to pursue what they want to do in life, and not what their parents or anyone else wants them to do. If you have no idea what you want to do in the future, use your first year to take classes that interest you. Many of the people I have met in college have no clue what they want to do after college, but pursue a major that interests them in hopes to spark their aspirations. Pursuing something for the sole interest of another person will only make your college experience a lot tougher. I had heard several stories of students coming in as Pre-Med or Pre-Law because of their parents only approve of a major that leads toward a pre-professional degree. Most - if not all - of those friends have switched majors because of bad grades or continue to struggle in such classes. College will be even more of a challenge for you students if you decide to force a choice of major upon yourselves, just like anything forced upon you. Take your time, keep an open mind, and do what you find most interesting in your four years. Aside from that, I encourage everyone to seek all help possible. There's tutoring, academic counseling, and a career center that will help make your four years easier. During my first year, I've sought academic counseling from the school's Academic Advancement Program (AAP), the campus' Pilipino club's retention project, Samahang Pilipino Education And Retention (SPEAR), and the Career Center. The AAP has also provided tutoring services specifically for students that come from high schools like ours.

Now, the biggest adjustment I faced was the distance from home. Going to UCLA, I had never imagined getting homesick, being that I'm only about 400 miles away and I've been to LA so many times throughout my life, but homesickness did hit me - very hard, in fact. There was a point where I felt distant from everyone whom I met in college; I felt that my lifestyle back home was far too different than the rest for me to get along with anyone. But that's the beauty of college; you're put in an uncomfortable position to grow and flourish. In this past year alone, I felt that I have experienced tremendous personal growth, and I thank all the unique people whom I've encountered. I''ve spent a lot of time with groups of people whom I never imagined befriending or even talking to. I've beome highly invested in the projects of the Samahang Pilipino and the campus politics of UCLA. During my winter quarter, I was an intern for Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment, a project that provides academic counseling and tutoring to students who attend disadvantaged high schools in LA with high Pilipino representation.This next year I will serve as a meber of the project's Administrative team, specifically as the Parent Investment Coordinator, whose job is to organize parents into becoming more invested in their children's educational journey towards higher education. In the Spring Quarter, I was a campaign manager for the Student's First slate, an experience that helped me to understand campus politics and fostered desire to take responsibility to protect not only my access to higher education, but the access to those less privileged than I am. Next year, I will work in the school's External Vice President's Office, specifically as a member of the State Affairs Committee, where I will educate myself about pressing issues concerning the UC as well as inform and organize the rest of the campus in order make our voice heard.

Coming into UCLA, I never pictured myself being in these spaces. But with an open mind, I slowly began to see these places as my niche in college. I encourage all first years to do the same, and to jump to whatever opportunities lie before them. Like anything in life, your college experience is what you make of it. And since you're here for four years (and paying a whole lot money), you might as well make the best of it! So to everyone attending college next year, congratulations on your acceptance, and good luck!

Yours truly,

Gabriel Augusto Jomdos Sanchez

Stephanie Chan Speaks


It's almost unbelievable to trace the progess I have made within the past year and every moment of it has been rewarding and memorable. This past week, I attended the first session of UC Davis' orientation for the College of Letters and Science. It was a three day, two night program that highlighted graduation requirements, financial aid, campus safety, and most importantly, choosing classes for Fall quarter. My tentative schedule includes an English, Statistics, Sociology, and Plant Sciences.

Davis offers an atmosphere similar to Brown with their college-town vibe, modern structures, hot weather in the summer, and a challenging but friendly environment. I was both nervous and anxious to meet students, advisors and staff that I will be spending the next four years with together. For most students, it was probably their first time sleeping in a dorm with another 'stranger.' However, that was not the case for me luckily, and I didn't have any difficulties adapting to meeting a new roommate, making agreements, and even community-style bathrooms. It is refreshing to know how college runs and feel comfortable in a completely new situation. My trip to Brown definitely helped me become an independent student and college-ready.

As an undeclared major in the College of Letters and Science, I have the flexibility to explore different areas of study that interests me, however, it can get extremely confusing simply because I don't have a guideline as to what courses I should/need to take. Although I am leaning towards Managerial Economics, I want to stay open-minded to lay my hands on various areas of study. Orientation definitely drilled into my mind how I must take advantage of my resources and seek help from the appropriate individual- dean, advisor, faculty, etc. Once again, life depends on connections and the bigger your network, the bigger your chances to succeed in the future so don't be afraid to start a conversation with your peers and adults!

Until then,
Stephanie Chan

Adriana Ramirez Speaks

Hi fellow ILC-ers,

My name is Adriana Ramirez and I am now attending UCLA for my third year. I graduated from Richmond High School in 2009 as Valedictorian and I am now double majoring is Psychology and Political Science.

One word that describes my life at UCLA: ACTIVE. Active educationally, active socially, actively growing!

The reasons why I love UCLA are that I am constantly learning new information, not just from my professors but different people I interact with on a daily basis.
UCLA is one of the most diverse UC's and even then I feel like UCLA's minorities are lacking on campus but you can always find a small niche to fit in. My first year at UCLA I struggled to find a place to fit in, I had a good GPA but I isolated myself socially from other people, my goal for my second year was to find people similar to me that would help me move forward and that is what I did. I found Hermanas Unidas as a great support system during this past school year. Finding a group like this is key to getting to know a campus and to feel more involved in a community. I highly highly highly emphasize how important and rewarding it is to get involved on campus. I will admit it is time consuming but it is rewarding because not only does it make you feel like you fit in on campus it also lets you network with others find out about hard professors, easy classes, jobs on campus, and on-campus resources.

I have three pieces of advice for when applying to college:

1. DO YOUR BEST in high school! getting good grades in high school, and being in AP classes gives you a bigger advantage over other students when applying to colleges, you get more colleges to choose from, thus working hard at the end pays off.

2. BE INVOLVED-well rounded. Be involved in something. Doesn't have to be anything serious, but be involved. Even if it is joining the art club or dancing, join something you enjoy doing because it shows that not only you are studious but you can also do other things, you have something else to contribute to the university other than grades.

3. READ. READ READ READ. I can tell you that in my first quarter of UCLA I read more than what I had ever read in my whole high school career (it may sound like an exaggeration but its true). READING is extremely important to keep up in your college courses.

When deciding on what college you want to attend do not be afraid by the price tag (unless you really can't afford it/ community college is NEVER bad, it's a good alternative for students who can't afford to spend so much money). DON'T be afraid of loans. DO NOT be afraid to go to a university where you don't know anyone, or that's far away from home. Reality is that you will get home sick, but experiencing college away from home really pushes you to learn to be independent. No one is there to baby you so you're in charge of yourself, your parents are not always going to be there so college is the perfect time to try to be a bit more independent.
Pieces of advice for when in college:

1. TIME MANAGEMENT!- manage your time efficiently. I have a job (15 hrs a week), three classes, tutoring, study hours, meetings, and social gatherings I attend on a weekly basis... and it's all done through good time management skills. The key to this is being organized and keeping track of what is the most important thing to accomplish for that day or week.

2. don't STRESS too much about your college GPA. Do your best in your classes, take advantage of resources like tutoring and study groups, do your readings and assignments, as well as attend lectures and you should be fine. College and high school are not the same, everyone needs time to adjust, for some college will be easy and for some it will be harder but like Mr. Ramsey says "once you graduate from college all your diploma is going to say is 'UCLA' it won't say your GPA, when you get a job, no one asks you what your GPA was" and this is true!!!

3. Have FUN. College is not all seriousness 24/7, it is also the period where you can have fun, but all at its moderation. Manage your time wisely and have fun, de-stress. Explore your college town, go out for dinner or movies, do something you enjoy so that you don't accumulate stress.

I know that all my explanations are very general, but these are some general "advices" that I had to learn on my own in the past two school years.

GOOD LUCK with all your future endeavors.

P.S. If you want to know more specifics about UCLA you can contact me.

Yours truly,
BRUIN: Adriana Ramirez