Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gabriel Augusto Jomdos Sanchez

My name is Gabriel Sanchez, a rising third year at UCLA. In 2009, I joined the ILC and attended Columbia University.
Overall, my second year was a time of immense change and growth - a feeling I know I will continue to experience until I graduate from this institution. The best piece of advice I can share with all of you is to always push yourself out of your comfort zone, and to constantly challenge yourself in every way possible. I've used this quote so many times in these emails I write to the ILC, but I can't help to share this again; a great friend of mine at UCLA once told me, "You grow the most when you are in uncomfortable positions." If you're afraid to join an organization or club, join it. If you're afraid of taking a class because it's too hard, take it. If you're afraid to make new friends, talk to as many people as you can. Constantly challenge yourself - because when you are comfortable, you are complacent.
As I mentioned in the email I wrote in the Winter, this past year, I served as Parent Investment Coordinator and an Academic Peer Advisor for a Pilipin@ college access project, Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE). As both an administrator and staff member of the project, I literally had an obligation to do every single day, including going to Belmont High School every Thursday to work with the students. As a result, I learned how to manage my time more efficiently. Using a planner and writing all my responsibilities became a weekly routine for me. Part of becoming a strong leader is learning how to balance multiple responsibilities, and from my experience in SPACE, I feel that I have refined this essential skill.
Also, I encourage each and every single one of you to constantly reflect on what you want out of your college experience, and to reflect on what you want to do in the future. Never let anybody else make those decisions for you. Just recently, I changed my major from Political Science to Asian American Studies. In Winter Quarter, I began to reflect on what I wanted out of my college experience and my future aspirations, and felt that Political Science was no longer helping me to achieve my goals. As I've stated earlier, I now hold aspirations to become a professor in Asian American Studies and engage in the process of research to improve the Pilipin@ community; the classes offered in the Political Science department, however, were insensitive to the experiences of Pilipin@s, and Asian Americans, in this country. Therefore, I chose to switch to Asian American Studies in order to immerse myself in a relevant education that not only helps me to better understand myself, but to direct me toward my dreams.
In the Fall, I plan on applying for independent research cohorts such as the McNair Fellows and Mellon Mays - research programs that aim to increase representation of students of color into PhD programs. In preparation, I have networked with a number of Pilipin@ professors and graduate students in the LA area to mentor me in the process, as well as working to join research projects. In addition, I was also elected to serve as Access Coordinator for Samahang Pilipino, the official voice of the Pilipin@ community on the UCLA campus. My vision in this role is to help others better understand the issues Pilipin@ students encounter in entering institutions of higher education. As Access Coordinator, part of my role is to supervise the project SPACE and represent the Pilipin@ community the Student Initiated Access Committee (SIAC) - the official committee that represents all access issues for all 26,000 and more undergraduate students on campus. For the summer, I am a current intern for the Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas of the Los Angeles County's Second District. As an intern under the Education Deputy, I assist in the work he does, staffing special education events and undertaking specific research projects.
I hope this email has provided a brief glimpse of my college experience and the advice my mentors, predecessors and role models have shared with me. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me. Good luck on all your college endeavors!
Yours truly,

Lucina Parada

Dear Mr. Ramsey and fellow ILC Members,
My name is Lucina Parada and I am currently a senior at UC Berkeley. Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to experience three wonderful and rigorous weeks at Cornell University for the Freedom and Justice Program. Fast forward to the present and I find myself facing the start of my senior year of college in three weeks.

Adriana Ramirez

To the ILC students who may not know me,
My name is Adriana Ramirez, and I participated in the Ivy League Connection my Junior-Senior year, I attended the Brown program summer of 2008. I am now going to be a senior at UCLA and I have a full schedule for my senior year. The Ivy League Connection has opened many opportunities within my college career,not only did it prepare me by experiencing the college life at Brown but it also allowed me to come out of my shell. The experience at Brown was one of the things that encouraged me to do travel study in Puerto Rico this past month of July.

My career at UCLA so far has been very successful next year I will have an internship with JusticeCorps a branch of AmeriCorps, I am working at Payment Solutions & Compliance (Cashier's office) where I am a cashier, and I process scholarships and EFM checks, I will be finishing my psychology degree by the end of next quarter and doubling with Political Science. I'm really excited to start the new year although it will be very busy with a job, internship and 3 classes. Regardless of how full my plate may be I know that it will be worth it, UCLA is preparing me for the "grown up" life and I'm ready for it.

For incoming freshman, everything in college may seem overwhelming, but take a second to breath, and you'll realize that nothing is impossible. Take advantages of the many opportunities your school has to offer, mentorships, fellowships, scholarships, internships and work study because sometimes these are the things that prepare you for the work force and make you look good to those looking to hire you once you graduate. Grades aren't everything, what matters the most is how well rounded you are, so if your grades aren't the same as when in high school, make sure to make it up with other things that define you.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Justine Betschart

Hello ILC!

My name is Justine Betschart, and I am a rising junior at UCLA. I have written a few emails regarding my experience at UCLA, so I hope I don't sound too repetitive! During my first 2 years, I lived on-campus in residential dorms. This experience was invaluable. In the dorms, I met some of my best friends and gained a lot of independence. If I can recommend anything to young ILC students, it is to experience dorming!

As for student life, UCLA's campus is filled with thousands of determined, sociable people. It's a wonderful balance that I feel I have also achieved by prioritizing my academics and social life. Of course you are at school to obtain a valuable degree and obtain important networking skills, but without essential social skills, you can't get too far post-graduation. So make sure you strike a healthy balance between your academics and social life.

Lastly, academics. During my first year, I changed my major from Environmental Science to Chemical Engineering. My workload is at times unbearable, but I knew what I was getting into when I submitted my change of major paperwork. My classes have exposed me to real-life engineering problems that I may experience in the workfield. I am 100% sure that I will be fully prepared for industry jobs in two years, thanks to the thorough, applicable teaching style of UCLA Engineering.

I hope my testimony has given you all a little insight into the life of a Bruin. I have absolutely no regrets with my decision to attend UCLA. The past two years have been the best years of my life, and I completely expect my last 2 years to be even greater. If anyone has questions regarding UCLA, engineering or anything at all, feel free to email me at

Best regards from a Brownie, Guadalupe Morales

Dear ILC members,

Now nearing the end of a great and relaxing summer, I can still say that my memories and experiences of my first year in college are still as vivid as if they happened yesterday. They've filed away as chapter one of my college experience, and the best part is: I still have three more to go.

From the day I arrived on campus to the day I left, Brown has been great to me. There are moments every now and then that I stop and stand in awe of how grateful I am to be going to Brown University. No, it's not so much the prestige or the ranking that I love Brown so dearly for; it has never really been like that. It is that Brown really does encourage its students to learn and grow. I've always been that person to try many different things growing up: swimming, badminton, volunteering, knitting, taekwondo, filming, cooking, etc. Brown is the place to continue that curiosity. And that is what makes Brown the way it is.

I could go on and on about how great it is (because it is, there's no doubt about it) but for the incoming college students (and the ones to be) it is inevitable for college students to hit low points in the year. That is what I want to share with you.

One of my mistakes last year was not managing my time correctly. That is probably going to be the biggest red flag of most college students' mistakes. Time management is anything and everything about college. Let me repeat: Manage. Your. Time. Drill that into your head, folks. Everyone will probably warn you about it (like I am now), but most of us make that mistake anyway, and that's okay. I was involved with both taekwondo and a dance troupe (both of which require a bit more time than a regular club) among other things (including a job) and it became difficult for me to try and make all of that fit into 24 hours of the day when you also have to study for classes. I was ready to quit certain things. Fortunately, I stuck it through. I made a mental list this summer of what I needed to do last year that I will do for this upcoming semester. So from experience, these are some of my tips for time management.

#1: Do not join 147,182,341 clubs your first year. Especially being so new at attending school differently than high school, I regret not taking it slowly so it does not become overwhelming.

Plan out your day (or even the whole week) in your head. Know what you have to get done now, later and what you can possibly get ahead in. It's easier to get things done when you make everything a task. Agendas come handy for this! Or, if you're like me, you can use your calendar on Gmail to organize your day. It's kind of fun, too.

#3: Ask or observe your peers on their study habits. One of my fellow peers had almost all A's for his first year. It was very impressive. It was intimidating, yes, but realizing what his study habits were (and having two parents in education as well) made sense to me. He would wake up early on the weekends to study for most of the day, which brings me to...
#4: Study on the weekends. Yes, it hurts me too. I love to spend my weekends relaxing from lectures but it should definitely become a habit. It becomes a lot easier to do work during the week (and attend your club meetings and dance practices too!) so it's not as stressful. Don't leave off what you can do Saturday or even Friday afternoon until Sunday night. That's the biggest high school habit to break and it definitely took me a while to get into that habit (I still need to as well). Great suggestion for this is to tell yourself to spend a set numbers of hours to study and then get to do something fun.

#5: Get ahead in your work when you can. Normally, for a humanities course, in example, you'll have reading to do before a class. But instead of reading only 50 pages, do the reading for next week's class too (this can be where weekend studying comes in handy). Maybe do readings for two more classes as well. This is really, really useful because sometimes you urgently have to do something else, whatever it may be, and studying ahead of time can save you (it saved me on several occasions). My suggestion: do this a week before spring break. It'll make your week more enjoyable knowing that you did your work for your classes already.

And finally...

#6: Prioritize your classes, above all else. Maybe it'll be hard for some of you to do this, but remember that you're in college to learn. When there are conflicting events, remember that your studying must be the most important, because it's what you're there for. Everything else matters too, but this is of the utmost concern.

I hope this helped for those of you anxiously awaiting the time to pack your bags and leave for college. There are many things that happened my first year that I wish I could go back and erase and try again. I'm sure you will too. However, when you really think about it, how else would you learn? It's not about how well you did in comparison to your peers. There's definitely a lot to learn about each other, but at the end of the day, it's about how well YOU did. Do the best that you can. Challenge yourself. Become a better person.

I learned from my mistakes, and all of my advice comes from my own experience. I'm learning. I'm forming my own identity and who I am and where I come from. I think that's the most beautiful part of the college experience. I stray far from being a perfect college student, but I pride myself most on trying hard and doing the best that I can and not letting a bad grade or a mistake get to me. I hope that you all do the same (my fingers are crossed!)

I wish you all the best and I'm here for anything. I'm sorry if some of you have been messaging me and I haven't replied back yet (I will!).