Week 20: A New Test
Week 10 Celebration: There is nothing like being able to commemorate the end than with a celebration. This first one of the many celebrations is with my RA and RGC team, where we had all forms of sugar, pajamas, and gifts. Out of this night, we got a great photo to use for our Holiday cards that we gave to the ARDs, Res, ACs, and leadership. Yay!
Skirball Fire and Emergency Protocol: As probably heard on the news, a fire happened very near the UCLA campus on Wednesday, December 6th. This was the first time I’ve experienced being in a situation where it was very difficult for me to figure what’s the first step into doing because it’s a natural disaster. We have no control over how far the fire goes or what it affects. Of course, the situation doesn’t just go smoothly. ResLife staff worked their hardest to get the right information sent out to residents, despite fake emails being sent out and wrong information being circulated. I stayed on the communication line of constantly checking emails, texts, Bruin Alerts, and wherever else I could gather information from to send out to the RAs and RGCs, plus keeping the building Facebook page up-to-date. There was a lot going on with a lot of people in such a short amount of time. Word travels fast. At the end of the day, I got to experience being Professional Staff during an emergency situation and if there’s one thing I know — it’s that I’m never going to be ready for the way I want to be, but at least experience builds up.
De-Stress Program: The day before this program was a stressful day and a lot of my team was on board with not going through with the program because there was SO MUCH going on already, but I encouraged my team to push through with the event as it was already in the work and I wanted to believe that it would be a good opportunity for people to relax from their ongoing stressors. Thankfully, I was right enough to hold onto the program and let it happen, because we provided an outlet for the residents to have a place to just relax.
SunSprout EOQ Shin-dig: What better way to end the week that with a little celebration for the end of the quarter with ProStaff from your court? My RD let me meal prep and cook in her apartment, I got to hang out with the people from my court outside of Court Meeting, got to see how nice my boss’s boss’ apartment is, and (TBH, my favorite part) hung out with Dallas — my boss’s boss’ dog. This dog is honestly the light
Food for Finals: If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it again now. UCLA ResLife is a highly resourced department in so many ways. In this case, one of the signature quarterly events serves as proof of this resource. We were able to feed 300 residents with food from Dining (like bagels, fruits, vegetables) and snacks. I don’t think it’s often that people remember that some of these students may actually be struggling with food insecurity and are just too embarrassed to admit it, but this provides an open outlet for them to just be able to come and get food — no questions asked.
Week 21: The Week of Celebrations
Coco: I didn’t cry, but this movie was pulling all sorts of heartstrings. It’s easy to stereotype or culturally appropriate, but this movie just takes all the stereotypes of Dia de los Muertos to be understood by those who don’t entirely understand into another level. It’s a fantastic family movie that will get you singing, laughing, dancing, crying all in one. Watch it, please.
Holiday pARDy + after pARDy: There’s nothing like old fashioned spending time with your co-workers in a place that you volunteered but wasn’t yours. LOL (I had permission, I promise). Cooking and prepping a couple hours before start time was a challenge, but I got to spend time with my ARD team in one setting outside of a meeting and that was really nice. Of course, festivities included a gift exchange. We did this cute thing where whoever is the “Secret Snowflake” gives a clue of who they are giving their gift to and the people get to guess who it is. Naturally, my Secret Snowflake’s clue for me was… Pink! lol. I guess I’ve built a reputation of loving pink, on another level — if that’s the single most obvious clue for me.
ResLife Fall Appreciation: When they told me that the department takes this event seriously, I didn’t realize how seriously they took it. However, it was nice to be in one common space celebrating yet another successful quarter despite all the happenings. Also, we got pretty gifts and a really awesome book!
Crucial Conversations: I spent 16 hours in one room with a bunch of other people learning how to hold crucial conversations, and it was really great. I appreciated learning the different ways to approach a tough conversation that may need to happen and how it can be applied both in work situations or personal situations. I was really fascinated by it all. Also, I got a new certificate. Ayyyy.
Weekend: Universal Studios with Robert… because why not. Violet and I went shopping, I got nice stuff. By nice stuff, I mean a new straightener and straightening brush from #BeyondTheBeauty. Hehe.
Week 22: The Week There Were No Residents
There are no residents, The Hill is quiet, it’s creepy. I’m telling y’all… it was not this quiet even in the summer. I mean summer was pretty quiet, but there were people in the building for conferences and such, so it wasn’t as quiet as it is now. I’m appreciating it while it lasts though. No lines waiting for food.
Downsizing Movie Premiere: This was my first movie premiere, and it was so cool! I saw Kristen Wiig and Niecy Nash!! I didn’t get to be up close to them, but it was super cool to be able to have exclusive tickets. One of the many reasons I appreciate my Council President being a board member of Bruin Film Society. We get to partake in cool stuff like this. Oh, and because the residents were gone during the time of this movie premiere, most of ResLife was at the premiere and it basically became a ResLife bonding event.
Cooking Filipino Spaghetti: So when I agreed to cook Filipino spaghetti for one of my coworkers, I definitely didn’t think about how much time it would take. So essentially, I was cooking for about 2 hours. I think one hour alone was just chopping garlic and onions. But it was worth it because they liked it!
The Greatest Showman: Let me tell y’all, I did not expect this story to be as beautiful as it was. I was very intrigued by it because of the aesthetics in the trailer. Then Zendaya and Zac Efron (who I follow on like every social media) announced “Rewrite the Stars” was out, so I listened to it and I fell in love with the song. I’m one for the sappy, simpy, cheesy love songs. This song is one of those. So that intrigued me even more. What really got me hooked to actually watching it was that I looked up the plot of the story and what it was about, to learn that it was based on the story of P.T. Barnum of Barney & Bailey Circus. The story of rising from nothing, being at the peak of success, falling, then rising from ashes is nothing short of a truly inspiring story about the value of family, friendship, priorities, and so much more. Not to mention, portraying the roles of what it means to be different, to be unique and a man bringing people together of all sorts of shapes and sizes to display them as equal. It was truly amazing. Don’t even get started on the aesthetics or the epic soundtrack.
Disclaimer: I do not support the harming of people or animals that circuses do.
Fo’real EOQ: Half day from work, because it’s the end of the quarter, Christmas is in 3 days, and the quarter is officially over.
I may or may not have ended up at Universal Studios (again) this weekend. It’s okay, I’m a pass holder. Hehe.
These past 5 months I’ve been at UCLA has been nothing short of amazing. I guess that’s the shortest way I could describe this year. However, to say that it has not been challenging would be inaccurate. This quarter has been full of challenges, but with these challenges comes a lot of learning experiences. After 5 months of being here, I definitely still get caught up and lost in thought sometimes of how I get to wake up every day and go to bed everyday being where I’m at. Surreal.
The beginning of this experience was exciting because it was new, but the cost of it was the feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s not hard to be overwhelmed by a new environment, especially when it’s significantly different from where you were previously. UCLA may be smaller than UCI in acre, but the number of people is much bigger. Then there’s this whole experience of Housing being a bifurcated system and having 13,000+ live in one giant housing community. As mesmerizing as it may be, it’s HUGE. One building on The Hill fits almost all the residents of Middle Earth. Nothing like that to remind you how big the place really is. That’s just the size and new location. I thought that with my experience being in Housing/ResLife for all of Undergrad, it would be easy to learn and become familiar with everything around me. Life check! Of course it wasn’t easy. I learned, repeatedly, that you just never learn everything. You get used to it, but you never really know anything and everything because things are always changing.
On the flip side of being overwhelmed by the challenges and learning experiences, I’m thankful for so much more than I can count. At the top of the list is the support and guidance I receive from my Resident Director (RD). She’s nothing short of being the most patient person I work with. More than my supervisor, she makes an amazing mentor and helping me every step of the way while also allowing me to rock the things I have to do on my own. People that make it very close to her on the list are people from my Sunset Village fam. They have been so amazing in every possible way and have set such a hi bar for what amazing co-workers are like. When I think back to what it was like when we all first met each other to where we are now, it’s quite amusing how far we’ve come. When you have people as awesome as they are helping you through all the feelings you experience, it makes everything so much better. Through every conversation, every sarcastic comment or shade said, every hug, and every chocolate shared… I’m past of the best I could’ve dreamed of. Then there’s my team of RAs and RGCs. These RAs constantly remind me of my RA days and how much I miss it. My RGCs make me miss my children (my residents) so much because of how close in age they are.
As of where I stand… I’ve gotten to the point of understanding that I may never know everything, and that’s okay. In everywhere I go, I know that it comes along with challenges and lots of learning. The best part about being part of ResLife is that you learn so much because nothing is static. There’s always a change, no matter how big or small. These changes allow you to grow and see.
Hope you stay tuned for next quarter’s adventures this Winter 2017.
Until next time,
ARD Jamrensze “J-Mi” De Leon