FIRST THING: Photo Credits to Idriss Njike for this beautiful aerial shot of my Hitch community.
It’s so easy to fall behind when life catches up with you. The great thing about the week between Christmas and New Year’s is that it’s the week of confusion. How much sleep should we get? Is this the week we are actually excused from doing work? Perhaps the suggestion on social media called, “The Christmas Purge,” where everything is excused? Because if that’s so, I’m excused for not allowing people to catch up on my life for nearly 3 months.
Week 60 & 61: Begin Again
With training over, it was time to kick off the busiest time of the year – for literally everyone. Building preparation followed by move-in weekend and Welcome Week happened so quickly that I don’t remember most of it.
There are many things I am not supposed to do (such as stay late in the office) and should do (like go home on time), but the day before residents were supposed to move in, half of the door signs that were up needed to be changed – so here we were with Domino’s and I’m helping them with door decs and bulletin boards. By 2am, we were all done and Hitch was ready to go. We dove into move-in weekend and it was busier than last year, particularly because we had more people moving into The Hill. Then, of course, Welcome Week is always a crazy show throughout the week – and we just roll with it. All the craziness of it. You know what? At the end of it, I’m still down for all the craziness that comes with it.
Week 62 & 63: Welcome, Welcome, and Welcome
Hedrick Court Welcome: What do you get when you have some 2500 students and a large budget? You get a welcome event shared between three buildings. Honestly, my baby building compared to the two bigger buildings felt like we contributed well. I mean, Hedrick Summit is nearly 2x as big as Hitch and Hedrick Hall is nearly 3x as big, so it’s easy for us to feel intimidated. We are the smallest community between the three buildings with our 425 people. Just because we’re only 425, it doesn’t mean our presence gets lost. Especially when we have that beautiful kitchen and two chefs from the number one dining hall in the nation cooking for our residents on the spot. Try and top that.
Hitch Welcome: A week later, we’re putting on our own welcome event. I mean, if you have the money to spend, why not spend it? That was a thing, we still had some budget left over and we just wanted an event that that was specifically for our building. So we put together a welcome event and there was lots of food involved, and we had just about a fourth of our community at our Welcome Program. I guess what I appreciated most about it being our first event is that I felt almost stress-free because of how well my staff was able to carry it out on their own. Needless to say, this was the very first thing that showed me how good this year could be.
OCHC + PA Welcome and Training: All through the first two-ish weeks of October, myself and another ARD were collaborating in putting together a training session for a new position in individual staff team. The position title wasn’t necessarily new, but the entirety of the job was and we were kind a left it with figuring out how to train people for a position that we had never trained before. Don’t even get me started on the whole hiring in interview process, I think I almost lost half my brain trying to figure it out for my team. The end of the day, I still ended up having all the people I needed to hire and I am grateful for who they are because they are darn good at their roles.
Week 64 & 65: Vacation and an Event
Forced Vacation: Following the week of, well everything, I basically got put on for his vacation for a day (Basically I was forced to take the day off) because I apparently work too much. It felt weird. Then! The following week I ended up getting sick and having to take two sick days anyway, so then I was back to being bitter about my forced day off. Mind you, I really only took the day off because my boss said I shouldn’t go infecting other people in our office. That was the convincing statement. Without it, I definitely been working. Summary: I’m not a big fan of taking days off.
Fall Festival: For my Programming Assistants’ first program of the quarter, they put together a Fall Festival event. The event’s ideas came straight out of suggestions from our residents who are Community Representative. It was kind of cool watching the event happen – actually even the whole planning process – because the event was something that was put together by the PA’s, but they were also stemming from residents’ ideas. Because of this, I think it’s what brought out the numbers because it is our biggest event to date – with over 100 people in attendance despite even though it was during midterm season.
Week 66: Jordan Year
23rd Birthday: I just want you all to know that I turn 23 and the photo I used on my Instagram for my birthday photo was taken at Target. I mean, how else would I be spending my 23rd birthday?
Visit to Claremont: During the weekend of my birthday, Claremont Graduate University had an open house for students who are interested in applying and it was a school on my list, so I went. I’ve learned not to have such high expectations of the places that I am applying to because I didn’t want a repeat of undergrad. I don’t want to have such high expectations only for me to feel disappointed when I got there in my visit. I was set on where I wanted to go for Undergrad, but then I kind of have to re-figure out what to do. I think I was lucky because when I ended up visiting UCI four days before I had to sign the SIR, I ended up falling in love with Irvine which proceeded to become the best four years of my life. So in this visit, I really wanted to keep an open mind and just let the school do it’s talking. Which I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed the visit. Then I went home and I got so much inspiration and motivation running through my bloodstream to really dive into working on my grad school applications. Specially because I was applying to seven of them, I really need it to get working on them. I felt my excitement fully come back after that visit and I just wanted to be a scholar again after being there. So whether or not it’s the school I end up in, I am still glad that I get the chance to do all the things in academia for another two years.
Week 67, 68, 69 & 70: The Busiest Damn Four Weeks
Hitch Votes: I had never seen elections get so much crazy. And even more, I was really excited to see how many of the residence – who are all around like 17/18/19 – be so invested in Midterm Elections. I think we often get caught in the “my vote doesn’t really matter” mindset and it’s unfortunate because we really should be using our voices more. My Resident Government Council execs had put together an event to help educate our residents. I think the younger generation gets ignored thinking that we don’t really care or we don’t really pay attention, but I think all of us oh really diving into understanding the political climate more. It’s kind of amazing to watch unfold.
Korean Dessert Night: The cool thing about working for UCLA ResLife is that we have Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) in our individual communities and this year, Hitch’s FIR is someone who’s been around for nine years. Because of that, he’s got a whole list of programmatic ideas that are our RAs, RGCs, and PAs can collaborate with him on. So our very first FIR program for fall quarter was Korean Dessert Night. Our FIR brought along with his wife and daughter to help host this event in our community, where they brought out different kinds of Korean desserts and snacks. They even had books or decorations that are traditional to the Korean culture. Bonus: Our FIR’s wife you brought her traditional Korean wear and let some of the residents tried on, including myself.
PACURH: Student Affairs is a field full of acronyms so let me tell you that PACURH stands for Pacific Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls. And honestly, I actually had to look up the acronym as I was typing because I couldn’t even remember. Regardless, they host a conference in one of the schools in the western region and UCLA won the bid to host for this year. I never got to attend these conferences when I was an undergrad, mostly because of timing or there was some sort of busyness, but I wanted to jump on the ship where I could help by being an advisor for one of the chairs. Overall, I think my experience would’ve been a lot different had I had the opportunity to go as a student and then go into being an advisor. However, I still enjoyed that I got to be a part of this momentous, if you will, experience. I like the feeling of being a part of something big and leaving prints.
Thanksgiving Break: For the first time in 23 years of life (and however many years I had been celebrating Thanksgiving with the family), I didn’t go home for Thanksgiving this year. My mom wasn’t home because she was working for Thanksgiving and I didn’t really feel the need to come home. So instead, I spent the whole weekend being busy with my friends. Kevin cooked Thanksgiving lunch, which I went shopping with him for the day before. Friday, I had lunch with Robert and we also ended up at Universal, as per usual. Robert and I met up with Violet and Kevin that night for dinner at KBBQ, and most definitely ate way too much. Saturday, Violet and I spent a significant amount of time waiting for a third person to go to dinner and it was like we were back to her old ways from the year before because we were doing work. Of course, I spent the rest of my free time preparing all the things related to my staff end-of-quarter celebration. I know, I’m a crazy workaholic.
Week 71, 72 & 73: Celebrate, Celebrating, Celebrations
Team EOY Celebration: It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t set something up so that everything was, well, extra. So naturally when it comes to my team that I absolutely adore, I made sure that they were going to enjoy the last thing that we had together as a team for the quarter. Did their need to be a giant paper snowflakes in the color of the four harry potter houses? No. Did I need to maximize all the decorating that I did? Probably not. But my team deserves the absolute best that I could give them.
Department Celebration: So here’s the thing, sometimes I don’t think I can get any more extra, then something happens and I end up involved in something SO extra! We took the department celebration to another level where we basically did a pseudo-murder mystery kind of event but instead of murder mystery, it was appreciation. Really, you just had to be there to understand entirely. What you need to know about this night was that I basically launched my acting career because, well, I’m an actress now – but only for like a day, lol.
Hedrick Court Celebration: Nothing is better than being excused from doing work to go play bowling, even if you suck. And I suck at playing bowling. At least I had a fun time being a goofball while I play bowling.
Holiday pARDy: I think two holiday parties in one day is a lot but it happened anyway, good thing I really like my ARD cohort. We did the usual potluck and gift exchange, so it was really nice to just be in a space with my fellow ARDs as the quarter was winding down.
Admin Week: The last week before we were sent off for vacation was all admin week, in which all we do is admin work. So I wrote our winter retreat proposal, wrote evals for my RAs, and wrote a guidebook for the Hitchen. I was pretty darn productive.
Week 74 & 75: Christmas! Then the Week We Don’t Know Who We Are.
Christmas – my favorite time of the year. I’ve always really enjoyed Christmas and the week leading up to New Year. It’s a week that the younger generation describes with not knowing who you are, the days of the week, and everything in between. However, it’s a time where I’m able actually divert myself away from work and actually sit down to reflect.
This quarter has been so much more challenging in my personal life than it has been in a while. I consider being out of college for a year and a quarter “a while” because college was another lifetime, honestly. It was so much to handle and so much to deal with that I felt like I started a new life when I started working as an ARD. The quarter was only challenging because of applying to grad school. It’s such tedious process and my imposter syndrome was present like there was no tomorrow. It was challenging, but I got through the applications process by Christmas Eve. I’ve also got $540 less after submitting all those applications and GRE scores. Aside from school, it’s been such a fantastic quarter because I have the absolutely most wonderful student staff members I could ask for. I could cry tears of joy.
Sometimes, I don’t know how I’m even surviving this quarter. Regardless, I’m thankful I’m making it through.
Until next time,
ARD Jamrensze “J-Mi” De Leon