RESIDENCE LIFE

Dear UCLA, Specifically… Residential Life

Moving out of my UCLA home marked the end of the UCLA journey, and that still feels weird to say.

My career in Residential Life as a professional began because UCLA Residential Life gave me a chance. I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a part of Residential Life until my 3rd year of undergrad. I spent almost two years of undergrad plainly confused because I changed my original plans. What I didn’t know what I was creating a new dream and timeline for myself doing something that I love to do.

I want to thank you all for welcoming me with open arms and showing me so much care, support, and love over my last two years at UCLA. Being one of the few ARDs who isn’t a UCLA Alum (Zot, Zot, Zot), I’m so grateful for everyone who believed I could succeed here, for those who helped with my transition to the hustle and bustle of The Hill, and for always showing me what it’s like to have a family in the place you work.

Having a job in ResLife right after graduating from Undergrad was the dream for me, and UCLA made it happen. I will treasure the opportunities and experiences I had while I was here, serving as an ARD for Courtside and Hitch Suites. Thank you to everyone who supported my throughout my grad school process this year, for all the stories both personal and professional trajectories, and everything in between. I have learned so much from everyone – both the veterans to the department all the way to the new.

pARDy Animals Cohort 2017-2018

Thank you for being my first set of friends at UCLA. 

When I started at UCLA, I was worried about being able to find people to fit in with. It always came so easy for me when I was at UCI, but I was nervous about being at UCLA and how I would develop relationships because everyone says it’s harder to make friendships after you’re out of college. I’m so happy that you all were the people I became friends with and showing me that coworkers can be friends too.

pARDy Animals Cohort 2018-2019

Thank you for being the “litty-est” group of hard workers I’ve known.

Even though our turn-ups didn’t go on for very long, especially after a bunch of us dove into grad school processes, I’m so happy that I got the chance to be a mentor and a leader that some of you looked up to. While my working over my hours isn’t the best example I set, I’m thankful that you all saw the better parts of me as an ARD. Thank you for showing me that I’m much more capable than I see myself.

Courtside 2017-2018

Courtside was my first chance to serve in this role; to be a mentor and to give back in the ways that I was given mentorship in my career when I was in the same roles.

I struggled throughout the first year. Coming from a completely different environment and ResLife system meant that I had to learn a lot of things throughout the way, but you were all patient with me. You probably taught and helped me more than I did. I’m so grateful.

The truest were the Resident Government Council team. Being your primary advisor meant I got so much more time I spent with you all learning about what it meant to be an advisor and supervisor. You all made me believe that I was exactly where I was meant to be.

This was the team that showed me that I was more than capable of pursuing my dream career even when I doubted myself. I’m proud of a team that loved doing so much for the residents of Courtside. We had a challenging year, but we did it so flawlessly.

Thank you for being my first team and I will always be thankful for you all.

Hitch 2018-2019

I consistently talk about how Brian McDonald should use our team as the model community on The Hill because we are seriously the dream team. Now there’s proof that we ARE the best because we were named “Community of the Year” by NRHH.

I’m so proud of our team because despite circumstances outside of our control we faced (like construction), we managed to remain a strong team throughout the year. At ARD meetings, my 1:1s with my Area Coordinator, even sometimes ResLife meetings – people are getting tired of Jermaine and I (mostly me) talking about how awesome my team is or how amazing Hitch is doing this year. 

I’m even more proud to be a part of a team that is 100% committed to your roles and in serving our residents instead of being here just for the perks. This team has been a constant reminder for me of why I chose to be in this field in the first place. I’m so thankful to have a team that genuinely cares for, appreciates, and loves one another.

The happiness I feel can’t be put into words, but it warms my heart SO much that I get to close out my UCLA chapter with a team that I thought I could only dream of having. I love each and every one of you so, so, so much. I can’t wait to see what all of you do with you bright future.

Shalaurey, Thank You

You were the best guidance and mentor I could have ever asked for to begin my professional journey, especially in a place with so much whirlwind.

I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me – both in my ARD role but also in my personal life (especially the grad school process).

I won’t go long because everything you needed to hear was already in your personal card. But I want this world to know how much I loved being your ARD and just working with you.

Jermaine, Thank You

You were everything I needed as a supervisor in my second year. You mentored me and showed me how your kind of leadership can be so valuable.

I learned so much from you in the short year that we had together. You allowed me to see the value of the people we supervised before thinking about them as our supervisees.

Thank you for keeping me sane this year; just letting me rant for hours at a time and just giving me that space has allowed me to get through this year so smoothly. I’m grateful I had the chance to work with you.

The People Who Kept Me Sane, Thank you

Violet. Kevin (and Chad, aka dads). Jazzmin. Asya. Viv.

I don’t know how I would’ve survived anything without you all. I could talk about all the things you all have done for me, but then I really could’ve just written an entire blog just for each one of you all.

I’m So, I’m So Grateful For You

I could never thank you enough for giving me some of the most rewarding two years of my life. What I takeaway from this experience could never add up to what I could ever give to this department, the people of it, and the residents we serve. I’m going to be forever grateful that you made my dream to have a job in the field I love so early into my career and just right out of Undergrad; I’ve loved so many moments of just being here.

Thank you for believing that someone who didn’t graduate from this institution would be strong enough to handle sudden changes, fast-paced working environments, and the every challenge presented to me. Thank you for bringing me two amazing supervisors, two outstanding staff teams, and quite a number of lifelong friends. Thank you for allowing me to build connections with people that brought me to where I’m at today and for those people to help get to grad school.

Thank you because my experience here taught me to love and appreciate by abilities, my strengths, and my uniqueness more than I have ever before. I will take that with me into my journeys beyond.

Most of all, thank you all for allowing me to be 100% me all the time. All Harry Potter-loving, pink-enthusiast, and extra-ness that I am.

PS: I love you all, BUT I’m sorry (not really though), but I still won’t 8-clap. I’m going to stick to the “ZOT! ZOT! ZOT!” Still, go Bruins! 💙🐻💛

For the last time,

ARD Jamrensze “J-Mi” De Leon

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