Over the course of my first year at UCLA, I have been able to learn a lot about myself and venture into many different avenues. After a year’s worth of getting acclimated to the large university campus, I am pleased to say that I have found my place here. Now, I am looking into a new major of interest, I am a member of ASU and NSU (student clubs), I have a leadership role as NSU Modern’s external relations commissioner, I am employed at UCLA, and I am still very active in my hometown of Pasadena.
Adjusting to UCLA was quite different for me. In some ways it was very easy and happened without very much effort. In other ways, I had to go through a learning curve in order to be able to properly and effectively navigate my time here at the university. Socially, I was able to adapt pretty fast to a lifestyle of an independent college student. Many of the clubs, activities and events I participated in were ones I had discovered early on during the fall and decided to continue throughout the year. I enjoyed many pleasant experiences during this transition, which made up a lot of the positive adjustment I was able to make on campus.
Academically, I experienced a latent shock as to the rigor of UCLA classes and academics. Fall quarter, I attributed mediocre performance to adjustment, but I now realize for the caliber of classes I had taken then, I could have pushed myself a little harder. Nevertheless, little hiccups are expected. However, my winter quarter was rough and took me by storm. It was the first time I felt unprepared for the classes I was taking and incompetent amongst my peers. Though I understand the many factors that went into my poor performance or unreadiness, I think overall it was the lack of preparation from my high school in certain classes that disadvantaged me. I made use of many teacher’s office hours, tutoring sessions, peer learning groups, etc., but the reason I struggled in these classes were because while this information was new to me, it was remedial for many people in the classes having taken many classes like such at their high schools.
Winter quarter taught me lots of lessons about other helpful things like class planning, seeking help, using resources, etc.. Spring quarter was a much better experience. Now that I know the work that it takes to perform well in classes, going forward, I will be able to apply that knowledge in tandem with time management and organization to effectively study and perform well in my classes. Having a year under my belt also has given me the knowledge of where and when to study that is also a major part of studying.
Derek Rooks-Taylor is excited to be a second year at UCLA part of the Bruin class of 2020! He is a 19 year old from Pasadena, CA. He loves to: dance, watch videos of the Royal Family Dance Crew, eat at Poke Salad Bar, and quote Joanne the Scammer. He is Beyoncé’s number one fan, and that’s honest. He is most excited to serve on the board to give back to his younger peers and help them get into their dream schools! He plans to invest in CAP when he becomes rich and famous, so watch out!