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Bruins in Paris

Universities can offer the whole universe

By Daily Bruin Staff

June 7, 2009 9:00 p.m.

By: Elise Swanson

As a Spanish and linguistics student, I’m well aware that every word has a deeper meaning ““ an underlying representation. As a Bruin and an active student, I’ve been fascinated with the deeper meaning of one word in particular: university.

It comes from the Latin for “whole, turned into one,” similar to the word universe. UCLA has been my universe for four years and at the end of it all, my experiences, though broad, have indeed come together into one.

I joined the Daily Bruin as a designer during my freshman year. I was good at Photoshop, I was the newsletter chair for Hedrick 6 South and I wanted to get more involved. I didn’t realize I’d learn management, collaboration, last-minute problem-solving and even investigative reporting skills.

At the Daily Bruin, creativity doesn’t end on the page, and this is especially apparent at our parties. I must say, champagne has never tasted better than it did on the roof of Kerckhoff Hall. Clearly, having strong ties with one group for four years has inspired me, but I don’t want to be a journalist forever.

So, I enrolled in classes to experience what it would be like to become a feminist, a physicist, a biologist, a psychologist, an art historian, an actress, a singer, a linguist, a French speaker, a chemist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a tennis player, a resident of Spain and even a Vietnam War specialist.

I traipsed back and forth between North and South Campus, and you know what I decided? I want to be an optometrist. Next year, I’ll be attending the Southern California College of Optometry, and one day I hope to open my own practice and be my own boss. Of course, I’ll give the friends that I made here free contacts when they visit me, though I owe them more than just good vision.

But that’s not to say I picked one side of campus over another. In fact, with my humanities major, I’ve put myself right in the middle. I’ll never forget the physics and biology that UCLA professors taught me, nor the respect I gained for patients while volunteering at the UCLA Medical Center as a patient escort.

I can use my management skills from the Daily Bruin to run my practice, and the math that I learned (though resentfully) to balance my books. I could apply my French, Spanish and linguistics skills and be the eye doctor of a clinic anywhere around the world and I’ll know the art history and astronomy there, too.

For all of you laboring under the idea that our campus is divided, think again. UCLA is a university and as such, it is a whole institution that offers its students a fantastic education. Applying this toward personal growth and development is your decision. Can you see the big picture? No really, can you? If not, go see your optometrist.

Swanson was a designer from 2005-2009 and Assistant Design Director for the 2006-2007 school year.

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