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From Drake to the perfect outfit, Bruins discuss first-day rituals

(Meng Masroor/Graphics editor)

By Katherine Smith

Oct. 4, 2023 1:52 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 4 at 7:44 p.m.

While a spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down, that spoonful is also the secret to a year of good luck for first-year mechanical engineering student Rahul Nanda.

Like Nanda, many others embarked on unique practices or rituals Thursday as part of the first day of school. To combat mixed feelings about the start of classes, students said they have special outfits, playlists and rituals for the perfect first day.

“It’s a little overwhelming at first,” he said. “There’s a lot of things being thrown at you, but it feels good.”

For some first-year students, preparation is key for their first day of college. Sophia Rios, a first-year astrophysics student, said she eased into her first day by sitting with new friends from her morning class. She added that the first day of classes also helped ease her concerns about whether or not UCLA was right for her.

“I was very nervous,” she said, “But actually getting in, sitting down in the classes and meeting new people – it kind of went away.”

For other returning students, however, the key to the first day was planning the perfect outfit. Roxy Morris, a third-year film student, said she sends her mom a photo of her first-day outfit every year.

Nicole Floum, a third-year biology student, said planning her outfit was actually the most important part of the day, adding that she takes longer than usual because the perfect outfit sets the tone for the day and the year.

Morris added that making a nice breakfast and trying to get to class early are also key parts of her perfect first-day schedule.

“Year three is where the energy picks up again, a lot of new faces,” she said. “You have to make the most of it, so I feel I’m just most excited for things to change.”

Other students said a key part of their first-day ritual is ensuring they are prepared for academic life.

Kate de Guillenchmidt, a third-year neuroscience student, said while some students usually organize all folders and syllabi in preparation for the first day, she didn’t this year. De Guillenchmidt added that she felt underprepared for class compared to her peers but has started trying to get back into good habits.

De Guillenchmidt said she was very excited to be back but also anxious about starting classes because she took summer classes, meaning that she did not have a longer break from school.

“My brain has been on all year,” she said. “I am very excited and stressed, really – those are the two emotions for me.”

Jayson Tian, a second-year computer science student, said he met up for a coffee with an old high school friend, Nanda – who had just started at UCLA – to chat and give him advice on the college experience. He added that this set a positive tone for his first day back.

Nanda added that since both he and Tian are from Toronto, playing music by Drake on the first day of classes was the perfect choice.

“I actually lost my Airpods like two days ago,” he said. “But if I had still had them, I’d probably play some Drake to remind myself of Toronto again.”

While the first day is exciting for many, for fourth-year students, the first day of class – or the “last first day” – can also be a bittersweet event. Freddy Soto, a fourth-year political science transfer student, said he wants to make the most of his final year.

Soto said he likes to prepare his backpack and folders the day before so he is ready to go. But for Soto – who is a commuter student – the drive to school is just as crucial for preparation, he said, adding that he likes to play music that gets him excited for the day, such as rap.

Though Soto said he is excited to graduate and move on to the next stage of his life, he added that he hopes all students take advantage of their time at UCLA as well.

“I’m going to say this for transfers and for first years: Definitely enjoy your time here because it flies by,” he said.

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Katherine Smith
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