Lights, Camera, Action! Beverly Hills is iconic for its celebrity sightings, Hollywood dreams, and palm tree lined streets. Although those things do exist, does that necessarily mean that UCLA students live the same life of fame and glory? Michelle, a UCLA alumna explains...
Image from Weezer's music video "Beverly Hills"
Just as the battle for your ideal course schedule can be pretty tough at a large public university like UCLA, so too can the battle for on-campus housing. Because of space limitations, a lot of universities can’t guarantee housing for their students for their entire education. In UCLA’s case, undergraduate students are guaranteed on-campus housing for three years, but most of my friends moved out by their third year for a number of reasons. For some, it was simply cheaper to live off-campus. For many, they just wanted more freedom, living with their friends in an off-campus apartment with a kitchen and room for social gatherings. In a way, it was like a rite of passage for us to move out of the dorms.
Although there is a guarantee for on-campus housing, there is no guarantee that you will get your top choice housing option. A lot of large universities will use a sort of lottery system to determine which students get priority in the housing selection process. As a first-year, I opted for the random roommate option and was asked to rank my preferences for housing options. UCLA has three main options: residential halls (the most social option, given you have to share a bathroom with your floor-mates; with single, double, and triple occupancy); residential plazas (rooms with a private bathroom for you and your roommates or a shared (larger) bathroom for you, your roommates, and your suite-mates next door; also with single, double, and triple occupancy); and residential suites (considered the least social, given the layout being five single rooms with one common living space). I was not keen on having to carry my clothes and toiletries to a gender-neutral bathroom and using an essentially public toilet every day (though my friends in the halls said it really wasn’t that bad, and yes, their floors were much more lively and social), so my first choice was a double in a plaza with a private bathroom. I ended up with my second choice, a triple in a plaza with a private bathroom, which was not bad at all. The room was clean, I had enough space, and I was lucky to have very considerate roommates. I guess my only complaint might have been the rumbling walls by my bed whenever the football players two doors down blasted their music on their speaker system. Haha.
As for my second year, I was much more specific with my housing application, indicating my preference for a triple in Rieber Terrace with a shared bathroom, my preferred two roommates’ names, as well as the names of my preferred suite-mates. My prospective roommates and suite-mates submitted identical applications, and I guess we were lucky in the housing lottery because we ended up getting exactly what we wanted. I liked this room a lot because it was more spacious, and bumping into my suite-mates in our bathroom while getting ready for evening or night-time activities was always a fun time.