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Failing a final in the city of stars

local culture




- satire

Failing a final in the city of stars

and how to make it feel as though it's Shining Just For You

Isabelle Von Lockner


It’s 7:32pm at the University of California, Los Angeles. You walk out of Powell Library and are greeted by colossal Royce Hall, red bricks glowing in the sunset. Westwood apartments are flickering on their lights, frat houses are beginning to echo with Chainsmokers songs and cheers of “seven, seven, seven.” Beyond campus, champagne bottles pop in the mansions of Bel Air and the Audi’s of casting agents zoom through the West Hollywood hills. Even further, the skyscrapers of downtown LA can be seen sparkling in the night.

Los Angeles. The land of opportunity. The land where dreams come true.

With this feeling of warm contentment from going to school in one of the most lively cities in the world suddenly comes the rash decision to log onto your MyUCLA. Before you know it your finger is hovering over “grades,” and you are made to feel as though checking your most recent final grade is a great decision.
Now, let me interject this anecdote to say that: we have all been there. For this reason, I am writing this article to let you know 1) that a number or letter does not at all define you, or honestly even matter that much in the long run, and 2) that regardless of who is reading this, a Bruin or not, you are so incredibly lucky to go to college and have your one priority be to educate yourself. Seriously. Your one job is to better yourself through learning. But, that said, I am biased that UCLA is perhaps the most perfect school there is, located in potentially one of the most influential cities in the world. Thus, it is my pleasure to present to you a list of some of the best ways to cure your poor, stressed-out college soul of academic heartbreak here in the City of Angels.

First, I have to address the music scene in Los Angeles. Ever since starting college in LA I feel as though I have been overwhelmingly informed of dope concerts happening all the time, for very affordable prices. So become friends with Ticketmaster. Or you could just be friends with that one guy who's super into music and incessantly raving about that DOPE ASS DJ WHO IS RELEASING HIS NEW EP THIS FRIDAY ON THE THIRD FLOOR OF THE ABANDONED ADIDAS FACTORY IN DOWNTOWN!!! DOORS OPEN 4AM!!!! … is he perhaps rolling as we speak? Probably.

On the other end of the spectrum, I feel as though a quintessential thing to do while at UCLA is pay a visit to good ol' Rodeo Drive (it's literally so close, a 10 minute drive tops.) I myself have checked this off of my list already, and might I instill some wisdom upon you with this is how it will probably go down: uber to Rodeo, walk around and look into all these absurdly expensive stores, perhaps enter one of these stores and be eyed down aggressively hard by the employees who honestly have probably had like two customers all day and simply wonder what their MF PROBLEM IS?? Just because you’re wearing converse doesn’t mean you can’t afford those Gucci flip flops, sir. Eventually (and kind of awkwardly) leave the store without buying anything, and flee to eat at Urth Cafe because realistically that’s the only place in this area you can actually afford. Make it an extra large green tea boba frap, Sal, we’re in Bev Hills.
Now. I’m going to take another drastic turn and provide a therapeutic option for dealing with bad midterm grades that applies to those in Greek life. Bruins, you most definitely already know where I’m going to go with this: Thirsty Thursdays. Yup, not much to type about this one. Thirsty Thursdays are just very… thirsty :-)
But let us not forget raids- the righteous blessing of an event that graces all members of the Greek Community. Raids typically start with excessive amounts of Prestige being consumed at a pregame, followed by sticking a water bottle of 'Stige in your pants for the bus ride to the venue, then desperately and drunkenly trying to convince security at the venue that you are 21 by showing your BruinCard, failing to do so but still managing to finesse even more alcohol, then looking around and not really knowing what’s happening only to have Snapchat inform you that you’re at a venue somewhere in West Hollywood. Upon this realization usually comes some reckless dancing, getting on the bus back to UCLA and hooking up with someone the entire ride, only to wake up the next morning feeling like that final you failed was an angelic blessing compared to the regretful events of the night before. Wooo raids.
If the events described above are simply not your scene (or you find them disgustingly atrocious because they lowkey are) do not fret. Another classic option is venturing on over to iconic Venice Beach. Strolling through the beautifully eclectic and boho-chic streets of this SoCal hippie-Heaven, you find yourself buying some street art, watching the skaters #shred (don’t forget to take a pic so people know you were there), or maybe get a tattoo! Regardless, finish the day off watching the sunset with the sweet aroma of legalized daffodils flows through the air and you’re honestly winning.
Now this next one is one of my personal favorites, is only about a $5 uber from The Hill, and is kind of a secret: the Los Angeles Getty Center, yo! Having potentially one of the best views of LA, this place is actually perfect for when you just want to lounge on some grass with the homies while listening to some good music and gawk at an incredible view. Also feel free to take a stroll through the various art galleries if you feel so inclined-- this is actually what this place is known for, lol. Admission is free. Go.
Weather permitting, you could alternatively take an easy, breezy, beautiful drive down PCH and head over to The Bu (Malibu). From my experiences, this adventure could end up looking somewhat like this: hardcore struggles to find parking on potentially the busiest but prettiest highway on the west coast, finally lay your towel down on the sand of Surf Riders Beach and watch some majestic surfers shred and wish you could’ve balanced that chemical equation as effectively as that one surfer just maneuvered that barrel. Eventually, re-struggle to cross PCH, take one last glimpse at the beautiful beach and world around you, get in the car and somehow manage to pull out of your parking spot, only to have your vibe totally killed by rush hour. gahdamn.
Last but not least, I think we can all attest to the fact that an easy and effective way to better your mood is to get some physical exercise. It’s incredible what endorphins and fresh air can do. Running the perimeter of campus is a popular Bruin trail, but I personally find running in Bel Air to be even more mind-clearing and peaceful-- except for the multiple Maseratis that will come incredibly close to hitting you. ( For context, Bel Air’s infrastructure is a little sketchy as there are NO sidewalks built for the sole purpose of keeping out pedestrians… aka you and I… but look how well that worked #HA). Anyway, this run is great and I won’t change my ways. Also think of the money you could get paid in a lawsuit if one of these cars actually did hit you! You wouldn’t ever have to work and that final you failed would be a distant memory.
So go to the gym, go for a hike, go to the beach, really do whatever you want that includes physical activity and raised heart rate (wink, wink).

And if all else fails, when you’re feeling sad about a final or anything at all, there’s always Rocco’s.

...or laying in bed and listening to Porter Robinson and reminiscing about Coachella (Been there, it’s savagely and romantically depressing).
And Bruins, regardless of any test score or if you ever have to retake a class, remember that you are amazing and will do incredible things in your lifetime. So until those days are upon us, get up off of your sorry tush and go enjoy LaLa Land. It's a heck of a place.