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A Sense of Belonging

 When I look back at my first two years at UCLA, the differences between the two are immediately noticeable. By the time my second year was in full gear, I was more comfortable, doing better in my classes, and making memories that I knew would stick with me for a lifetime. This change in my college experience was no coincidence- it was a result of joining Bruin Belles. 

   Freshman year, as it tends to be for many of us, was quite the difficult transition for me to make. Going from living in the same town for my entire life and having been constantly surrounded by family and friends to being on a huge campus over a thousand miles from home was something that I don’t know how I could have prepared myself for. That first year was a lot of trial and error- with extracurriculars, with classes, with my major- any and every part of my life felt like it was undecided and thinking about the future was a daunting task that I avoided at all costs. I often found myself questioning my decision to come to UCLA, thinking that it was too much for me to handle and that I would never belong here. 

As cliche as it sounds, joining Bruin Belles at the start of my sophomore year changed everything. The shift felt so natural, yet it was so immediate. I found myself surrounded by the most incredible people who were all so passionate about such a variety of things, and every conversation I had left me feeling empowered and uplifted. The community I found within Bruin Belles really trickled into all other parts of my college experience, allowing me to embrace other opportunities that I would not have felt comfortable taking on otherwise. Having a group of people that I knew I could turn to and fall back on gave me the confidence and security to be a bolder and more adventurous person both in my academic career as well as in my personal life, and the impacts this change in mindset have had on who I am are glaringly noticeable. The growth that came with stepping out of my comfort zone has left me continuously searching for more opportunities to keep doing the same. 

Though our organization is by no means perfect, the dedication each member holds towards striving to make Bruin Belles the best it can be makes me proud to be part of this community. I am thankful to have found my place here, and I am eternally thankful for the friendships, opportunities, endless laugher, and countless memories that I owe to Bruin Belles.


Alysha Panjwani
Women's Leadership DB

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