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Expanding My Horizons

One of best things about attending UCLA is the sheer amount of diversity on our campus. From our student body to the number of majors offered, there are so many unique aspects to being a Bruin. And yet, as a second year pre-medical student, I found myself missing out on all of this. Day in and day out, I would be attending the same science classes, with the same classmates and participating in extracurricular activities with other students that had the same career goals as I did. As much as I loved being a STEM student, I knew I didn’t want to graduate from UCLA without meeting people with different interests, hobbies, career goals, perspectives, and experiences. Bruin Belles was the organization that made that dream a reality.

I remember walking into fall retreat (my first event ever!) for the first time and feeling nervous. I was outside my pre-med, science, healthcare-focused comfort box, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in with all the other Belles. It only took a few minutes to dispel any of those worries. I was so excited to see how genuine and compassionate every single Belle was – about service, about women’s leadership, and about each of their unique passions. It was so refreshing to celebrate our unique backgrounds and interests, while sharing a common love for service and empowerment. The best part? This amazing environment didn’t stop at fall retreat. Without fail, I’ve been surrounded by inspiring, intelligent, and inclusive women at every Belle event I’ve been to. Seeing these women dedicate themselves to a variety of philanthropic causes around Los Angeles has only served to make me appreciate the power of community service even more.

Perhaps one of my favorite memories from Belles was being a part of the Women’s Leadership Conference committee last year. BBSA is so unique in its emphasis on empowering women and I wanted to take the initiative to be a part of that mission. Watching the leadership conference go from a fledgling idea to a full-blown, successful, rousing event was incredible and humbling. Not only did I play a role in inspiring other women on our campus, but I was also inspired myself. The Women’s Leadership Conference reminded me of the work that was yet to be done in the realm of women’s empowerment and the necessity for young women to lead that movement forward. I am committed to furthering this cause as I begin my professional career.   

As a senior reflecting on four years of college, I can honestly say that being a part of Bruin Belles has been so crucial to my undergraduate journey. In addition to participating in service events and fun socials, just being in the presence of friendly and compassionate women helped me develop self-confidence and pride in my abilities. While I’m sad to see my journey as a Belle come to an end, I will always be grateful for everything it has given me.

With Belle love,
Runi Tanna


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