Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Belle Family

Winter quarter is one of my favorite times in Belles because it means Winter Retreat - my favorite Belles event - and, thus, getting or adding to your Belles family. Coming to UCLA from Houston, Texas, I knew absolutely no one when I moved here. At such a big school, it was a truly intimidating and I constantly wondered how I would find my home here. At yet, within a few weeks at UCLA during my first year, Bruin Belles gave me that home. I immediately felt accepted, and all of the Belles events fulfilled my search to participate in meaningful and exciting activities.  However, when I got my Belles family winter quarter of my first year, that changed everything for me. Not only did I have this amazing organization to help me find my place at UCLA, I now had a three awesome women who were invested in me and who were there to specifically support me. And, it wasn’t just one way - I was there to support them as we chose to go through the ups and downs of college together. My Belles fa

Enacting Greater Change in Healthcare

From my first day in Belles, I was in awe of the interdisciplinary outlook Belles had in their fields of interests. One Belle was passionate about combining their love for engineering and Disney, prompting them to become a Disney Imagineer. Another Belle advocated to protect the environment while also using her designing skills to create sustainable products, like bamboo utensils, for members to use. These unique interests and diverse ideas challenged me to find what I was truly passionate about and understand how I can incorporate it into my larger goal of being a respected and compassionate health care professional.  Belles has always presented a wide array of events catering to every individual’s interests. I found joy in attending our scrapbooking socials and virtual Zumba events where I felt comforted and supported in a space to explore my artistic side. By finding creative mediums to express myself with those around me, I found that I was able to connect with my fellow Belles,

Looking Forward to Being Together Again

As I reflect upon the past year, my heart swells with gratitude. I am so very thankful to be a part of this community. When people ask me what Bruin Belles is, I always begin with the words passionate, and compassionate. For in our multiplicity of interests, personalities, and ambitions, the shared heart of our organization is service. Whether dressed up in Belle attire or clad in old gardening clothes, some of my fondest college memories have transpired in BBSA, and I know that my time as a Bruin has been made infinitely richer through knowing and serving alongside fellow Belles. I contemplated for a while about what I wanted to share in my blog post, and I arrived at the conclusion that while being a Belle cannot be summed up in any singular experience, one poignant thread of this organization are the car rides we share on our way to, and back from an event. Whether we are squealing with delight over a Belle alumna’s recent grad school acceptance, singing our hearts out to Dan + S