Kailani Ridenour

Kailani Ridenour.jpg

University of California Los Angeles, Berkeley City College, University of California Berkeley

Gregori Class of 2014

Sociology

Weighted GPA at Gregori: Above 4.0

SAT Composite Score (2400 Scale): 1850

Extracurriculars at Gregori: ASB President, FBLA President, Varsity Tennis Captain, Academic Decathlon Member, Key Club Member, Employee at Local Preschool, Volunteer at Multiple Local Organizations


What are the dorms like on campus? What would you recommend students bring to their dorms?

I lived in the Hedrick Summit dorms at UCLA in a triple (it was me and two other roommates). The dorm building are clustered pretty close together, but my dorm building was the farthest up the hill. We were lucky to have an air conditioner because other dorm buildings didn't have one, and it was especially nice since it was a pretty big workout to make it from one end of campus all the way up to the dorm building. One thing I would definitely recommend bringing is a hard plastic shower caddy. I started off with a soft mesh shower caddy, but it would always fall over in the shower, and because the showers were shared, picking up by things off the shared shower floor was the last thing I wanted to be doing. I would also recommend bringing a sleeping eye mask. My roommates always went to bed hours later than I did, and being able to put the eye mask on so I could fall asleep made a huge difference. My roommates and I also shared a mini fridge and a microwave, and that was a great way to always have healthier snacks around and it was a lot easier to make a quick breakfast in our room than deal with the lines at the dining hall.

How did you go through the process of choosing a roommate?

I had to complete a survey about my lifestyle and preferences which they said they would use to match us with roommates. However, I found that survey to be pointless because my roommates and I had completely different answers. My roommates stayed up much later than I did, woke up much later than I did, and didn't like to keep their spaces as organized as I did. Even though we were all so different, we became really great friends. In fact, one of my roommates is now my best friend and even though I now live in Berkeley and she still lives in LA, we try to visit each other a couple times a year. If you and your roommates have different preferences, there are always ways to work it out to where you all can be comfortable in the same space.

How do you get to classes? Do you take public transportation, ride a bicycle, walk, etc.? Is the campus spread across large distances?

At UCLA, I would walk to classes. The campus and dorms are all in one little bubble, so I found walking to be the fastest and easiest (though there are lots of hills on campus, so it can be somewhat of a workout depending on where your classes are). On the weekends, my roommate and I would ride our skateboards to Westwood and grocery stores in the area, or we would take the transportation buses UCLA offered to students. In all, I think that it is simple to move around from campus to dorms, but escaping that same UCLA bubble took more effort.

What supplies do you normally use in your classes? What do you bring with you on a daily basis?

In my classes, I would take notes on my laptop. I found that carrying around notebooks for each class came to be a lot of weight, so just bringing my laptop made my backpack lighter and I had everything for all of my classes in one place. I would also always bring a reusable water bottle and snacks with me. I was always on campus for a very long time, and I didn't want to spend money everyday buying snacks. I'd also bring headphones for studying in the libraries or in loud places so I could focus.

Do you typically eat food on campus? Do you like the food there? Are you on a food plan with the university?

The dining halls at UCLA are the best! I think they are frequently rated the highest in the country, and I definitely thought that was true. They have a lot of cultural food options, as well as a really healthy dining hall. When I was was there, I was on the food plan and ate most of my meals at the dining hall. My roommate and I would frequently eat together there, especially on the weekends. There was also late-night food, so if we were ever craving food late at night, there was always a dining hall open.

What is the social life like on campus? Is there a large population of sororities or fraternities?

I did not want to get involved with greek life, but I knew many people who did. It is a really great way of making automatic friends, because it can be hard to find a community outside of such a close-knit group like sororities or fraternities. However, don't feel pressured to join just because you haven't found your place yet! There are a lot of people who don't want to be in greek life either, and joining clubs or greeting people in your classes is a great way to make friends outside of the greek system.

Have you had to change your study habits to accommodate to the workload at college compared to high school?

I had pretty good study habits going into college, so I was okay with studying. My main issue was actually getting myself to study, because college has so much flexibility and pretty few graded assignments. Much of your grade is based on tests, so getting yourself to study for those is the most important. It really comes down to self-discipline, and I think grades are a pretty good reflection of just how well you have gotten yourself to study for exams.

How do you balance your school work with any jobs that you may have throughout the year?

I have always had a job throughout college. I always make sure my employer understands that school is my first priority, and I have found that employers near universities completely understand that most people are students and have responsibilities outside of work. I have found that the work experience I have gotten throughout college has made an incredible difference in my future career possibilities and opened up so many more doors than if I just stuck to school. I would also really recommend interning! You may not always get paid (I interned at a non-profit for about a year with absolutely no pay) but the experience I got was truly invaluable. Find a place where they truly want to teach you and give you valuable experiences, and I truly think it will all pay off in the end- it did for me!

How have you had to prepare for the responsibilities of being on your own at college? (appointments, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc.)

I definitely didn't realize how easy it was to just live at home before I moved out. Living at the dorms was a good transition, because you aren't living with your parents, but all of your fees and food are taken care of by the university. I'd say the biggest jump is when you move into an apartment, because you have to learn how to pay power bills, sign leases, look into renter's insurance, etc. Luckily for me, I have an incredible support system, and I could always call my mom when I was confused or needed help. Just take 'adulting' one step at a time and you'll learn so much over time.

What is the school spirit like at your school? (sports, etc.)

School spirit was great at UCLA! The area the campus is in feels like a college town, and because the school is so big, people were very passionate about school spirit. Attending football games was a lot of fun and a great way to really experience school spirit.