Kailani Ridenour

Kailani Ridenour.jpg

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

Gregori Class of 2014


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

When choosing between colleges, how did you decide amongst the colleges that you were accepted into?

UCLA was my number one school, so getting accepted made it pretty easy for me to decide on that school. However, I wish I spent more time thinking beyond the prestige and idea of the school and think about other factors as well- the environment, opportunities in my career field, importance of academic research, etc. I am glad I attended, but one quarter in, I found that attending UCLA was not practical for me because of the personal health issues I was dealing with. Attending UC Berkeley now fits so many more qualities I needed, including being close to home, being social-justice focused, being heavily involved in a diverse community, etc.

What is one thing that you wished you knew before you started at your university?

I wish I had known that the school you choose in high school does not have to be your home for the next four years. I never expected to lev my dream school, but life happens, and I had to do what was right for me. As the years go by, more and more people I know from high school left the colleges they originally attended to go to a CC, CSU, or another four year. Four years is a very long time and so much can change. It is completely okay that your needs and preferences change. Accept it, and prioritize how you feel, and it will guide you to where you should be.

How would you describe the location of your college? (climate, weather, etc.) Would you describe it as a college town? (urban, suburban, rural) Does the location allow for activities outside of campus? (farmer's markets, concerts, etc.)

UCLA felt like it was a little bubble, and the campus was pretty closed off to the community. Everything was very prim and proper, and it always had beautiful landscaping. I can compare UCLA now to UC Berkeley, which is completely different. UC Berkeley is much more close to the community and there are a lot more non-students that you'll find on campus. I also think UC Berkeley has more of a woodsy feeling, with more trees and natural landscaping. I personally prefer the feel of Berkeley, but I think visiting the campus is the best way to figure out whether you'll like a place (keeping in mind that preferences change over the years too, and that's okay!)

If you are far away from home, do you ever feel homesick? How do you balance relationships with family and friends from home?

I definitely felt homesick at UCLA because it was the first time I had been that far away from home and my family. I tried to pretend I wasn't homesick around my roommates for the first week or so because they seemed to only be having a good time, but I finally broke down when I was on the phone with my mom and my roommate overheard. When I finally hung up the phone, my roommate tapped me on the shoulder and I saw she had started crying too. She had also been pretending she was homesick when she really felt that way too. That was the first time we truly connected and we became best friends after that. Opening up and being honest with those around you helps you deal with homesickness, and it also is a great way to connect with those around you. It is normal and okay to feel homesick, but as you start to feel more comfortable at school, you'll feel better.