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An Eclectic Mix of Excellence

Well I did it. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. Some people are itching to jump off cliffs or eat alligator for dinner, but I am not one of them. For me, Dinner for 12 Strangers was a pleasant push. I think it’s a decent challenge, too. You are shuttled off to an unknown destination, with an unknown host, unknown food (perhaps the scariest part?), and unknown people. Now I know that may sound exciting, and I’m sure that many times it is, but I was a little skeptical. What if I was carted off to a house that couldn’t be found (which did actually happen), only to sit in a room full of awkward conversation topics and cold spaghetti?
It could happen…but it didn’t. Just like with most things, it was an experience that I’m glad that I tried. The food and the location didn’t matter; it was the people that made the night meaningful. I met students from all walks of life in a matter of hours and it was nice to be amongst such an eclectic mix of excellence. I met a professional dancer, a Dance Marathon Committee Member, an SAA Representative, a Resident’s Assistant, a hopeful Freshman, a senior that was about to volunteer internationally, and a Bruin Belle helping the community one day at a time. And I met amazing alumni; a lawyer who studied at not only UCLA, but also Stanford and Harvard, and a Russian student who not only wrote for the Daily Bruin, but who now works for an accounting firm.
It was an inspirational evening amongst Bruins. Of course there were the awkward around-the-circle questions like “What’s your major?” and “What year are you?” but even the best of friends have had to ask this information before. You have to start somewhere. I’m so glad that the 12 of us mustered the courage to get into a stranger’s car, drive to a stranger’s house, and meet 11 other strangers who were just as new to the situation as I was.
Now I have to admit, I was a little nervous that the meeting would turn into a resume presentation of who’s met who, who’s raised how much, and who’s been where. And while I won’t deny that there was some personal publicizing (it is UCLA; the students here have amazing accomplishments undoubtedly), we had very real and fun conversations. We talked about everything from celebrity sightings around Westwood to study abroad experiences. I have a whole new found passion for trying to new things on campus after hearing about people’s real life experiences.
I encourage you to step aside of your comfort zone; whether that’s skiing a black diamond, scuba diving in the Caribbean, or just showing up for dinner. It takes one risk at a time for us to build up our confidence. I’m glad that I took a risk last night to give up one evening to gain 12 new friends. Facebook here I come.
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Hail to the Hills of Westwood

Yesterday was an amazing day at UCLA. I won’t pretend that I know all of the basketball lingo, but our team came out for an amazing game yesterday. It was a momentous occasion; it was the last men’s basketball game ever to be played in Pauley Pavilion and it was opportunity to be ranked #1 in the PAC Ten. Not only is it impressive that I know this information (just kidding), it was so impressive watching our team put their best foot forward on the court yesterday. I’ve never seen our stadium more filled with enthusiastic Bruin fans—it was a sold out game. When that 8 clap rang throughout, I couldn’t help but feel proud to be a Bruin.
I had a great view of the game yesterday, too. I normally don’t reference my boyfriend on this blog, but I have to give him a shout-out for his dedication to the game. He waited out till 3 am in the pouring rain with his friends to get tickets for the two of us; and then he came back at 6 am to claim our spots. I thought that it was so nice of him to do that and we definitely had great seats (in which we didn’t sit) to watch the game. There’s nothing like cheering on your team in the student section—and watching them not only defeat, but basically demolish, our competition. 71-53…just saying. And to top it all off, we got to take pictures on the Wooden court after the game.
For the record, I love basketball. I have to be dragged out a little for football but I’m always ready to watch a basketball game. I may not have been raised on Monday night football, but I do look forward to March Madness. After all, I have been known to make a pretty decent bracket. So here’s to the rest of the games ahead for UCLA—Go Bruins!
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Rising and Shining

“It’s gonna be a great day for me and my Lauren!” That’s how my dad always started off every day at our home. (Never mind the other nicknames he would throw in like Buggie, Meister, and Laurnie–the dreaded favorite). The morning was always off to a good start when my dad was there to ring in the day; he always made sure that I had a smile on my face—which wasn’t the easiest task for a moody 15 year old girl.
Now that I’m in college I don’t get to hear that every day; the occasions are rare now. But I still sing that little chime in my head every morning. I make an effort to start every day off right—I think it can set the tone for the entire day. My dad is always chipper in the morning and I try to be like that, too. In a setting of groggy college students, I’m sure my bursts of cheery sunshine may be a little too bright sometimes but I like to wake up feeling happy.  Why not?
Whether or not you’re a morning person, I suggest you welcome the day with the same kind of enthusiasm that my dad has. You might be surprised by how much more energized, happy, and alive you feel when you put a smile on your face and say “good morning!” like you actually mean it.
I’m inspired to write this post after watching one of my favorite movies last night, “Singing in the Rain.” The number, “Good Morning” is one of my favorite songs in the film and I often say “good morning” just like Debbie Reynolds does. I thought I’d include the clip below and indeed, I hope you have a “good morning” and a good day!
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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