Every time I really start to think about my time as a Woodsey I am overcome by waves of gratitude. UniCamp has acted as so much more than just a student organization for me. It’s given me a family, a reason to keep moving forward and most of all a powerful outlet in which I’ve discovered myself and my passions.
As a second year at UCLA I struggled with depression and came alarmingly close to dropping out of school entirely. The only reason I stayed in college was because of UniCamp – this organization gave me a family, and with that family came resilience to every mental twist and turn I had been experiencing throughout two years of darkness and insecurity.
UniCamp gave me direction.
I applied to UniCamp as a last ditch effort to find something that could give meaning to my life, and the universe threw its most valuable card right in front of me. My world has flipped upside down since that first week at River Glen with Session Pi, 2014. I know it seems like everything we do is for the kids (and don’t get me wrong, that’s 90 percent of it), but everything I’ve experienced these past three years has inspired so much growth in me and so many of the volunteers I’ve worked side by side with that it’s impossible to say that it isn’t a two-way street. We’re never prepared for how much these kids teach us when we’re supposed to be the ones teaching them.
This year I chose to apply to be a Head Counselor Assistant because I needed to give back to the organization that’s given me so much, and it’s incredibly fitting that I’ve been placed at the forefront of Session 2’s initiative: College Readiness, so that I can help in the guidance of Project GRAD Los Angeles’ students who may find themselves in exactly the same place of insecurity and doubt that I inhabited in the earliest years of college. It’s almost impossible to be ready for the myriad of changes a university is capable of throwing at you, but those changes will have much less of an impact if you’re secure with your own existence and aware of the intrinsic qualities that have led you toward the pursuit of higher education. I hope, by sharing our own experiences, we can help lead them toward stronger ties of community and resilience and a greater awareness of mindfulness and self-care so that they have the tools necessary to develop their passions and traverse the tumultuous path toward their biggest and brightest dreams without a flicker of uncertainty.
Once you’ve experienced the Woodsey Magic, you’ll never be the same. Take it from personal experience.
Feather is a fourth-year Psychology major / English minor at UCLA and Head Counselor Assistant for Session 2: College Readiness (2016).
Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores UCLA ’16.