It Was a Home Run!!

After our late night at Disney yesterday, we decided to let the kids sleep in. So, we had doughnuts and fruit (we needed something to balance out the doughnuts) in the Prep Center for brunch. Then, after many requests, we headed to the UCLA store, so they could get comfy sweatshirts and a variety of other souvenirs.

We gave them the afternoon to chill at the pool or do homework in the Prep Center, then we headed to the Dodger game. They got their fill of Dodger Dogs, nachos which came in a souvenir helmet, and pretzels. Some of them even got soft serve ice cream in a tinier version of the souvenir helmet. They also had fun passing the beach balls around the stadium. The game was filled with excitement from the home run in the first to the Marlins tying up the game in the top of the eighth. Don’t worry though, the Dodgers pulled ahead once again in the bottom of the eighth.

Tomorrow, we head off to another relaxing day at the beach and we’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures!

LACMA, La Brea, & letter writing, oh my!

Instead of heading to their desks this morning, our students took their learning outside of the classroom and out into the real world! Each major class, along with their teachers, visited a different fascinating destination around the city at which they could learn subject-related material.

The Game Design and Speech and Debate classes joined up to visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a dark and mysterious locale full of technological oddities and quirky historical discoveries.

Photography students took a trip downtown to visit The Last Bookstore, a beautiful building full of not only reading material, but incredible sculptures made from it! Make sure you ask to see their pictures — as you might expect, they’re incredible.

Students in our Psychology class first continued working on their critical analyses of scientific studies (they’re really getting the college experience!), and then took a ride down the street to the Hammer Art Museum.

The Creative Writing class visited Los Angeles’s rare book library, where they were able to view incredibly old copies — and even some original editions! — of classic novels like Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby.

After a quick lunch back on campus, we all headed out together for even more adventure. The first stop on our list were the La Brea tar pits, which have contained the fossils of trapped animals for tens of thousands of years. Can you believe these tar pits exist right in the heart of West Los Angeles?!

Near the tar pits, we also discovered a colorful, pop-up art installation, which the students loved admiring, taking photos of, and interacting with.

We then walked right next store to LACMA, one of Los Angeles’s most renowned modern art museums. Though many incredible works are displayed at this museum, students were particularly excited to view and take pictures of its most publicized works: Chris Burden’s Urban Light and Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass. These works in particular brought students to contemplate what “modern art” actually entails — and more specifically, why a literal boulder counts as a piece of modern art. Nevertheless, they were very happy to take selfies in front of each of these pieces.

After time well spent at these iconic destinations, all located within the same block on Wilshire Boulevard, we took a quick spin around Rodeo Drive to people-watch and window-shop. Some students even caught a glimpse of a celebrity or two!

Afterwards, we headed back to UCLA for a delicious dinner and a wonderful, phone-free night together. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching silly YouTube videos, we spent a couple of hours together the old-fashioned way: writing letters home to our families. We ended up having a great time decorating our envelopes, drawing pictures of our new friends, and cracking jokes about being forced to write letters to our parents. What a ridiculous thought — forced! Ha! It was our pleasure.

Following a few games, including an intense round or two of dodgeball, students headed to bed at 10pm to prepare for a thrilling, and likely exhausting, day at Disneyland tomorrow. We are all so ready!

Let’s Get Quizzical!

Per usual, we started the day off with classes. After that, we headed off to The Grove, a fancy outdoor shopping mall, for an afternoon of shopping and eating. The kids had a wonderful time spending all of their parents’ money on new clothes, makeup, sunglasses, and phone cases (but some of them did spend their money on gifts for their siblings!). The Farmers’ Market was filled with tons of delicious food. Many filled their bodies with sugar by consuming copious amounts of doughnuts, milkshakes, and pies. Others decided to take a more savory route by eating cheesy quesadillas and buckets of chicken tenders.

When we got back from The Grove, the kids enjoyed a thrilling night of trivia (after a quick dinner, of course). The trivia questions challenged them to remember information about their friends and the admin team. These included questions like:

Q: What was found in Marius, Luke, and Mika’s trashcan?
A: A mixture of mouthwash and Cheetos

Q: Who is Morgan’s favorite person?
A: Annie… just kidding! It’s her brother

Q: What did Lu drop on his way back from 7-Eleven?
A: His Big Gulp

Their partners for the game were chosen at random, but they worked together better — and laughed harder — than we have ever seen. We were so, so happy to see everybody (and we mean everybody) having such a good time with new friends.

We have a busy day planned for tomorrow. In the morning, students will get to visit a variety of amazing places, like the Museum of Jurassic Technology, for their major classes. In the afternoon, we will spend the afternoon hopping between LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits, and Rodeo Drive. Can’t wait!

A Day in Downtown LA!

As usual, today was an incredibly eventful day with our kids! Though we never forget to go to our classes in the morning, we took the rest of the day off to explore downtown Los Angeles.

Our first stop was the iconic Grand Central Market, a bustling building in the heart of downtown full of delicious food stalls that serve everything from local Mexican favorites, to vegan ramen, to homemade ice cream. After filling our stomachs with such amazing food, we opted to forgo walking up the many flights of stairs to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and instead took a quick ride up the hill on the historic Angel’s Flight funicular. Once at the top, we were able to view both the concert hall and the fascinating architecture of The Broad — as well as enjoy the free air conditioning at the former.

Next, we were on our way to Little Tokyo. On the way, we strolled past Los Angeles City Hall and watched happy children play at Grand Park. Once at Little Tokyo, we munched on cool strawberry-flavored mochi ice cream and sipped on milk tea with boba. Many students also bought some adorable souvenirs.

After an adventurous day in the city, we came back to campus for even more fun! After dinner, we were able to surprise our resident birthday girl, Anya — along with everybody else! — with cupcakes and candles. After singing happy birthday, we continued on with a night of karaoke. While we know some students were nervous to join in, we hope everybody had a great time bopping along to hits like Sweet Caroline, Life is a Highway, and Bohemian Rhapsody. The staff sure did! 😉

We ended our night with a round of bubbly carbonated face masks, and are now heading off to bed with happy hearts and very, very clean pores. Talk to you tomorrow night!

Becoming Hollywood Stars

After students completed their majors and minors this morning, we hopped on the bus and took Sunset Boulevard all the way down to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

We weaved in and out of the huge crowds gathered on Hollywood Boulevard to find the names of all of our favorite Hollywood celebrities written on the sidewalk’s stars. Keanu Reaves was the biggest hit. We were also shocked to find out that Minnie Mouse counted as a celebrity!

Students were also excited to browse the numerous souvenir shops that line the street, take a look around the BTS store, snap photos with Spiderman and a snake handler, and to eat some deliciously unhealthy soft pretzels and candy.

After arriving back on campus and eating dinner at our favorite dining hall, students had the opportunity to hang out with and learn from a professional voice actor! AJ, who is both a theatre professor and the voice of Crush the turtle at Disneyland’s California Adventure, first taught us how to better warm up our face muscles before performing and how to project our voices while on stage. Then, we played some completely hilarious theatre games that had us all falling over with laughter. Not only did our students learn a few vocal tools that they can apply in classes like Speech and Debate and Creative Writing, we also saw every single student, including the shyest of the shy, break out of their shells and be absolutely, unapologetically goofy. We are so happy!

A Sunny Sunday!