I had a horrible college experience at UCLA

I am a graduating senior, and it really hurts that he worked so hard and was so lucky to get into UCLA four years ago, yet I had nothing to show for in the end.

During my time here, I experienced nothing but rejection. I got rejected from every club he applied to. i got rejected from marching band. I got rejected from sports clubs. I got rejected from research opportunities. I got rejected from internships. I tried rushing three separate times and got zero bids every time. I got rejected from every friend group.

I know people say rejection is normal, but it shouldn’t be normal to the point of being denied everything. All I did was classes in college because I got rejected from everything. I never made any friends or good memories here, and I have no jobs for after college

I’m sorry that you had a really bad undergrad experience at UCLA. But, you’re graduating from UCLA! This is huge!

You were accepted to UCLA for a reason and that means that they saw great things in you.

My daughter had a similar initial experience to you at her UC. All the clubs were full. Everything she tried, didn’t work. Where it changed was when she started to do things for herself like volunteer and when she started to work. She took part time jobs on campus. She made lots of friends in her volunteer positions and eventually “found her tribe”.

If you don’t have any job leads, go to the career center and let them help you put together a package. I know they used to do mock interviews with you, tidy up your résumé, give you letterhead, and get part time jobs.

I am assuming, that because you’ve been going to school during the middle of the pandemic, it has been exceptionally rough. Everyone from this “pandemic generation” has experienced some type of personal issue and this has been “par for the course”. Go seek out your mental health services on campus, just to talk. Yes they are very, very, busy but you just need someone to talk to you.

Being patient is a really hard skill to learn. What I’ve noticed about my kids is that they want everything done “now”. In this age of high-tech, it’s expected by youthful people, but it doesn’t really work out that way for a lot of us. We want it now people have to learn that it takes a little bit of time to find your own way in everything.

I’m sorry that life is really giving you a hard knock but things do get better.
I wish you good luck and keep us posted!


What does this mean? Who applied to?

At any rate, hope things get better after graduation. You have a great degree, and life doesn’t end with college - it is only just beginning.


I was going to say the same thing. I can’t tell if this is the parent or the student.

Either way, I’m sorry that your college memories are not positive ones. It is only March. There is plenty of time to apply for jobs after graduation. You are in charge of your destiny.


I am a student. It just sucks when people talk about how many fun memories they made in college or whatever, yet I never experienced any of that

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UCLA is a tough school. It’s tough to get in. It’s tough to fight for resources. It’s tough to obtain entry into required classes. And, it’s tough to graduate. You’ve almost made it through a very challenging landscape and are undoubtedly better prepared than many of your peers for life post-graduation. Kudos!

I’m not sure why so many students want to go to UCLA. You story should be mandatory reading for all interested applicants.



You are on the home stretch. Time to look forward, not backward. There is nothing you can do to change what happened already. BUT there is a LOT you can do in terms of your future. So…think about that!


Be proud of yourself! You are about to get a degree from the top public university in the USA! Plan a fun graduation party with family, take grad photos on campus, go on Handshake & apply for jobs, and maybe plan something exciting to do to celebrate your graduation this summer.
Covid made the last 3 years really hard for a lot of college students. Please don’t be down on yourself. You have a bright future ahead if you.

What is your major? It’s great to complain (I’m a big fan of complaining) but it’s better to seek advice. There are many knowledgeable people on this forum that can help steer you in the right direction. My husband tells my kids (amongst other things) that if everything looks bad and wrong through your camera lens maybe you need to switch lens. Tell us some more and we can try to help.

PS. What instrument did you get rejected on for marching band? Did you only audition once or multiple times?



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Getting rejected from clubs is pretty much standard fare for all large schools (hear its same at other large campuses i.e. Michigan, Cornell, etc.).

Don’t worry about jobs. They’ll come–esp with a great pedigree like yours. Yes, it may feel a bit insignificant for that fact that you put so much effort into adding that one-line education bullet on your resume. But it truly does open doors. It may seem a bit depressing with all the rejections for a while but that’s perfectly normal.

I still remember crying my eyes out 30 years ago when I came home to my parent’s house, only to find a large stack of rejection letters from all the companies I had applied to (wasn’t done via email back then). But a few months later, I got the magic call landing a dream job!

Just think, every year, 150K+ kids (and parents) with >4.0 GPAs are pounding at the doors at UCLA, just to be in your shoes. You’ve accomplished a lot so far. Just hang in there! Just trust in yourself. In a few years, it’ll be all worth it.


Congrats on your graduation!

There’s a lot of pressure to have an Instagram-worthy college experience. When it doesn’t happen that way, it can feel like you’ve somehow failed at your college experience. That’s not the case. You’re graduating with a degree from a notable university.

The pandemic has had a drastic effect on our ability to connect with others and the resources available to make those connections. College students are still feeling those effects. It sounds like you did everything you could to become involved.

There’s also a misconception that going to a prestigious university guarantees a job offer upon graduation. That’s not necessarily the case, as you are experiencing. You will now have to, as many have before you, hit the pavement (so to speak) and look for a job. This is what most people have to do BTW, so there’s no shame in that game.

College is only four years of your life. Read that sentence to yourself on days when you feel like you need to hear it. You got through those four years - now brush yourself off, hit the reset button and commit to making the next 60-70 years of your life exactly how you want them.


After my husband and I got our master’s degrees in engineering, we sent out 273 letters all over the country, trying to get interviews. We got just a handful of responses, mostly people saying they had very little work and weren’t hiring. It was so discouraging. We were about to accept low-paying jobs when a company in Portland, Maine contacted us. We flew up for interviews and they hired both of us! That was 37 years ago and we’re so happy we landed in such a beautiful state. Persistence pays off.


Plenty of other people had a good time despite Covid

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I do know others who have been unhappy at UCLA, and some have transferred out. One 2021 HS grad who I know well left for similar reasons to OP’s…strict covid policies, being rejected from many clubs, and generally having a difficult time making friends. Others I know have been unhappy because they couldn’t change majors.

OP, do you need advice on approaching a job search? You can’t change your college experience, but there is still much to be doing regarding finding a job. If you want to share your goals and strategies, I am sure many posters would be happy to help, and many will have good advice. Good luck to you.


I just I wish I knew what went wrong with my college experience

I understand and I empathize, hugs to you. But, there’s nothing you can do about your experience of the last 3+ years at this point, and ruminating on it and dissecting things won’t allow you to move forward…which is what you need to do. IMO of course.

My heart goes out to you and I wish you the best of luck in finding an interesting job that you will be happy in. Again, lots of posters here who can advise, if you would like.


Has making friends, being included, always been an issue for you, or was college a weird 4 year blip? If it’s the former, it might be a good idea to sit with a therapist or someone who can be very honest with you.

I say this because I have a brother who desperately wants to be liked and included in everything, but struggles. He is the polar opposite of me who couldn’t care less. But, he is in his 50s. 40 years ago not much was known about Autism. He is definitely on the spectrum, but you might not realize it, he is so high functioning.

But he just has some reactions to things in social settings that many people find off putting. For example, if someone shows him something they’re proud of that they have done or made, he immediately jumps in with what they could have done better. In his mind, he’s helping! But they really just want a “great job!” Not a critique. Also, he sees people very black/white. If they do something he doesn’t like, they’re terrible people forever. Or if he feels he does something they don’t like, they will hate him forever.

Anyhow, I wish more was known about autism when we were growing up, so he could have learned some coping strategies. I didn’t realize how badly this hurt him - not feeling liked - until recently.

And if college was just a weird blip, then great! Forget the above. Graduate and move on! I would go to career services and see if they can help you with the job search.


I always struggle with this issue

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