By KYLIE BUCK
CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL

Bruin pride pulses through my veins: My iPod plays the UCLA fight song, my wardrobe is accessorized with Bruin gear, my laptop displays a picture of Royce Hall as the wallpaper.
I first visited the UCLA campus when I was a freshman on one of the many campus tours that I took with my sister. As a small 14-year-old, college seemed to be in my distant future. I saw the tours as adventures to different schools rather than places that could be my future home.

Kylie Buck, a recent Casa Grande High School graduate

Entering my sophomore year, I continued to pack my schedule with challenging courses. However, my academic drive was not yet solidified: I didn’t have solid goals that I was working toward and did not understand the amount of work it took to succeed and be competitive in a class with other students who were so strong academically. This was reflected in the grades I received on my report card. They were not the straight A’s that I had received since the fourth grade.
Good grades no longer were going to be easy to achieve. I began to realize that I would have to make some changes in my work ethic if I was going to achieve high expectations, and I started to work harder in all of my courses.
Junior year I decided that I did not want to be limited in my future plans because of choices I made during high school. I buckled down and focused on school, making sure that I worked as hard as I could on each assignment, each project and each test.
Over spring break my Mom and I spontaneously took a road trip down to visit UCLA. I instantly fell in love. The traditional brick buildings were perfect; the enthusiastic school spirit and successful athletic programs were perfect; the outstanding academic caliber was perfect. I could not imagine spending four years of college anywhere else.
While I knew it was dangerous to desire a school that was so competitive, it was a risk that had to be taken. Every choice I made after that visit I made sure would help me to get into UCLA. That school was my priority. Through hours of community service, SAT courses and college applications, I kept my focus on the school and the happiness that would come with my acceptance.
It is important to have goals in life, something to strive for, so that each decision and action has purpose. Without this, there is nothing to push people to work harder and reach their full potential. Achieving goals is not easy, but there is nothing more satisfying than being rewarded for the hard work and personal sacrifice.
The spirit I have for UCLA doesn’t stem solely from my love for the school. My Bruin pride is a tribute to the hard work I put in over the past four years and encouragement for younger students not to give up.
I regret nothing. Imperfections are scattered across my transcript. However, these are the flaws that mark my uniqueness. I’m going to spend the next four years at UCLA and plan to love every minute of it, even in the tiny triple I will be sharing. So watch for me cheering on the sidelines of the basketball and football games, studying amidst students late in Powell Library and throwing my cap high in the air at graduation in 2014.