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Live Blog: Graduation 2013

Today, UCLA says goodbye to the Class of 2013. Even though classes are over and Hill residents are gone for the summer, campus is vibrating with the energy of eager graduating students and their proud families. Below are some highlights from Sunday’s graduation ceremonies. Congrats, Class of 2013!

9:15 a.m. Traffic has died down and Bruin Plaza seems rather empty, but hundreds of families are packed into campus, watching the ongoing ceremonies, including political science, ecology and evolutionary biology, mathematics and history. Environmental science student Kymberly Alvarez (right) waits for her graduation to begin as her proud dad dons a blue mask and beads.

9:30 a.m. A long line is forming outside of Royce Hall for the communication studies graduation ceremony. Our very own blogger Kassy Cho is waiting near the front because she knows a thing or two about the long lines at UCLA.

9:59 a.m.  Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics students do one last 8 clap before graduating. Their chants echo throughout Powell Courtyard.

10:15 a.m. “We have 10 times as many bacteria in our bodies than we do actual cells,” Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics Department Chair Jeffrey Miller said during his welcome speech at the graduation ceremony, in which he used recent findings and facts about microbes to tell students that “learning is a lifelong endeavor.”

10:45 a.m. The Inverted Fountain is getting more and more crowded as the day goes on. Some students are too excited to wait and jump right in, as others strategize and wait to get the best spot for photos. Biology student Kelsey Bullock and economics student Chris Murt (right) make their way in for a quick photo and cool down.

11:00 a.m. 

Everyone around is chuckling at biology student Cristina Ta’s witty cap decoration that reads “HIRE ME.”

“At first, I put it on my cap because I thought it would be funny. It wasn’t until yesterday that I found out it was reality,” Ta said. “I spent four hours looking at job listings online and realized it’s difficult with just a Bachelor’s degree.”

11:15 a.m. History student Emily Mason and english student Jared Speier set up a picnic in front of Schoenberg Hall during the down time between their ceremonies.

11:30 a.m. There is an information tent located in Bruin Plaza to answer questions about today’s events. Most people are asking for help finding a parking garage or the location of a ceremony.

The information staff told us the strangest question they have received is “Where is a playground for my kids?” Um, we’re in college. We don’t have recess and playgrounds (except in our dreams).

If you’re looking for coffee to help you get through the day, Kerckhoff Coffee House is open.

If you want to buy or return a graduation sash, you can go the Campus Photo Studio in Ackerman Union (right).

12:15 p.m. The lawns in front of Perloff Hall and Janss Steps are now empty. The English Department’s graduation is the last ceremony left and will take place in Pauley Pavilion at 1:30 p.m.






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The Best Spots for Graduation Portraits

You’ve probably hurried through the background of at least a few graduation photo shoots on your way to Powell Library this week. Janss Steps, the Shapiro Fountain and Royce Hall seem to be the most popular backdrops for iconic UCLA graduation photos. But if you want to stand out from the rest of the UCLA grads, try some of these other spots for your photos.

Sculpture Garden

Political science graduating student Devon King had his photos taken by a friend in the Sculpture Garden. The trees blooming with purple flowers make for a vibrant and happy backdrop. “I think the Sculpture Garden is one of the most beautiful places on campus and I’m a poli sci (student) so I’ve spent a lot of time up here,” King said. Choosing places on campus, North or South, where you spend the most time can make your photos more personal to your UCLA experience.

Richard Serra Sculpture

Graduating student Tina Nguyen and her friends chose to take photos in front of the Richard Serra Sculpture near Broad. “It’s one of the more  industrial looking places on campus and the color makes our white clothes stand out,” Nguyen said, before her group moved on to take photos in the tree-covered pathway near the Sculpture Garden.

Bruin Bear

Before you leave UCLA for good, take your chance to mount the Bruin Bear. Applied mathematics student Jor-el scrambled his way atop the bear for the first of his grad photos. Keep in mind that it’s a lot harder to get up than down, and you might need a photographer who’s willing to give you a boost.

Royce Hall / Janss Steps (at sunset)

Sure, everyone knows that the top of Janss Steps is the place to go for photos, but go at sunset to give your portraits an extra special ambiance. Political science student Cecelia Runyon and psychology student Sheryl Lee (right) quickly snap away to catch a perfectly lit shot. The sun setting on the dorms behind you in your cap and gown will be the ultimate image to end your time at UCLA with.

Where are you taking your graduation photos? Comment below or tweet us @dbmojo.


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How to Decorate Your Cap for Graduation

At graduation, how will you stand out among the sea of black caps and gowns? Serena Lee, a fourth-year communication studies student, decided to decorate her graduation cap with an Ellen Degeneres inspired card stock design, but armed with a glue gun and a little bit of imagination, you can use anything to make your cap an avant-garde work of art. Check out the video above to see how Serena did it and get inspired.

What made you want to design your graduation cap?

Many of my semester college friends have already graduated. When I saw pictures of their graduation caps, I thought, “Wow, that’s smart. I want to do that!”

What design did you choose for your cap? What was the inspiration for it? 

Ellen DeGeneres is a huge influence on my life. I practice Acts of Kindness. I strongly believe that kindness can change the world for the better. After the Rutgers University student committed suicide because he was outed for his sexuality, Ellen discussed bullying on her show. Since then, she changed the way she ends her shows. Every day at the end of her talk show, Ellen looks at the camera and says “Be kind to one another.”

I chose a cap decoration that highlights my role model, Ellen DeGeneres, and sends a positive message to other folks.

My design is:

“Be Kind to one another”

- @theellenshow

What materials did you use to put the decorations on?

I chose black , blue/teal/green glitter, gold and silver card stock. My friend Jenny who graduated from UC Berkeley this year had a really cool cap and she told me that she made her design using card stock .

Personally, I love simple, classic styles so I didn’t want to go too overboard with flashy glitter. I chose teal because my dress has hints of teal and Ellen Degeneres’s logo is teal-colored.

Are you planning to decorate your graduation cap? Tweet us a photo @dbmojo.

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Graduating blogger Kassy Cho’s farewell (love) letter to Mojo

My dearest Mojo,

There’s something I have to tell you. Just yesterday, I wrote my last real post for you. It’s time for us to part ways. I know, this is terrifying, but it still hasn’t hit me. Blasting soppy break-up songs on repeat didn’t work either. Regardless, I want to tell you how much I adore you.

You gave me a legitimate reason to spend time on Facebook and Wikipedia. You fueled my geeky obsession with obscure historical facts, movies, binary (even though I still don’t fully get it) and hyperlinking.

I can proudly say that I’ve been trapped in mobs of crying students, Bradley Cooper fans and Jensen Ackles’ Twitter fans (I don’t even watch “Supernatural”) for you.

I took unending pictures of unending lines of waiting student for you. I scoured the interwebz for story ideas for you. Because of you, I was on a Twitter-handle basis with the UCLA libraries (I see you retweeting me, @UCLA_Powell).

  • I
  • made
  • lists
  • for
  • you

And whenever I needed an extra dose of that adrenaline rush, I knew I could depend on you. You would always be there with a live blog, a live tweet or a person in a tree (the one story that we didn’t actually cover).

I remember talking about you with Kate more than a year and a half ago. When I got involved with you, I never imagined it would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship and subsequent love affair with new media.

I have James, Devin and “Mojo Mama” Kate to thank for that. James encouraged me to go to you when I was confused about what I wanted to do, and Devin and Kate welcomed me with open arms.

After our first story, I knew it was something special. There was something about you that made me feel right at home. Maybe it was being with a bunch of cool bloggy kids who knew what I was talking about or maybe it was because there was never a dull moment or a boring story I didn’t like writing for you.

I will miss those Sunday evenings when we’d all sit around Kate’s living room with our green Patch pens and talk about you. I will miss running around campus with every piece of technological equipment I own to “Mojo it” for you.

I like to think of you as the mini Google of UCLA. If ever I saw something cool on campus, I could go to you, and you would know what it was. Just as people were told to “Google it,” us bloggers were told to “Mojo it.” And I look forward to the day that you officially become a verb (although you are already on Wikipedia).

It’s true; I had hoped we would grow old together. But it’s been real, Mojo. You’ve become such a huge part of my short time at UCLA, and now when it comes to it, I don’t quite know how to say goodbye.

But there you have it, Mojo. This is my love letter to you. Thank you for helping me discover who I am, for the crazy stories and for all the times you stubbornly refused to format things correctly on WordPress. We’ve both come so far since then. So yes, it’s bittersweet, and no, I don’t know if I’m ready, but I can’t think of a better way to bid you farewell than with a quote from a film (typical). So, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Love always,


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Graduating blogger Mike Bedard reflects on his time at UCLA in a final post

I came to UCLA as a transfer, so I’ve only had two years to enjoy the campus and student life this school has to offer.

The week I moved in, I started looking for clubs to get involved with, one of which was The Daily Bruin. It seemed like a great opportunity to be a part of the student community as well as put everything I’ve learned as an English major to use. But then something tragic and completely unforeseen happened … I missed the deadline.

I thought the deadline was a week later than it actually was, so my application wasn’t finished. “Oh well,” I thought. I moved on, joined some other clubs, did an internship, and I carried on with life.

At the beginning of my senior year, I wasn’t thinking about joining The Daily Bruin at all. It wasn’t that journalism no longer appealed to me. My brain was just too busy exploding from the euphoria of being accepted into James Franco’s creative writing class. So that was kind of a big deal, that I proceeded to tell all my friends about (some of whom still don’t believe I was actually in the class). And then something unexpected happened.

I received a text from Kate Parkinson-Morgan saying she was from The Daily Bruin and that she had heard I was taking the Franco class. She wanted me to write for the relatively new blog called Mojo.

My first thought was, “How did this chick get my phone number?” (It turns out we had a mutual friend, so it wasn’t as creepy as I initially thought.) My second thought was, “Man, I haven’t even gone to the first class yet, and I’m already famous!” My second thoughts always tend to be on the narcissistic side. My third thought was, “I’m hungry,” so I grabbed some Fat Sal’s, and after I had eaten, I remembered Kate’s text, so I responded and said I’d be willing to meet to talk more about this opportunity.

We chatted for a bit, and eventually, Kate convinced me to apply to The Daily Bruin, and I’m so glad I did. While sometimes I have indulged myself by writing about subjects I am familiar with like writing, books, and movies, I’ve also challenged myself to go out and find stories that aren’t really in my realm of expertise like assisting in coverage of the 2012 presidential election (although I mainly watched comedians tell Mitt Romney jokes that night, so maybe it was within my realm of expertise after all).

I’m very grateful for my time here at UCLA and at The Daily Bruin. My only regret is that I couldn’t have been here longer. I’d also like to thank Kate for reaching out to me and thinking every little thing I did with James Franco was interesting. I feel like there’s no advice or parting words I could give you that haven’t already been said or wouldn’t come across as cliche, so to help all of you current students with your remaining time at UCLA, I’d like to leave you with three sentences that will get you through life, courtesy of Homer Simpson.

Number one: “Cover for me.” Number two: “Oh, good idea, boss.” Number three: “It was like that when I got here.”

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