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Submission: On the solemnness of solitude



Editor’s Note: The blog is pleased to announce that it accepts submissions from members of the campus community. Submissions can be thoughts and musings about the minutiae of life at UCLA and Los Angeles that make living and learning in Westwood a unique experience. Submissions can be sent to [email protected]

I can’t bear the thought of eating alone. God forbid myself if I don’t have somebody to eat with at Bruin Plate. Even worse, going to a concert. Can you imagine going to Bruin Bash by yourself, and not with your friends? Or how about the movies – have you guys seen “The Martian” yet? If not, want to come? Great.

Maybe I’ll join an on-campus organization. Like a club. Or a team sport. That does sound fun. Or perhaps a fraternity would work. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and have a group of men I can call my brothers. But something doesn’t feel quite right. Hooking up last night with that girl only made me feel more empty inside. What’s going on with me, and why do I feel this way? And worse yet, why do we keep telling ourselves that things will change, when nothing really does?

I was jogging alongside the track at Drake Stadium the other night, when I realized something. It wasn’t particularly profound or eye-opening, but it did make me stop and think for a while about how many of the things we do each day, the rituals we go through and the routines we encounter, the conversations we script and the interactions we fake, the activities we participate in, the ice-breakers, the small talk, the “What’s your major?”, so on and so forth – how many of these things are motivated by something else?

In the end, I think we’re all trying to escape something. And that something is the feeling of being alone. Of being lonely.

But who knows, I could be wrong. Maybe eating by myself at Bruin Plate isn’t the worst thing in the world. But next time I go there, you can bet I’ll try and spot the one person who’s not on their phone, scrolling through Instagram, sitting with a group of people or pretending to be doing something important on their laptop.

Because I’ve realized, that the more comfortable we get with being by ourselves, and being alone, the less lonely we actually, truly feel.

So ask yourself this – when was the last time you engaged in the world around you, by yourself, for yourself and with yourself?

It’s been a while for me.

Harold is a third-year anthropology student.

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Arts & Entertainment

#HashItOut Episode 3: Food and politics

(Kelly Brennan/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Kelly Brennan/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Join Social Media Director Francesca Manto and Digital Managing Editor Eldrin Masangkay for the third installment of #HashItOut. This episode covers a wide range of topics from #NationalDessertDay as the hosts discuss what the best dessert places are in Westwood to #DemDebate as they analyze highlights of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate.

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Mojo Asks Students

Free money on Free & For Sale STILL.jpg

Here’s a badly kept secret: the 23,000-plus member Free & For Sale Facebook group is the real center of UCLA’s campus community. Daily Bruin Video set out to find out just how seriously Bruins take the sometimes weird and outlandish things posted on the page by advertising a giveaway of dollar bills. The results did not disappoint.

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Throwback Thursday, Week 3: ‘The Jello President’

So-called "political outsiders" have always been appealing candidates for those disaffected with politics as usual. (Daily Bruin archives)
So-called "political outsiders" have always been appealing candidates for those disaffected with politics as usual. (Daily Bruin archives)

Whatever they are called – Washington outsiders, businesspeople, dark horses – Americans love the idea of politicians who clearly haven’t devoted their lives to being one.

The first Democratic Party primary debate was held Tuesday night in Las Vegas, meaning that the excessively lengthy presidential election cycle is now in full swing. We’re still at the stage in the process where all the anti-politicians are out and about.

During the 1992 election cycle, UCLA Extension staff member Marcus Hennessy thought the establishment – which, for the Democrats at the time, was comprised of now-California Gov. Jerry Brown and former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton – was a bore, and thought more unconventional and popular candidates of the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby would really spice things up.

Hennessy was writing satirically, but in 2015, his wish has partially been granted, with both parties featuring the unlikeliest of candidates – some of them to the dismay of rational Americans. There’s Donald Trump, the loud-mouthed business mogul and reality television star, who has captivated the country for all the wrong reasons, and Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has managed to defy popular impressions that doctors are intelligent. He stands little chance because he is attempting to capture a rapidly shrinking demographic.

Finally, there’s the gruff populist and self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Yes, he’s been involved in politics local and national for decades, but clearly remains a Washington outsider for political views that might be considered radical to some in this country, but are par for the course in much of Western Europe and Scandinavia. Sanders, at least, is interested in discussing income inequality rather than bloviating about himself.

While it seems dubious that any of these candidates could become president – though it’s really too early to say for sure – let’s not forget that California actually experienced the strangest sort of leadership, when actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger somehow edged out two realistic competitors in a wild 2003 recall election that also involved blogging guru Arianna Huffington, Gary Coleman and a porn star.

Considering that the ‘Governator’ could have done much worse as California’s leader, maybe Hennessy wasn’t totally wrong about electing outsiders to political office.

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