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Useful Pitches for USIE Seminars

March 4 is the last information session to learn more about the Undergraduate Student Initiated Education program. USIE allows interested juniors and seniors to design a one-unit lower division seminar to teach to other UCLA students. That’s right, you, an ordinary UCLA student, could add “teacher at the 12th best university in the world” to your resumé. Past seminar topics have included “Comic Books as Literature,” “Sociology of Facebook and Online Social Networks” and even “One Course to Rule Them All: Exploring J. R. R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings.’” In case you’re dying to create your own course but blanking on what your topic should be, here’s some suggestions:

1. Navigating the Endless Staircases of UCLA

Aimed at the newest additions to the Bruin family, this course teaches the skills needed to tackle the hills of campus. Learn the proper breathing techniques to use while powering through the last two flights of the classic Café 1919 “death stairs.” Analyze the proper geometric angles to position your legs, so you look like less of an idiot going down the “awkward stairs” by Covel. Discuss the proper icing procedures to soothe your newly enlarged calves. Explore alternative routes that cut down on staircase usage. You may have to allot more time for walking to class, but you’ll avoid the signature freshmen “I can’t believe I just climbed 250 stairs to get here” sweaty and distressed look.

2. The Science of Creating the Perfect Tinder Profile

Made obvious by the plethora of creepily too-close selfies and overused quotes, some people just don’t know what they are doing on Tinder. The class would be broken into small groups to evaluate the profiles of each individual student. Once you determine your strengths and weaknesses as a potential match, experts would come in to give guest lectures on a range of relevant topics like the “Do’s and Don’ts of Group Photos” and “How to Convey You’re Looking for Something Causal Without Coming Off Like a Creep.” By the end of the 10 weeks, you’ll have so many matches, you won’t know what to do with yourself. Be warned: you’re on your own for the actual date.

3. The Sport of Binge Watching

It is hip to claim to be a Netflix fanatic, but does everyone really know what it takes to watch an entire series in three days? One of the more active seminars, this class tackles the athletics behind laying down for hours on end. Students will be taught various exercises and stretches to avoid common injuries, such as eye strain and hand cramps. The second half of the course will highlight the essential food groups of a binge watcher’s diet: candy, chips and cookies. Final assessment includes watching 15 episodes of the student’s choosing while exhibiting all of the techniques learned throughout the quarter. This course really does bring a new meaning to “survival of the fittest.”

If you are inspired by any of these ideas, or have a few of your own, swing by Ackerman Union Room 3516 Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to hear more about the USIE program.

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Arts & Entertainment

Life Lessons Learned from the Oscars

Last night was the broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards, AKA the most prestigious cinematic awards show of the year. Besides the usual random knowledge of who is everyone’s plus-one and who made each person’s outfit, I actually picked up a couple life lessons applicable to the life of an average UCLA student. Who says you can’t actually learn anything from watching television?

1. Laugh, even when no one else is doing it

Laughter is like instant social lubricant; it can diffuse any awkward situation, even when that situation is a terribly told pun to a room of Hollywood’s most famous. In attempt to creatively introduce the next presenter, Reese Witherspoon, the host of the show, Neil Patrick Harris, said, “This next presenter is so lovely you could eat her up with her spoon.” *crickets* However, who could stay mad long when he flashes that gorgeous smile? His terrible joke managed to remind everyone to take themselves a little less seriously, something we all need to be reminded of from time to time. If all else fails, pull a Neil and just stick by your work, even if no one else is willing to do so.

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2. Call your parents

Let’s get a little sappy for a moment. It is easy in the hustle and bustle of exams, extracurriculars and napping, to forget about those people who just happened to take care of us for 18 years. Thanks to J.K. Simmons, Best Supporting Actor winner, the millions of people watching the broadcast were reminded to call up their biggest fans, their parents. This particular fandom may be small, and it may lack a catchy nickname, like Lovatics or Beliebers, but it is the most important one of all. Pro tip: follow Mr. Simmons’ advice closely and avoid texting a quick, “Hey, what’s up?” Using your phone for its actual intended purpose could be nice for a change.

3. Everything truly is awesome

College students are notorious for complaining about everything. Walking around campus is essentially a full-time job at UCLA, the curve can be a real challenge and the lines are actually ridiculous. However, the adorable and nostalgia-filled spectacle that was performance of The Lego Movie’s “Everything Is Awesome” helped put these daily annoyances into perspective. All that walking gives us super-toned calves, the long lines lead to delicious food and we are incredibly lucky to go to a school as highly academically renowned as UCLA. Plus, if dancers can jump around in cheesy, uncomfortable costumes on national television, then I can totally walk up a few stairs.

4. Don’t be afraid to voice your beliefs

Several stars used the worldwide exposure to promote something other than their favorite gown designer. Reese Witherspoon took to Instagram before the event to promote #AskHerMore, a movement centered around expanding the types of questions asked on the red carpet to female celebs. Steve Carell sported some #HeforShe cuff links, in support of the UN’s campaign for gender equality. Patricia Arquette called for America to step up its protection of equal rights for women in her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech.

You don’t have to be a powerful movie star to support an awesome cause, there are plenty of outlets on campus to get involved and make a difference. Who knows, you too could earn a celebratory hand point from the queen of cinema, Meryl Streep.

Yes Meryl, yes.

Did you watch the Oscars last night? Tell us what you thought in the comments below or tweet us at @dbmojo!

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