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Back to Sproul
J'aime Oberlander is a Castaic native and a commuting UCLA senior, which is a not so small demographic. A product of home-schooling, she became aware of her social ineptitude in high school. This interviewer is happy to report that she's obviously gotten passed that. Her first name is "J'aime", French for "I love"; her second name is "Rachel", which is biblical Hebrew for "lamb of God". When put together the names state, "I love the lamb of God", which she isn't ashamed to say she does.
She is part of the Undergaduate Biology Program on South Campus, but likes to spend a lot of time in North Campus (artsy) classes tickling the left side of her brain. Her short term goals are to finish her last year at UCLA strong and to find a job that she enjoys after graduation. Her long term goal is simply one: "To help provide the fundamental needs and rights that innocent children around the world deserve."
With only two weeks left until her senior year at UCLA kicks off, we were not too shy about asking her how she's dealing with it:
What stereotypes about UCLA students are true/false?
People say that UCLA students are competitive, and that is true. People also assume that every UCLA student is intelligent, which is not always the case.
One person I talked to equated being a student at UCLA with being a nameless fish in an ocean of achievers. Does it ever feel that way?
Absolutely. Some of the classes and professors at UCLA can be quite intimidating, but if you don't want to be a nameless fish then you have to take the initiative to put yourself out there and have your name be known.
If you could take a class on anything, what would it be?
I would take a class that involved watching people and observing their behavior from a distance. I can sit for hours and watch people. It's creepy, I know.
How can I say that without explaining, right? It's pretty intriguing to observe how parents deal with their children in public when they step out of line. But when I happen to catch a couple fighting over something it's pretty much the best situation I can think of. Fighting couples are my favorite. If someone is having a conversation with me in public and at the same time I begin to overhear a couple fighting, I completely miss the words coming from that person's mouth.
From where you live, how bad is the commute to class every morning?
It takes almost two hours in the morning to get to school, amidst nerve-wracking traffic. A bad day, which is not foreign to me at all, would be an accident on the freeway on my way to a midterm. On the way to my Psych 115 final there was a five car pile-up, I arrived on campus 45 minutes late and had forgotten all of my cash for parking. To make a short story long, I had to park on Veteran street, on the opposite side of campus from my final exam. I ran uphill across the entire campus while studying the whole way. By the time I got to class I was soaking with sweat. There was one seat left in the exam room and it had no damn table. I had to write the entire final on my knee.
You're stuck in traffic, it's not moving, and some guy who is trying to merge wedges in and cuts you off. What do you do?
I try to remain calm; I never honk my horn because I don't want to deal with reciprocal road rage. I try to remain calm, but then I usually yell out a stream of curses. Then I fantasize cutting him off but it never plays out that way in reality.
What do you hate about the Ackerman cafeteria at lunch time?
At lunch time it's almost impossible to find a table. And there's hot, sweaty bodies everywhere rubbing against you while you wait in line for a taco. Once you do manage to find a table, by the grace of God, you have to sit without your friends, next to a man of unidentifiable age, who has largely noticeable body odor, and constantly grunts while reading hippy literature of days long gone.
When I asked about your future goals, you stated that you want to commit yourself to upholding children's' rights. There are children in Los Angeles who are living under conditions that many regret to acknowledge. What specific rights do we need to uphold for these children?
Education and civil rights for children are an important issue in Los Angeles; they get a lot of press. But when I stated my goals I was talking about the fundamental needs that are necessary for every child. Shelter, proper nutrition, medicine; these are all things that children not only in the Third World are struggling to find, but also here in Los Angeles.
As a science student, is your iPod full of Mozart or hardcore rap?
Neither. I listen to some gangster rap just like every other suburban white girl, but I like to also mix in trashy pop music − it puts me in a good mood. I pretend like I don't but I do. Like every Bruin, I feign that I listen to sophisticated Indie Rock but when I'm listening to my iPod alone I am listening to Justin Timberlake... and.... are you really going to make me say it? Danity Kane....
Are Bruin or Trojan guys hotter?
Interviewer: "Excuse me?!"
Well, they're rich. And I don't mean money makes me wanna' jump their bones. It just means that they can afford to buy nice hair products, get manicures, and shop on Third Street Promenade. Trust me, if I had money I'd be a lot hotter myself.
Are you angry that Diddy Riese raised their ice cream sandwich price by a quarter?
I didn't even know that they raised their prices. My introduction to Diddy Riese was quite lame actually. My friend hyped it up, saying "You're a Bruin now, you have to have it!" I tried it and told her "This is actually pretty good." And....I haven't been back since. Honestly though, I don't really like cookies at all.
Photo by Henry David
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