Let's see...for starters, let me share a little bit of my Bruin background. I transferred in Fall '00 from L.A. City College and entered as a Psych major. I initially thought I'd be a clinical psychologist and tried to make Franz Hall my home. Later I realized that my calling is in education and decided to complete the Education Studies Minor & Applied Developmental Psych Minor. It made sense at that time because I planned to become a high school science teacher.
After graduation, I took the very popular "year off" to mull over life goals, prepare for various tests like the GRE and CSET, and submit applications to different schools of education. Like any college graduate, I needed some form/source of income and that led me to holding 4 part-time jobs located in the farthest corners of Los Angeles (all of which were education-related). Upon realizing that my paychecks were being funneled to my Chevron gas card due to the enormous amount of driving I had to do and that I needed some form of health coverage, I began to search for one full-time job. That's when I landed a position as a Student Affairs Officer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS). 'Twas a credential counselor position which allowed me to work vicariously with teacher education graduate students. Consequently, my "year off" turned into two & a half years off. And my goal of becoming a teacher shifted to a goal of becoming a university professor.
In Fall '05, I began the M.A. program in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA while still working full-time in GSE&IS. [One tip to future UCLA employees: the university pays for 2/3 of your tuition if you're admitted to any academic program on campus.] I finished my M.A. in '07 and I'm now enrolled in that school across town, the name of which true Bruins dare not mention here. I'm in my 2nd year in the Ph.D. program in Urban Education, with a concentration in Higher Ed. [Another tip: the school across town offers full funding for 4 years. This means that tuition is covered and students receive a monthly stipend for living expenses.]
All that being said, I hope I can be a resource for you as you go through the ropes of being an undergrad and as you ponder post-graduation objectives. Even though I had an inkling of what I wanted to do after my B.A., I certainly didn't have a straightforward path that led to my current graduate program. There were many twists, U-turns, 3-point turns, somersaults, and most inevitably emotional rollercoasters too. These twists and turns still take place until today as I figure out my dissertation topic and what I want to do with a Ph.D. in education. I'd be happy to chit chat with you about curiosities you might have about life after UCLA or also possibly connect you with the other old PTSP fogeys who are in specific fields you intend to pursue. There are a handful of other alums from '03 and back who are still in the area and who may be able to share their insights too.
I'm always on e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and look forward to hearing from you.