Why The US? – Elina Lua Ming (UCLA ’20)

Introducing our second member of the 2017 core committee – meet Elina! A current freshman at UCLA intending to declare a major in Economics or Cognitive Science, Elina has a myriad of other interests that include fitness and fine arts. Read to find out how the U.S. education system can accommodate anybody’s wide range of interests, just like how it has to Elina’s!

Why The US?


Simply put, I wanted to hone my logical precision and improve on consolidating my thoughts.

Thing is, I did not know how to achieve this so I thought that it’d be nice to pursue my tertiary education and be able to gain a wide array of knowledge from various subjects whilst still concentrating on a particular subject of my interest for the completion of my degree.

I love fine arts very much. Knowing that the height of athleticism is acquired through proprioception which helps athletes excel in their sports as well as knowing that contemplating on and understanding the characteristics of materials and properties of available resources helps artists create works that optimize the potentials of their resources and materials guided me throughout my childhood and I grew up thinking that an artist’s aptitude is defined by his or her technical precision and visual acuity. I spent my entire life thinking about spaces such as —- inter alia, spaces between my friends’ hairlines and eyebrows, spaces between my parents’ shoulders, spaces occupied by people, spaces between people, and spaces between spaces. This perspective has helped me improve my technical proficiency significantly as I traversed through my school years. Nonetheless, somehow the knowledge that I have acquired about technical precision and spatial familiarity never seemed to make me content; I felt that I was severely lacking mental precision and my thoughts were not in order. The divergence of my thought process lacks absolute convergence. My intuition told me that perhaps in order to improve on my thought process, I should expand the circumference of my existing knowledge by learning about many different things and take as many different classes as possible. The flexibility in tertiary education in the U.S. seemed like a perfect fit for me, so I applied to the US, and voila! I’m already completing my freshman year at UCLA.

I definitely did not regret my decision of coming to UCLA. UCLA’s a very, very big school and there is no doubt anyone here would feel like he or she is just a number amongst the other 31,000 bright undergraduates. However, if anything, the crowdedness of this place has given me a lot of room for self-reflection, reading, and recalibration of my thought compass. The breadth and depth of classes that I have been taking here throughout my freshman year have helped me think better as a person. As ironic as it sounds, the divergence of the knowledge that I’ve acquired here seems to be leading me to some sort of convergence of thoughts. They might seem irrelevant and unparalleled with my artistic goals, but I definitely feel like a better thinker now. Nowhere else but the U.S. would I be able to find the opportunity to take a multivariable calculus class, learn the basics of C++, study the origins of Abrahamic religions, justify the moral behind infidelity in an English writing class, discuss my thoughts on Michael Sandel’s trolley car problem, listen to Behnam Sadeghi analyze the logic of religion scientifically, all in one academic year.

California has been a wonderful place for me, not just academically, but also athletically. I’ve always been athletic since I was very little, and California has plenty of athletic activities to offer. I absolutely love hiking and camping in the national parks here. Having been overseas only a few times before coming to LA, I feel superbly blessed to be able to see and do a myriad of things here and I genuinely hope that everyone else will be able to experience the blessings that I have experienced.

This is Arizona, not California!!

If you have any questions on UCLA, arts, camping, hiking, and other random things, feel free to hit me up! If you’re into hitting the gym (be it lifting and/or cardio) and anything athletic, we’d be good friends too!

Come say hello to me at USAPPS!!! 🙂