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UCLA First Year Experience

Each year, The Common Experience selects a title for the Bruin community to read, listen or watch together centered around a common theme. Our mission is to ignite campus-wide discussions on compelling social issues and inspire action within the Bruin community.

Goals of The Common Experience program include:

  • To share and understand diverse perspectives in a respectful way
  • To build a community of intellectually engaged learners
  • To explore the role we play in creating a just society
  • To consider critical action steps that can be taken in response to your common experience at UCLA

During Winter and Spring quarters, students, faculty, staff, and alumni are able to participate in discussions and programming about the selected work and related issues based on the theme.

This Year's Selected Work

The 2020-2021 Common Experience theme is Minds Matter: A Focus on Mental Health. BoJack Horseman, a Netflix animated series, has been selected as the UCLA Common Experience title for the 2020-2021 academic year for its compelling portrayal of mental wellness.

BoJack Horseman tells the story of a former 90s sitcom star attempting to revitalize his career while battling with substance abuse and his own mental health struggles. The series gives a raw portrayal of mental illness, the profound effects of loneliness, and the power of reinventing oneself. Further themes presented in the series include social media, cultural identity, first generation students, and parenting.

Those interested can access the series through the Netflix website with a paid subscription to the site.

Learn more about BoJack Horsemanhere. To access resources about BoJack Horseman, including a facilitation guide with guided thematic discussion questions, and supportive text here.

More About The Common Experience at UCLA

Established in 2008 by Dr. David Gere and Bridget Collier, The Common Experience at UCLA (formerly known as The Common Book Program), was created for first-year undergraduate students to connect with one another through group discussion and year-long programming based on a common book.

What started as a “think tank” program within a small community of students in Hedrick Summit, then became a way for students to engage in conversations around global citizenship and cultural competency. Through year-long programs and seminar-based discussions, students were able to translate themes from the first Common Book, Mountains beyond Mountains by Dr. Tracy Kidder, into positive high-impact actions that improved the UCLA community.

While the mission has remained the same, The Common Experience at UCLA has expanded beyond just first-year students and now connects the entire UCLA community through innovate programming, collaborative partnerships, and inspirational dialogue centered on a common theme.

Dr. David Gere - UCLA Video

Announcement 1: Shaneli Video

Mountains Video

Zeitoun Video

Immortal Life Video

The Other Video

Pedro Video

Never had it made Video

Bad Feminist Video

Between The World Video

The Best Video

Announcement 2: Belen Video