Former Bruin, Brielle Nguyen, took time to answer fan questions exclusively for UCLA Gym Source! She tells us why she decided to transfer to UCLA, why she’s thankful for her time at Illinois and the major differences between both schools. Enjoy!
What are your plans now that you are done with college at UCLA?
Now that I am done with school, I’ve been studying for the LSAT and applying to different law schools! It has been by far one of the most challenging things that I have ever set my mind to, but I love the challenge and I am willing to do anything I can to follow my dream career. I’m super excited for the future.
How are you holding up during this quarantine?
I’m actually doing pretty well. But to be completely honest with you, it was really rough for me in the beginning since I’m such an extrovert and HATE being in the house, but now that I’ve found my groove of things, it has been amazing. The key for me is to wake up early and create a daily routine that keeps me as busy as possible.
What made you decide to transfer to UCLA?
I love this question!! I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life and as you can imagine, Illinois and California are very far from one another. It took me four hours to fly to Chicago and from Chicago I had to take another hour flight to Champaign. So naturally, I was getting extremely homesick and decided that it would be a better idea if I went to school closer to home. UCLA was always my dream school, so I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to follow my dream. A lot of people have this misconception that I left Illinois because I didn’t enjoy it, but that is not the case AT ALL. Illinois was the BEST experience of my life and I’ll never forget my freshman and sophomore year there. I feel like I say this over and over, but it is so true. Without Illinois, I would have never been able to experience UCLA. Coming from club, I was not a strong-minded gymnast and I’m not going to say that I was a bad gymnast, but I wasn’t at my fullest potential. My strength was not there, my mind was not there, overall I was just not prepared for collegiate gymnastics and not the best gymnast that I could possibly be for my team. It took me two years of hard training to finally be where I wanted to be in my gymnastics. When I did decide to transfer, I was ready mentally, physically, emotionally to come into a new team as my best student-athlete self. Always thankful for all of my Illini coaches, Kim Landrus, Kristina Comforte, Maci Sump, Chad Weist, and Jake Lee for being the best ever and providing me the right coaching and training to reach this potential.
What were the main differences between Illinois and UCLA?
There are so many big differences, I feel like both schools are complete opposites, but here are some random differences! Illinois was definitely a huge college town. I used to have a pink moped in Illinois because campus was huge and everything was so spread out. UCLA is definitely a lot smaller, you can walk from one side of campus to the other side within 25 minutes. Looking at the academic aspect, Illinois is semester-based which is 16 weeks long while UCLA uses the quarter system which is 10 weeks long. Both schools are very rigorous in their own way. I always get questions about my preference between the semester and quarter system, and I do prefer the semester system since all of the material is dispersed out. For me personally, it feels like I am learning everything at a slower pace compared to the quarter system! For training, it was completely different, as well! One of the biggest differences was that Illinois had practice scheduled in the afternoon while UCLA was bright and early in the morning.
What do you miss most about UCLA?
I MISS LITERALLY EVERYTHING. I miss my friends and being able to see them whenever I want. I miss the coaches. I miss Pauley Pavillion. I miss living on my own. I can go on and on and on!
What do you miss most about competing?
I definitely miss performing with the gorgeous leos and doing what I love with the people I love.
What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Funny story. So back in 2018, I did say that I was going to start a YouTube channel but it never fell through. I just really wanted to live in the moment during that time…literally felt so magical! But now that I’m done with gymnastics and have all the time in the world, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to open up and give people some type of entertainment or knowledge. I love helping others in any way that I can, and I feel like I’ve learned so much in the past couple of years and would love to share it with everyone.
What was your favorite moment in your JO career? Favorite moment from UCLA?
I actually do not have a single moment in my JO career that was my favorite. I feel like my entire club experience had such a family and loving feel that it made me have so much fun every day. So with that being said, I would say being able to be in that type of culture was my favorite “moment”.
There are so many fun moments that I’ve made at UCLA, but by far winning Nationals in 2018 is one of my top experiences ever. To be able to come into my dream school was already a huge accomplishment and I was so grateful for that opportunity, but to be able to win the national championship a couple months later, that’s a whole ‘nother level of crazy. I’m still in shock to be quite honest.
Favorite UCLA leo?
My favorite leo is the black bandeau leotard that we wore at 2018 PAC-12S! SO BEAUTIFUL WITH THE MESH AND ALL 🙂