Beautiful Minds

When I came to Cal Day last year as an anxious senior in high school trying to decide on which school to commit to, I was waiting for that one wow factor to solidify my decision. Walking along Sproul and talking to Cal students from all parts of the world really opened my eyes. I knew right then that I could never pass up this opportunity to learn alongside such diverse people and take advantage of the wide range of perspectives.

In my time here at Cal, I have to say that the one thing I love most and eagerly look forward to everyday is meeting new people. I never would have imagined that my best friend would be a student from Southern California studying Integrative Biology but also actively seeking to understand the bridge between society and language, or that my roommate would be an international student from Turkey with more to say about feminism than your average American protestor. Just the other day I was at Golden Bear Cafe and I met someone in the line who had actually met with President Obama and Michelle Obama for a youth conference. We purchased our coffees and ended up talking outside for an hour about the major flaws in the American healthcare system. read more

Secret Life of an RA

So we’ve all probably heard of that weird acronym called “RA” before, right? Well, RA stands for Resident Assistant. RAs are older students who live in the residence halls and help new and continuing students become accustomed to campus. The RA also puts on events to build community among the floor of students.
Whether you are a current Berkeley student, or alumni of Berkeley, you will probably never forget your first RA’s name. Freshman year, I lived in Unit 3 Norton, and my RA’s name was Miki. I lived on an all-girl’s floor, so I’m sort of confused how a majority of my friends at Berkeley are male… but that’s beside the point. During my freshman year, I really loved meeting everyone on the floor and in my building. The residence hall was such an easy place to meet new people and make new friends because we all shared a communal bathroom together and had numerous lounges to hang out in. From game nights to birthday parties, we all became super close friends. Being an out-of-state student and not knowing anyone at Berkeley, I really appreciated the opportunity to meet a bunch of people, especially because I know I will be friends with them for life.
My entire experience in the residence hall my freshman year is why I wanted to be an RA. I was super interested in putting on events to help my residents build the same community and friendships that I was able to have my freshman year. This year, I am an RA at Clark Kerr Campus to 55 first-year students. I love all of my residents. Getting to know everyone’s interests, quirks, likes, and dislikes has been such a rewarding part of this experience. I truly feel like I can be friends with my residents after they move out of the hall at the end of the semester. Seeing these first-year students grow from a fresh-faced, just-out-of-high school student who may be experiencing freedom for the first time, to a more mature, studious student who is discovering their identities has been amazing to observe.
Being an RA and having all of these new experiences is a great talking point when meeting new people. Many friends usually ask if I have any crazy RA stories (I do) or they ask if I have ever written anybody up (I have). In addition to creating community and helping students adjust, the RA is also responsible for documenting residence hall policy violations. This job can be very stressful during emergency situations or just living in the residence hall in general and hearing students being loud in the hallways passed quiet hours. But, all of this is what makes the RA job truly unique: it is definitely a hands- on learning experience.
The RA is the mother bird and all of our residents are our little chicks. I’m going to be sad when my current residents move out at the end of the semester into other living situations, but I will be excited for the upcoming group of residents that I will get next fall! read more

Rushing through Rushing

If in high school, college me traveled back in time and at some part in our conversation casually mentioned that I would be in a sorority, I can’t honestly tell you how I would’ve taken it.  Knowing me, as one does so well, I probably would have laughed thinking it was a joke. But if I were to guess, I would have tried to espouse the parables and triumphs of this “sisterhood” thing we all (“all” being a small minority of Cal’s population) pledged ourselves to, in a conversation something like this. read more

Inclusivity on Campus: UC Berkeley Women’s Ultimate

As a new freshman, walking through the UC Berkeley clubs fair can be intimidating. Our campus holds a literal gluttony of opportunity, seemingly offering every niche student organization in existence. Many of these clubs and teams compete at the top of their level, and it was unnerving to think how I would fit into the program. Luckily, I found my place in the inclusive community of the Pie Queens, Cal’s Women’s Club Ultimate team.

The Pie Queens are run unlike most other Cal club sports. Since ultimate frisbee is not a sport typically offered at high schools, no prior experience is expected. In the fall, the program works on a no-cut basis, with any UC Berkeley student being invited and encouraged to join. Rookies play alongside experienced athletes who teach and encourage new players, working 1 on 1 to develop skills and strategy. We do everything any club sport at Cal does: travel to tournaments, attend socials and outings, and train under world-class coaches (some of whom are literally on the U.S. world’s team). This model of inclusivity and encouragement is vital to the development of widely successful spring “A” team, who go on to play at the college national championships. A no-cuts spring “B” team continues to play competitively, offering a perfect environment to continue learning developing skills. read more

Making a home away from home

No one is going to lie to you and say that moving away from home is easy. Everything you have become so accustomed to for the last 18 plus years changes, and suddenly you are in a foreign place, starting a whole new life
The adjustment leaving my small town in Southern California coming here to Berkeley was made a little bit easier by the fact that my two older siblings had just left the year before. Everything had already changed when they left, so after a full year of being the oldest in the house, I totally thought I was ready to move away from home and be independent. While I definitely was ready, I could have never predicted how hard it was going to be on my own.
There were so many things that I never realized I appreciated so much until I started to live on my own: my mom washing my sheets for me, someone always making sure that I ate meals, and just that warm fuzzy feeling of familiarity. For the first few weeks, I was so homesick that I started to wonder whether I should’ve gone to school closer to home.
However, I was determined to have the amazing college experience so many people talk about, and I knew that it was going to be the decisions I made which affected how the next four years of my life went.
Looking back now, so incredibly happy at this school and feeling truly at home in Berkeley, I can’t believe I ever felt unhappy in this place. I can definitely accredit my change of heart to certain things I did. I joined a sorority, which gave me a literal home to have meals, do laundry, and enjoy the presence of the 150 girls who I got to call my friends. It also gave me so many mentors who were eager and willing to help me find my passion and do well in school. I also found a research position in the Museum of Vertebrae Zoology, an area outside of my major but still something I was extremely passionate about. Anytime I feel stressed, I can go into the MVZ and escape by looking at some of the amazing artifacts which we keep in our collections. Most of all, I think the thing that helped me feel so at home here in Berkeley was finding people who shared similar values as me. They brought a sense of familiarity, while also becoming some of the most important people in my life.
My parents have been calling me out lately for calling Berkeley, “home”, while my town in SoCal is just a trip I make every now and then. I am so happy in this eclectic place called Berkeley, and it is such an important part of my being. It is home. read more

How to Manage Your Time

Have you ever been stressed out about the number of things that must be done every single day? Have you ever found yourself forgetting events or rushing to finish a homework assignment? Believe it or not, each day, there are way more students than you could ever imagine struggling to complete their daily tasks.

A lot of the times, students say, “Where did the time go? If only I had a couple more hours, I would be able to finish what I had planned to accomplish today.” I know from my own experience that whenever I encounter this problem, it is usually because of poor time management on my part. Ever since I started college, I suddenly realized that there are too many places to be and things to do for me to keep track of them in my own head. I realized that I needed to use another system that would keep me more organized. read more

Our Golden Years

At the start of every semester, every student gets a completely new schedule and has the opportunity to explore completely new interests by joining new clubs and meeting more of their fellow golden bears. When it gets closer to the middle of the semester, and in the heart of midterm season, it can be easy to focus on the academic pressure and forget about all of the amazing things happening at Cal. In order for these four years to truly be our golden years, we need to make sure to capitalize on these opportunities. read more

College Decisions and Everything in Between

Thank you for applying to the University of California, Berkeley. The Office of Admissions carefully reviewed you application and we are not able to offer you admission at this time . . . we would like to offer you a position on our wait list for potential openings that may become available for admission for the 2016-2017 academic school year.

This was a common email I received during my college decision process because I was waitlisted at a majority of the 11 schools that I had applied to. Throughout high school, I was super involved, from interning at NASA to working in Congress, myself, as well as many other high school seniors similar to me, thought we were shoo-ins for all of the prestigious universities. read more

How to Conquer Finals

Has studying for finals been getting you down? Do you need a break? Or a place to scream off your frustrations? Look no further; these are just a few ways my friends and I get through our finals studying.

First, you should have a plan. I choose what days I’ll be focusing on my different classes, and I’ll put all review sessions, office hours, and assignment due dates in my agenda to ensure I stay on top of my finals studying. I recommend looking at the Student Learning Center website and seeing if the SLC is holding any additional review sessions for your classes. Then you have to allow yourself to schedule time to relax. Breaks ensure that the material has time to settle in your memory and revitalizes your mind for new topics. read more

RRR Week: Reading, Review, and Readying for Finals

The notable North Reading Room in Doe Library

For students, the week before finals week is a time for studying and relaxing before the tests take us over. Reading, Review, and Recitation Week, RRR Week for short, is a week with no classes right at the end of the semester for students to study on their own time. Students spend this time doing many things, whether it be catching up on some readings, or just taking some time to relax.

Tambo the very friendly llama–he knows how to roll over!

For some of us, it’s our mental health break. I work in the Office of the Academic Affairs Vice President, and every semester we are in charge of the Wellness Events of this week, this year known as “Bearable Finals Week.” This past week, we’ve hosted a DeStress With Dogs Event, a miniature petting zoo, and most notably–a meet and greet with some very friendly llamas. read more