WOW! This week is the last week of instructional class, which means… FINALS. Every professor is ending their class with the sentimental, “I’m so happy to have taught you all this semester, if you ever need anything, please feel free to reach out to me.” With the school year coming to an end, my clubs are ending as well. Some clubs I can still participate in next year, but others, like Hall Association, is a year-long position in the student government of my residence hall. In the class I take for Resident Assistant (RA) training, we talked a lot about how change is a good and healthy thing. Even though I am sad that my first semester here at Berkeley is over, I am excited for the changes that are occurring.
As any student at Cal will tell you, navigating Sproul Plaza takes a lot of skill (especially during the first couple weeks of every semester). For one thing, it is a major entrance to campus, where in the 10 minutes between classes thousands of students will pass through the narrow plaza. Simply walking through hordes of students can be a challenge. But what truly makes Sproul Plaza tricky is attempting to avoid being “flyered”, or given flyers by individuals advocating for an event, some political movement, or to join their club. Today, I was one of those flyering on Sproul, attempting to engage people in conversations about Cal Band.
Berkeley is often called the quintessential ‘college town’, and for good reason. Besides being at the cross-roads between Oakland and San Francisco, the Berkeley campus and its surrounding area offer a nearly endless number of activities for students. I remember seeing other ‘college towns’ back when I was doing college tours, but other universities’ college towns were essentially comprised of maybe one or two streets of restaurants and cafes. But here at Berkeley’s college town, the world truly feels like your oyster! Whether you’re looking to get outdoors, peruse some art, or explore quirky parts of campus, here’s a list of some of my personal favorite places around the Cal campus.
This is the line I have been repeating over and over again while campaigning on Sproul Plaza this past week. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is Berkeley’s school-wide student government organization: one of the largest autonomous student bodies in the nation! Every year, elections are held where students have the opportunity to vote for five Executive positions as well as twenty Senate positions. Senators run on campaign platforms that they hope to fulfill throughout their year-long position. UC Berkeley even has political parties for candidates in the election. Each year, the ASUC election is super competitive, and that is why I was out campaigning on Sproul. This past week, many candidates and their campaign teams have been working tirelessly in the hopes of garnering votes in order to be elected to make the changes their constituents want to see!
It’s that time of the year again. The weather is nice, school is almost done for summer break, baseball has started again. Oh, and thousands of high school seniors are deciding where to attend college in the fall. How could I forget that? It’s amazing to me to think that almost exactly two years ago to the date (April 8th), I made the decision to attend UC Berkeley. Time really does fly by when you are busy and having fun. Hopefully, I can shed some light as to why I chose Cal and why I could never imagine making a better decision now that I am almost halfway done with college (side note – it’s a sad thought that I am halfway done, I don’t want to ever leave Berkeley).
Last month I turned the big one-nine! I spent my birthday with my friend who also has the same birthday as me as well as a few of our closest friends. As it is spring break and almost the end of my first year here at Berkeley, it got me thinking… I have always wanted to have a YouTube channel and I really enjoy the videos that reflect on (insert age number here) things I learned by (insert same age number here), so here goes:
- Time flies when you’re having fun: I can not believe we only have six weeks left of spring semester. I feel like yesterday was move-in day and I’m saying bye to my family until December. Then winter break was over and I was saying bye to my family until May. I made a ton of great friends this year, and I’m going to be sad when we’re all not living in the residence halls together next year.
- Cherish your family and old friends: After high school, I stayed really close with a few friends from back home. We still text each other to chat about our problems, mainly boy problems, but sometimes it was just nice to get a taste of back home and life before college. I really want to find more time to call my parents and friends from back home.
- Time management: Know when to separate “fun time” and “work time.” This is a skill you have to learn when you first come to college.
- Take time for yourself: School can be stressful and you want to make sure you don’t overwork yourself, so do take time for self-care and wellness.
- Sometimes you won’t get the grades you’re hoping for, and that’s ok: I feel like a big difference from high school and college is that in college one test can count for 30% of your grade. If this test goes poorly, it may feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t. There are many ways to improve for the next test!
- Join clubs: I have met some of my best friends through clubs here at Berkeley. We have similar interests and passions so we get along really well.
- Go to the library: I love going to the library to study because I get so much work done. It’s super fun to try studying in all 27 of the different libraries on campus.
- It’s ok to eat alone: I used to hate eating alone because I always felt awkward, but it’s actually nice to sit and contemplate life.
- Make plans with people: In order to maintain friendships with people from other residence halls, actively ask them to hang out: go to the library together or get dinner together!
- Have late night conversations: I feel like these kinds of conversations are the best kind: they’re super real and you get to learn to much about people.
- Take risks: This is what college is for! Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things! Take the class you’re interested in or join the club you’ve always wanted to join!
- Go to events on campus: Take advantage of all of the amazing events that happen at UC Berkeley. Get a group of friends and go!
- Get off social media every once in a while: I feel like I’m always on social media and this is something I need to work on so that I can enjoy everything that’s going on around me.
- Hike the Big C: A group of friends and I hiked this trail at night time and it was a gorgeous view. 10/10 would recommend before graduation.
- Go to the top of the Campanile: I’ve been to the top of the Campanile twice now and you can see 360 degree views of Berkeley and the Bay: so pretty.
- Explore San Francisco and the Bay Area: DO THIS. There are so many things to do in San Francisco and the Bay Area! I went to my first cat café in San Francisco a few weeks ago!
- Eat out every once in a while: Try some of the amazing restaurants nearby Berkeley’s campus. This is something that I need to do more often!
- Stay in every once in a while: Everyone loves a chill movie night with friends! Think of innovative ways you can have fun and relax at the same time.
- HAVE FUN: These four years are going to fly by! Make the most of them!
Monday, March 13th will live on in the memories of Cal Women’s Basketball fans forever. It was on this day, when all hopes of an NCAA March Madness bid seemed lost, that Cal earned a 9 seed. The team jumped for joy as they learned they were going back to the Big Dance. I was ecstatic and immediately began composing emails to all my professors letting them know I would be in Waco, Texas. As a member of Cal Band, I had the unique opportunity to travel with the basketball team to the NCAA Tournament and cheer them on. Fortunately for me, my professors were all very accommodating and allowed me to miss class on Friday and Monday, provided I stayed on top of all the material and assignments I missed.
Right now, I’m sitting just off campus in our newly minted Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), the renowned art collection open free to all incoming students, in the bright Babette Cafe. Through a peek-a-boo window, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia reads like a billboard for a recent gallery collection. The collection is a perfect allusion to Berkeley’s aesthetic: trendy ripped jeans, trusty Birkenstocks, a thrifted flannel tied around our waist. In every discipline, these same students are working to apply course content towards a better version of the future. It’s difficult, and we face setbacks, but Berkeley students are lucky enough to be surrounded by 36,000 other students – and 1,500 innovative, supportive faculty – seeking the realization of similar visions.
As an out-of-state student from Maryland, choosing to fly across the country to attend UC Berkeley was a scary, nerve-wrecking experience. Coming to a school with almost 28,000 undergraduate students, knowing nobody, I was anxious to take such a big leap from my home, family, and friends in Maryland. After completing my first semester at Berkeley, I can truly say that UC Berkeley is my home.
In high school, I was really involved in student government, and wanted to continue my passion of representing the student voice at Cal. Thus, I applied for the Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) Representative position in my residence hall’s Hall Association, which is the student government of the residence halls. I was elected RHA Rep and began to attend weekly meetings where Reps from every residence hall across campus come together and have the opportunity to vote on different sponsorship and legislation bills. At one of the meetings last semester, the RHA Executive Team announced a unique opportunity for us to attend a three day leadership conference at the University of Southern California (USC) where students from across the west coast would come together and learn about leadership.
Office Hours. Those two words are repeated over and over as a student. From my parents telling me to go to them, professors reminding about their office hours, and even friends talking about questions they would ask, I hear about office hours on a daily basis. But in all my time here I have yet to attend a professor’s office hours. I have always been scared about going because I usually can get my questions asked in class, so I never had any questions I could ask and I didn’t want to go and be awkward without any questions. But this all changed when last week I mustered the courage to go to my professor’s office hours.