As we all come out of the social slumber that is finals and remember that we do, in fact, have to put on real pants and go outside sometimes, the start of the summer and the impending start of my senior year can seem a bit daunting. Three months lounging poolside and watching baseball are a sure recipe for what I like to call student slothhood. When we have nothing to do we are really, really good at doing nothing. But alas, another semester is on the horizon and its coincidence with the start of a new year begs the question, how will I make my last year my best one yet?
Dead Week is a time to really buckle down and put one’s nose to the grindstone as we complete our final stretch of the spring semester here at UC Berkeley. One aspect of this infamous week that is often overlooked, however, is the fact that a week with no classes provides our student groups with ample opportunity to host their end of semester banquets and outings. Greek life is no exception.
Just this past weekend, my fraternity has hosted our semesterly date night by sailing on a yacht in the San Francisco Bay, competed an afternoon long “Olympic Games” with local fraternity alumni, and hosted our always highly anticipated end of year banquet at San Francisco’s famous House of Prime Rib. This restaurant was where our fraternity was re-chartered in the year 2004, and ever since then it has been a tradition to wrap up our year in what I suppose is the most appropriate way possible: by shoving our faces with endless amounts of food.
The end of the semester brings with it the greatest stress of all: finals.
Finals can be a daunting experience, especially if you haven’t really been keeping up with your classes the way you should be (that’s totally not my case, though…). Berkeley tends to take mercy on us and gives us Dead Week. Dead Week or as it is formally known, Reading and Recitation Week, is the week before finals where there are no classes or instruction. Review sessions and discussion are optional, but in large, campus tends to come to a halt as most people try desperately to use the week to its full advantage. Some perks of Dead Week are that some of our more important libraries stay open 24 hours allowing us to study (or nap) any time we want. Probably the best feature of this perk is that the Free Speech Movement Café is open just as long as the libraries are! This allows you to get your caffeine fix to keep you going, or that wrap you so desperately try to sneak past the library attendants.
We are coming to the end of the semester here at UC Berkeley, and this means a couple of things. First, we are only weeks away from summer and the little kid in all of us is busting out of the seams to swim and hike and rest. Second, before we get to enjoy the spoils of summer we have to make it through Dead Week and Finals. Dead Week, actually called Reading/Review/Recitation Week, is the week before final exams where we have no class but instead are encouraged to spend all our days poring over our books and past midterms to prepare ourselves for the coming test of what we have learned this semester. Thus you can see why we call it Dead Week, because campus is dead and you kind of feel like you’re dying. But I think the most effective dead weeks are those that are interspersed with adventures, silliness, and many a study break. How often do you really get a chance to have no class but still be at school with all your friends? A week like this should be taken advantage of.
For campus ambassadors the month of April tends to be pretty hectic. With all the newly admitted students, prospective students on spring break and the international visitors it can be a little busy. One of our duties as ambassadors is to give interested parties tours of the campus (my favorite part of the job). Having given quite a few tours in the past week I noticed that I was often being asked a question that I normally had not encountered on previous tours.
Is Berkeley too cutthroat or competitive?
With summer quickly approaching, UC Berkeley students are starting to solidify their plans for their three months off. Aside from the usual pool going, and family vacationing, many students take the summer as an opportunity to squeeze yet another valuable experience out of their larger Berkeley one. Usually these experiences come in the form of internships. Internships are plentiful in the Bay Area, and many companies specifically look to Berkeley students for that sweet unpaid labor that gives us real world experience and helps us learn what we want our careers to be more like. In addition to the Bay Area, students go around the nation and abroad for internships. The summer program Cal in the Capital sends students to Washington, D.C. to work in congress and law offices, news stations, or other places suited to each student’s needs and interests. Many people choose to travel abroad for summer, either studying or interning in Europe, South America, or even Africa.