Monthly Archives: April 2016

Finals Studying: Evans Diamond Edition

With finals looming and a substantial amount of class material to learn for my linear algebra and differential equations and probability classes, I headed to Evans to study on Sunday afternoon. This normally wouldn’t come as a surprise; I’m an economics and statistics major and Evans Hall is home to the mathematics, statistics and economics departments. Except I found myself on the opposite end of campus, at the other “Evans”: Evans Diamond.

Watching baseball games was one of the most memorable parts of my high school experience; I was even my school’s PA announcer at the games. After heading to an A’s game two weeks ago with a friend and having a great night, I renewed my love for live baseball and pledged to catch at least one game before end of the semester. Then came the best part: I learned that with a flash of my Cal ID, home games were free!

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Humbled and Ready

My classmate and I attend the same church, called the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, which is located behind the Unit 3 Residence Hall. One day in class, while we were waiting for the professor to arrive, she invited me to the Chiapas Trip Reflection Event, where college students from the Fellowship of College and University Students group, also known as FoCUS, reflect and talk about their experiences on the mission trip to Chiapas, Mexico during spring break.

FoCUS is the undergraduate student ministry group in our church where a lot of Cal students, who are Presbyterians,  join. There are many other spiritual fellowship groups on campus that provide niches for students with different religious beliefs: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and etc. I was curious about and interested in joining the FoCUS group. So, I decided to take the first step in knowing more about this ministry by attending the reflection event. I was also looking forward to hearing other students’ experiences, especially after hearing my friend’s stories.

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A’s on a Tuesday

Sitting in class on a lazy Tuesday afternoon, I felt my phone vibrate twice. It read, “What are you up to this evening?”. I simply replied, “For?” A few minutes later, I got, “Sonny Gray $5.” A couple of texts back and forth and it was confirmed; we’d meet at Oakland Coliseum at 6:20 to catch the Athletics play the Angels with A’s ace starter and one of the best pitchers in the American League, Sonny Gray, on the mound. In addition, we’d get to watch A’s starting shortstop Marcus Semien, who played baseball at Cal.

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Shoot Out of Love

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I love watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When I was a kid, I fell in love with Legolas. Although his handsomeness was big plus, my key attraction was his impeccable skill in archery. He becomes this sharp and swift warrior as he holds his bow and arrow; that’s why I always had my eyes set on him.

Because of this, my brother and I had a makeshift bow, made out of a wooden stick from a back scratcher and a packaging string. We would partake in mini adventures in our bedroom, jumping to and from our beds as we attacked our enemies: our pillows.  

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Something Extraordinary

Sometimes, life at Cal can get busy—really, really busy. As students at the number one university in the world, it’s only logical that we dive right into our college experiences, immersing ourselves in academics, clubs, work-study jobs, intramural sports, student government—the list goes on and on. We live for involvement, thrive on competition, and frequently excel at pulling all-nighters to compensate for our tendencies to over commit… Okay, maybe that last part is just me, but I guarantee every Berkeley student has experienced this at least once in his/her college career. It’s inevitable. Where there’s success, there’s hard work. Where there’s hard work—yup, you guessed it—there’s stress. While I admit, I occasionally fall victim to that characteristic midterm season stress, I heard something today that completely changed my attitude.

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The Homeroom Experience

Cal’s location in Berkeley, CA affords the campus good weather most days of the year. However, as a native southern Californian, I don’t care for the number of rainy days we do encounter. This past Saturday was one of those days. As such, the prospect of some warm, hearty food was certainly appealing. Given that it was the weekend, I could take more liberties with my time and venture of Berkeley to make it happen.

Two of my freshman floormates suggested Homeroom Mac + Cheese, a small shack on the ground floor of an apartment building in neighboring Oakland. Growing up, I had severe allergies to a variety of foods; any time my family went out to eat, Kraft Mac and Cheese from the kids menu was a staple. With age and treatment many of my allergies subsided, but my love for macaroni did not. We took AC Transit’s 1R bus line south down Telegraph Avenue from campus and after a 10 minute walk from the stop, there we were. In typical Homeroom fashion, there was a 45 minute to an hour wait: just the right amount of time to explore, according to my friends; I grudgingly went along.

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The Little Frisbee Team That Couldn’t

We called ourselves the Frisbaes, and before the season started, I was absolutely sure that we would come out on top. We were, after all, an assortment of students with Ultimate Frisbee ability levels ranging from I play sometimes for fun, to never touched a disc before. What could possibly go wrong?

The Frisbaes pose after a game at Underhill Field.

UC Berkeley Intramural Sports are available to anybody with a valid Cal Rec Club Membership. While the cost of being a Recreational Sports Facility member is included in tuition fees for all Berkeley students, the gym and its associated programs are also available to faculty and staff, university affiliates, and community members. Cal Intramural Sports are unique in that they are one of the few sets of circumstances in which all of those different groups that comprise the greater UC Berkeley community come together and interact.

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Out of My Comfort Zone

Though in a school as large as UC Berkeley, office hours are often presented as an invaluable student resource, it took me awhile to actually follow through on the promises I made myself to actually take advantage of them.

This is BERKELEY, I thought to myself as a freshman. These professors are brilliant. Why would they want to talk to me, a measly undergraduate? And besides, Berkeley students are supposed to be some of the best and the brightest in the nation. I should be able to do my work without help.

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A Community Beyond Berkeley

My roommate asked me to attend a music event called “Soul Speaks Open Mic” at the La Peña Cultural Center with her, for an extra credit assignment in her music class. We took the AC Transit F bus to the stop at Ashby Bart and walked for about 5 mins to get to the cultural center. When we entered the cultural center, we saw a small stage and some chairs all set-up for the event. We also saw an entrance that connects to the next-door Mexican restaurant called Los Cilantros.

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As my roommate and I waited for the event to start, we went to the restaurant to grab a quick dinner. I ordered the “Enchiladas Verde” which is a huge dish with 3 corn tortillas wrapped with filling (I chose chicken) and served with green salsa, cheese, sour cream, beans, and radish. It tasted really delicious, it’s spicy and sweet at the same time. My first taste of a true Mexican dish was really great.

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Exporting my heritage: Cricket in Berkeley

As an Indian-American boy who grew up playing baseball, it was only natural to gravitate toward the sport of cricket. In a country not known for athletic prowess, cricket is a sport in which India is competitive and at times, world class. As such, it may be said that the nation worships the game like a religion. When India plays, the nation closes up shop to watch.

Having grown up in California, however, my exposure to cricket was usually limited to the time I spend visiting family in India. My great uncle taught me the rules, and my grandmother is a huge fan so watching matches was a great way to spend time with them, especially when I was younger. But hamstrung by the time difference and lack of access, my fandom is usually parked in India before I board the flight home.

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