When I got to college, I, like most all college students, packed what I could into suitcases and left my family behind. After living with my parents and two little brothers for the past eighteen years, college would be an opportunity for me to “find myself” – and my new family. In an effort to reassure trepid freshmen that we wouldn’t be lost in the onslaught of an incoming class of six thousand students, we were reminded of an age-old adage: friends are the family you choose for yourself. The saying started popping up on sparkly, rhinestone encrusted canvases just weeks into our freshman year. Sorority big-little weeks had begun.
Let me tell you something kind of ironic. One of my favorite hobbies is looking at blogs of people who are just really organized though I, myself, find it hard to keep things very organized; for example, my closet looks like the aftermath of a natural disaster 75% of the time. But I know that I’m not alone in this hobby! There is an entire category of these blogs called “Studyblrs”, with aesthetically pleasing photographs of things like diagrams, bullet journals, and notes color-coded in possibly fifteen differently-colored gel pens. So, of course, scrolling through these organization prodigies with far greater hand-writing than I could ever dream of achieving has become a vicarious kind of pastime. But here’s the irony: when I would get a little too stressed or overwhelmed by classes, I’d choose to ignore the work in favor of the distraction of scrolling through blogs owned by people who weren’t ignoring their stress … by staying organized?
This year, I finally made the connection, and have transformed the fun of organization into a tool to actually aid me in staying on top of my studies. And it’s rocked. So to you all, reading this blog – past, current, future, or honorary Golden Bears – I want to share with you a few fun ways to keep your (most likely multiple) responsibilities on track!
The days of winter break before I left for Japan felt immeasurably long. The previous semester, I had applied to a winter travel study program in Japan, a partnership between the Haas School of Business and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Kakehashi program. The program was a week long, and I would earn my final two elective business units before graduating in May 2017. Best of all, the trip would be completely free! I had already devoured the Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet reviews for every landmark I could extract from our Japanese-heavy itinerary. I prepared a mental list of all the Japanese cuisine I hoped to sample: spicy tuna sushi rolls, gooey mochi ice cream, heaping bowls of yakisoba. I grew up in a rural mountain community of about 1,000 people where only one restaurant attempted Japanese food, Pangea. Their menu was a hodgepodge of different cultures, vegan choices and local foods. Beyond that, however, I did not know how to prepare for the trip. Before that week, I had never been to a country where I didn’t speak the local language. I resolved to say “yes” as much as possible, and keep diligent records in my journal.
I hope that everyone had a lovely winter break and holiday season! We are about one month into the spring semester which means that classes are in full swing and believe it or not, midterms are nearly upon us. During the precious month we had off, I split my time between the rain (and even snow!) in my hometown of Seattle and the desert sun of Palm Springs, where I was able to get in some hiking and yoga. While winter break was relaxing, it is definitely good to be back and it’s surreal to be marking this as my last semester at Cal. My hopes for the next couple of months are to enjoy my classes and the opportunity to learn before I start work. Luckily I was able to take some classes that I’ve been wanting to take since freshman year, such as French and Development Studies C100: the History of Development and Underdevelopment.