Author Archives: Humair


About Humair

Hello! My name is Humair and I am a sophomore here at UC Berkeley. I’m an intended Chemistry major, (because I love studying Chemistry) but am mostly still absorbing ideas for possible minors and other classes I could take! I am originally from Karachi, Pakistan (far, far away) and am here as an international student from Canada. I love traveling and exploring cities, so on weekends the best place to not look for me is my apartment. I am also a foodie so beware: there may be posts about food and restaurants from around the city here. I hope this blog helps you love Berkeley even a fraction as much as I do! Go Bears!

Dead Week Blues

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. read more

Is Berkeley Too Competitive?

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? read more

Finding a Family


I never actually had the privilege of visiting UC Berkeley before I submitted my SIR. So when the time came to choose a dorm I was completely in the dark. I tried to do all the research the Internet allowed me to do but at the end of the day websites can’t really do justice when making a decision about which residence halls to choose. I thus made my decision randomly, letting the decision lie with the gods above. Then one fine day the housing algorithm spat out Unit 3- Triple as my dorm/room assignment. Immediately I was concerned. Live with two other people? That sounded daunting to say the least. Most of my summer was spent wondering whether my room situation would be overwhelming. read more

Everybody get down on Cal Day!


When I got in to Berkeley and joined the Facebook group for the class of 2016, I remember hearing about ‘Cal Day’. Being international has its limitations and one of those was not having the faintest clue about what Cal Day really was. I saw some pictures, liked some enthusiastic Facebook posts and got the e-mails but I really could not grasp what Cal Day really was.
My freshman year at Berkeley I decided to express my love for this school by becoming a campus ambassador. Part of this job entailed organizing Cal Day. Once again I faced this mysterious day. Cal Day it turns out is a massive open house at UC Berkeley where the whole university comes alive and every student group takes part. A whole year later I was setting up for my first Cal Day. read more

Keeping Up With Berkeley

This Spring Break my best friend came to visit me all the way from Cambridge in the UK. It was interesting because while I had shown my parents around the city before I had yet to share this place with someone similar to me in views and age. When he arrived, he brought with him a preconception of what Berkeley was. Being the 5th most reputable school in the world means that most people have heard about our academic prowess, but it also means that Berkeley has a reputation to uphold in terms of its non-academic culture. Berkeley’s counter culture protests of the 60s, liberal ideologies, and great intellectual movements are all legendary. Berkeley the city should not be held independently of Berkeley the school. The city, while incredibly diverse, revolves around the school and is very much a college town. I personally feel it is a symbiotic relationship where the school gains its vibrancy from the city and vice versa. read more

License to Drive


It is notoriously well known that America is a country that depends on cars. If you want to travel around the Bay Area you could use the BART but to really take advantage of it, it is great to have a car. Unfortunately as an international student this poses a bit of a conundrum. Sure we can drive on our international licenses for 6 months but afterwards we need to get a license. Fortunately, though, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is located just a short bus ride away from campus. It took me a while to muster the strength to go give the various tests but there isn’t anything too difficult about the process. The only advice I would have is to know the rules! California has some driving rules that are different from other states and definitely very different from other countries. Having just very recently gotten my license, I am super excited to begin renting cars and going on road trips throughout the state, maybe even venturing outside of California. read more

The Class You Should Not Not Take


Film 50: Film for Non-Majors.

No, calm down, I am not telling you to take one of those dreary classes that sounds fun but where you actually have to write a lot and give a lot of exams. At least not yet. See Film 50 is a series of lectures offered at the Pacific Film Archive Theater that explore the world of cinema. You can either take it as a 4 unit class with discussions and exams, or leisurely attend one or all the lectures/screenings. It is usually a weekly 3 hour block where the Professor or guest lecturer introduces the film, followed by a screening of the film and finally a discussion. There is generally a theme for the series and it can be extremely interesting to follow the lecture/screening that is only once a week. Anyone can attend the Screening/Lecture regardless of whether they are enrolled at UC Berkeley or simply an intrigued member of the public. The class basically consists of watching a movie and then discussing the feelings you have (and trust me with the excellent film collection they have, there will be feelings) with some very stimulating people. Sometimes the 3 hour lecture/screenings would seem too short and I would return to my dorm, torturing any poor floor-mate who happened to be within earshot, by going on and on about how moved or distraught I was. read more

Eternal Sunshine of the Berkeley Kind!

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If any of you, like me, have most of your friends on the East Coast then you will be familiar with the constant barrage of grumbly Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and Snapchats about the historically freezing weather there. It’s almost surreal seeing them enjoy snow days and layer up in all sorts of bulky sweaters. Sitting here in temperate Berkeley, I just cannot seem to relate to the winter experience I keep hearing about from my friends on the other side of the country.

Yet, I don’t lose sleep over it. At all. It isn’t even the end of February and I have already forgone my usual jacket and pants for the all-too-comfortable t-shirt and shorts. Berkeley residents often describe the weather here as erratic, and while it does fluctuate, the limits (forgive me for using that term, after Math 53 I never want to see it again) are very pleasant. It rarely gets too cold and rarely gets too hot. It’s always relatively pleasant. Granted we have our fare share of foggy days here as we are in the San Francisco Bay Area, after all. However, the fog only lasts for a few hours on average, enough to get your Lana Del Rey fix in before your 8:00 AM lecture.  It seems that winter here is almost nonexistent. For example, this week the toasty sunshine on Memorial Glade beckoned the sunbathers and frisbee enthusiasts back to campus. read more