It is almost the holiday season, as you can tell from the beautiful picture of Fourth Street above. All that is standing in our way is the easy breezy two weeks that consists of dead week and finals week. Just kidding — we wish that either of these upcoming weeks were going to be easy or breezy. They are going to be extremely testing and difficult. However, the month off afterward in which we don’t have any academic responsibilities is well worth all of the dedication we are going to show towards our courses in hopes for the best grades possible in this land of grade deflation. One of the most wonderful parts about this entire month off includes the holidays that take place during it, and the time spent with your loved ones during these holidays. With this special time of the year coming up, it is important to start thinking about what gifts you’d like to both receive and give to your family during Hanukkah, Christmas, or whatever other holiday traditions you have. This is a hard task to do in the midst of all the studying that is going on, so we thought we’d give you some perfect ideas of not only what to give, but more importantly what to ask for.
What does November 1st to November 30th mean to you? It’s Berkeley application period time! Not only are Berkeley’s undergraduate college applications open, but current Berkeley sophomores can apply for the Berkeley Haas School of Business program.
If you think applying to Berkeley-Haas is similar to applying to colleges as a high school student, you would be right. Similar to the regular Berkeley application, the Berkeley-Haas undergraduate business program application period is also November 1st to 30th. Current sophomore students have taken the prerequisite courses and are set to complete the application to apply! From the Berkeley-Haas website, the Admission Committee looks at numerous factors, including: performance in key prerequisites, consistency of academic performance, leadership skills, and accomplishments in extracurricular activities. After application submission, students accepted into the two year Berkeley-Haas undergraduate business program hear back mid-February of their sophomore year. They start taking courses their junior year and then graduate from Berkeley with an undergraduate business degree from the Haas School of Business.
Last year I moved into Stebbins Hall, one of 17 houses in the Berkeley Student Cooperative.
The Berkeley Student Cooperative’s mission is “to provide a quality, low-cost, cooperative housing community to university students, thereby providing an educational opportunity for students who might not otherwise be able to afford a university education.”
The above statement is something I think about daily. My “quality, low-cost, cooperative community” has become one of the most valuable parts of my young adult life and certainly one of my most cherished experiences here at Berkeley. Though I think the co-ops do tend to get a lot of criticism (especially from within), there isn’t a single person living in BSC that isn’t having the quality of their lives seriously improved–I’ll explain.
Last Saturday marked the 120th Big Game matchup between our California Golden Bears and the Stanford (Stanfurd*, to be precise) Cardinal in football. Not is the week of Big Game exciting for Cal Football, but it is very exciting in terms of Cal Spirit. One of the organizations I’m involved with on campus, the UC Rally Committee, has dedicated countless of hours of their time during this week to rally the most of campus spirit for this game.
It all starts with the lights. **cue All of the Lights by Kanye West** Not only is our lovely Sather Gate, as seen above, lit up in blue and gold, but many other buildings on campus are also decked out for this week. Wheeler Hall, Doe Library, and the Campanile are all lit up in our school colors. The Campanile even has different gobos, or light stencils, projected up on it every night. Different Big Game week banners are hung up all over campus to share all the different events on campus.
When I was a freshman, I was told over and over again, “Go to office hours”. I heard it so much that it transformed into this abstract item on my checklist – something to check off eventually, but not really that important to complete in the present moment. Then the semester got busier, and finding time for office hours got to be more and more difficult. The semester passed before my eyes, and I soon realized I would never check “office hours” off my list. A wasted opportunity. This occurred over the course of my entire first year at Cal, and while I did go to office hours to get help on assignments, office hours became a resource only if I was struggling. I had yet to see the beauty of going into a professor’s office hours without anything concrete to discuss. The idea that you could just have a conversation about whatever with a professor was beyond my understanding.
Now in my senior year, and after many recent trips to office hours, I’ve become that person. The one now saying to you, “go to office hours”. Despite a first year devoid of them and a last year chock full, I now say with clarity: office hours with both professors and graduate students can and should be an integral part of your college experience.
You will be blown away by how incredibly enriching it really is! Especially at Berkeley. Our professors are world-renown, innovative, and enlightening – just by going in and having a conversation with one will undoubtedly expand the limits of your mind and help you grasp broader themes or concepts that weren’t necessarily apparent from the course material. So in the span of fifteen or twenty minutes, you can gain help on any tangible material, as well as, and perhaps more importantly, extend the conversation to make it more personal. In my experience, this was the key to having conversations that aided both my academic and personal development.
The true beauty of office hours lies in the way you and a professor (or GSI!) can develop a lasting relationship that extends past the end of the semester. This can translate into professional help or even mentorships or tight bonds between you and them. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by both professors and GSIs, forming invaluable connections and giving me access to a plethora of resources within academia and the professional world. Moreover, if you are interested in going to graduate school, developing connections with professors is crucial to your acceptance – those letters of recommendation will be much stronger if the professor actually knows and likes you, and can speak honestly about your characteristics, talents, and abilities.
So now that I’ve convinced you, there’s only one thing left to do: Go to office hours! And quick, before the semester, and then the year, pass before your eyes.
Well everyone, Thanksgiving break has finally arrived. This not only means that you have survived the majority of a semester here at Cal, but also that hopefully you get to take a few days off and spend those days with your family or other loved ones. There is nothing better than visiting home after being in Berkeley for almost four months; then, when we come back, we have an entirely new appreciation for what our day to day lives consist of here in the Bay. Even if Thanksgiving isn’t necessarily your favorite holiday, there are so many things to love about it. Some people are into the food (most are, if we’re being honest), some are into fall fashion, some are into extensive family time, and others are into all of the above. There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. While we might not all share a mutual love for Thanksgiving, there is no doubt that we all share a love for a few days of rest. So here are some of the things you have to look forward to on this short, but needed, time off.
I feel fully confident in stating that I did high school well, as the vast majority of everyone at Cal did. I was able to put off studying until the night before an exam and still make it out with an A. I was heavily involved in extracurriculars and was well liked by my teachers. My high school was fairly rigorous for an underfunded, LA public school; however it was still high school—full of meaningless assignments and tests that only required memorization.
Working as a Campus Ambassador, I interact with current high schoolers on a daily basis. They are wide-eyed and ready to hear any information I have to say about Cal, or university in general. Whenever a visitor asks what’s the hardest part about Cal, that’s when I really reflect on my time here so far. For me, the hardest aspect of adjusting to college was learning how to study. I didn’t truly know how to prepare for an exam a week in advance and use my time efficiently and effectively. My first semester here was a lot of trial and error. I learned that for my STEM courses, I needed to shift away from reading the textbook and focus on applying the concepts. I realized that essays can’t be written well overnight and that I need days in-between each draft in order to be the most productive with my edits. However the hardest lesson to learn of all, was that I was no longer one of the “best.”
The most common question I get asked at the end of my tours is: Where should I go for food?
My response always starts with, “It depends on what you’re looking for…”
Golden Bear Café is conveniently located on Sproul Plaza and has smoothies, snack items, salads, burritos, and coffee. It’s every student’s go to stop if they’re in need of food quick.
Then, there’s all the Cal Dining Halls that are buffet style and have food everyone can enjoy! The endless salad bars, pizza, desserts, etc.
It’s my favorite time of year: IT’S BASKETBALL SEASON!
To continue my reasons as to why I love the end of the year, basketball plays a very large role. Not only is it NBA season, but it is also the start of college basketball. As the spirited Cal student that I am, I am of course super excited to start cheering on my Golden Bears.
I’ve been following our team everywhere–from live streams, to live games in Haas Pavilion–I’ve even travelled all the way to Vegas to watch the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament. (Not to mention, it was FREE because I was one of the students who attended the most home games!) If you ever go to a Cal Basketball game, trust me when I say I am NOT hard to miss.
Calapalooza 2014: a very tall but very friendly man leans across a table and asks me a clarifying question. He puts it bluntly, “are you interested in just watching improv or do you want to do improv too?” I tell him “both.”
Me using improv as an excuse to get an amazing head massage, Spring 2017
I’m happy to say I have been doing both the whole three years since then. That tall man was Derrek, who has since become a teammate, mentor, and dear friend. The table was for jericho! improv & sketch comedy which also became my de facto Cal family. jericho! which in our more flippant moments we like to call j! meets twice a week and performs every other Friday on campus (usually in the bottom floor of moffit, but not always). We do improv, write and perform live sketches and also creative digital shorts for our youtube channel. We love all of it just as much as we love each other.