Ah, Parents’ Weekend. It’s an interesting time here at Cal. For most Freshmen, it’s the first time they’ve seen their parents since move-in. It’s a time for them to go out to dinner and share stories of their new best friends, give updates on their classes, and show them around campus. I love talking to new Cal Parents—they’re just so excited to hear everything about Cal! I personally would have never made it to Cal nor been as driven, motivated, and determined to success as I am without the support my parents provided me. The way I see it, the least I can do is keep in touch with them and allow them to stay involved in my life—even though I haven’t been home for more than three weeks in over two years.
College is a time full of new experiences and exciting new endeavors. There are certain first experiences at Berkeley that I will never forget.My first close friend at Berkeley was made in the Stern Hall laundry room. Everyone told me that I would make friends in the dining hall because everyone has to eat; however, everyone also has to do their laundry. The best friends I have made at Berkeley I have met in the places I least expected.
Homecoming is many things –It’s about tradition. It’s about family. It’s about community. It’s a celebration of all the people involved in our community, including the many different cultures. This Homecoming Week is a bit different from the past. Rather than having a simple “Homecoming Rally,” the UC Rally Committee has decided to switch things up and brand the new “California Culture Rally.”
UC Berkeley has more than 100 student organizations that are culturally based, and this rally is intended to offer groups like these the chance to showcase their cultures and traditions. This year one of my clubs, Cal Hawai’i Club will be performing. For us, this is the largest scale event we’ve ever performed at. Cal Hawai’i is one of only two Polynesian organizations on campus.
Have you heard of the Telluride Film Festival? You can go ahead and google it. I’ll wait. No really please do–famous people go! It’s a real film festival I swear. Check it out.
I first heard about the Telluride Film Festival in office hours. I was talking to a professor about Preston Struges, a guy who wrote and directed some of the best screwball comedies of the early 40’s. My professor mentioned he had seen something by Sturges recently, up at Telluride–he said it casually, but knowingly, like it was something I would recognize. I returned a knowing nod, but (just like you now) I had no idea what he was talking about. A quick google search in the hallway revealed that “Telluride” was a small town in Colorado that hosted an annual film festival.
In this world, there are stereotypes about everything, and the city and school of Berkeley are no exceptions. Some of these stereotypes or reputations we have come to be known by are being very academic and intelligent people (because we ARE the #1 public university no matter what anyone says), being very politically active all the way since the Free Speech Movement of the 60’s, and perhaps being a little hippie-like, among others. We can’t forget about the classic style stereotypes including North Face jackets and backpacks, Cal gear galore, and our beloved Birkenstocks.
Up until August 23th at 9am, I was constantly reminiscing about freshman year. I’d always reflect on my amazing memories from the dorms. I remember meeting my two roommates for the first time and our first picture together—which yes my mom would later that semester ship me and my roommates each a mug with that first picture on it. Anytime I had to study, I’d miss the “two minute dance breaks every 90 minutes” that we would have in our room (great way to study by the way). I remember the exact night I was studying in the lounge for General Chemistry and met Pablo across the hall. Little did I know that he would end up becoming one of my closest friends here at Cal.
WOW! This week is the last week of instructional class, which means… FINALS. Every professor is ending their class with the sentimental, “I’m so happy to have taught you all this semester, if you ever need anything, please feel free to reach out to me.” With the school year coming to an end, my clubs are ending as well. Some clubs I can still participate in next year, but others, like Hall Association, is a year-long position in the student government of my residence hall. In the class I take for Resident Assistant (RA) training, we talked a lot about how change is a good and healthy thing. Even though I am sad that my first semester here at Berkeley is over, I am excited for the changes that are occurring.
As any student at Cal will tell you, navigating Sproul Plaza takes a lot of skill (especially during the first couple weeks of every semester). For one thing, it is a major entrance to campus, where in the 10 minutes between classes thousands of students will pass through the narrow plaza. Simply walking through hordes of students can be a challenge. But what truly makes Sproul Plaza tricky is attempting to avoid being “flyered”, or given flyers by individuals advocating for an event, some political movement, or to join their club. Today, I was one of those flyering on Sproul, attempting to engage people in conversations about Cal Band.
Berkeley is often called the quintessential ‘college town’, and for good reason. Besides being at the cross-roads between Oakland and San Francisco, the Berkeley campus and its surrounding area offer a nearly endless number of activities for students. I remember seeing other ‘college towns’ back when I was doing college tours, but other universities’ college towns were essentially comprised of maybe one or two streets of restaurants and cafes. But here at Berkeley’s college town, the world truly feels like your oyster! Whether you’re looking to get outdoors, peruse some art, or explore quirky parts of campus, here’s a list of some of my personal favorite places around the Cal campus.
This is the line I have been repeating over and over again while campaigning on Sproul Plaza this past week. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is Berkeley’s school-wide student government organization: one of the largest autonomous student bodies in the nation! Every year, elections are held where students have the opportunity to vote for five Executive positions as well as twenty Senate positions. Senators run on campaign platforms that they hope to fulfill throughout their year-long position. UC Berkeley even has political parties for candidates in the election. Each year, the ASUC election is super competitive, and that is why I was out campaigning on Sproul. This past week, many candidates and their campaign teams have been working tirelessly in the hopes of garnering votes in order to be elected to make the changes their constituents want to see!