An Evening with Lemony Snicket & Friends

On Wednesdays some may wear pink but last Wednesday, my roommates and I decided to switch it up and spend an evening with Lemony Snicket, Cecile Richards, and some other fascinating figures at Zellerbach Hall.
The event was part of a unique event series called ‘Front Row’ hosted by Cal Performances. ‘Front Row’ was designed to be a performance series that represented three traits of the Cal student community: “innovation, freedom of expression, and diversity”. With these three core themes in mind, Cal Performances wanted to invite a local and culturally significant person to help curate the show – enter Daniel Handler, otherwise known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the beloved children’s books ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ and other novels. Together, Daniel and the crew of Cal Performances put together a whimsical and insightful evening with guests that Daniel invited he believed to represent passion, activism, and social justice.

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Here Comes the Sun (Doo doo doo doo…)

Spring has sprung, girls and boys! (Though much earlier than anticipated.) And contrary to popular myth, UC Berkeley is not constantly smothered in fog and cold and sadness. Sure, I’m also grumbling about losing an hour of sleep, but we have finally left Frozen behind and moved on to Frozen: Spring Fever, and I for one am more than ready to spring into springtime. (Are these dorky plays on words properly portraying my excitement?) And even though it is midterm and project season still, and though I like to consider myself a good noodle student, entering into this new season of sundresses and patterned shorts, blooming buds of springtime flowers, pollen drifting in the wind, and a truckload of Claritin, I decided to document how I’ve been soaking up my vitamin D this past week (and I’m sure many other Cal students too).

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Definitions of Family

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.

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Let’s Get Organized!

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!

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Golden Bears in Japan

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.

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Back Home for the Final Stretch

Hello there!

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.

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Powerful Protests Counterbalance Powerful Positions: Student Demonstrations Are Tethered to a Rich Campus History

The freedom to speak, to stand up for what we believe in, is an integral part of UC Berkeley. This usually manifests itself in the form of protests, a unique and well-known aspect of our campus. And lately, news of them has been popping up everywhere. The 2016 presidential election affected the student body deeply, as it has been one of the most controversial and emotionally charged in our nation’s history. The results of the election were, of course, the highest point of emotional fever. And, to top it off, the recently proposed tuition hikes for the university and the sexual assault policies of universities across the country have left many students feeling powerless.

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Innovation at Cal: at the Intersections of Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Social Good

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I walked into the room and was greeted by colorful furniture, clean white walls, and an eager group of my fellow Bears with laptops and notebooks out. It was my first meeting for the Financial Inclusion Collider at the newly opened Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET). A representative from the social impact venture capital firm Omidyar gave a presentation about the issues surrounding global financial inclusion; we were then assembled into small teams in which we discussed potential solutions, whether it be expanding access to obtaining credit cards in rural regions of South America or creating mobile financial literacy curriculums. At the end of the meeting, we left the Sutardja Center excited and full of ideas and questions to tackle in the weeks ahead.

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The Gift to Sing/The Gift to See

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Here at UC Berkeley, the number one public university in the world – yes, I’ll take any chance to say that – we are offered opportunities that are pretty special, and ones that are offered to us alone. Usually when we think about these kinds of things, the first thoughts that pop into our heads are the incredible chemists, physicists, astronomers and physicians that work on our campus, that are always on the edge of the newest discovery in their fields, making waves in the scientific community. However, though not as often basking in the spotlight, our bank of resources is not limited to the sciences; we also have a wealth of rare and remarkable literature at our disposal.

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Craving for Home

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As an international student from the Philippines, I’m very grateful to find my second home here at Cal and to find a family with my roommates, classmates, teachers, and advisors. However, I still long for something that is very close to home, one of which is Filipino cuisine. I was surprised to see that even though the Filipino community in Berkeley is big, there aren’t many places that offer Filipino food. I can get my Asian food fix and my Western food fix right away, but not my home food fix. Thus, before classes began, my Filipino roommate decided to bring me on a 30-minute drive to Concord, CA (one can also take the BART train to go to this city) and visit the famous Filipino supermarket, Seafood City Supermarket.

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