Well, here’s the good news. Thanksgiving break is two short weeks away, and winter break is a quick, studying-filled three weeks later. All of that adds up getting to spend time with old friends, going from missing your family to being sick of them again, and of course some tear-worthy home cooked meals. Since you have been so dearly missed, your favorite things can often be cooked for you on command, and as often as you want. When you only have a week or two to experience the beauty of your family’s food versus cafeteria food, you should do all you can to take full advantage of it. However, to prepare for all of that food entering your body, and to continue avoiding that so-called freshman fifteen, now is the perfect time to take advantage of all of the local incredible workout spots and opportunities.
There’s something different in the air during football season at Cal. Students show off their blue and gold colors just a little bit more—Yale blue (after our founders) and California gold (after the California Gold Rush). They get incredibly defensive about any ranking that contradicts us being the number one public university. And last but not least, they lose all productivity on Saturdays.
The pre-game festivities begin at an unholy hour. Music from Greek row makes its way into open windows and the smell of alumni tailgates spreads throughout the entire Southside. It’s the one day of the week when students can forget about upcoming midterms, paper deadlines, and internship interviews. My high school had 3pm Varsity football games that no one but the parents of the players attended. We barely won games in any sport; needless to say, school spirit was not common. My first Game Day at Cal was incredible. I was surrounded by thousands of peers who loved Cal as much as I did—who were actually excited about the football game. And the games did not disappoint.
Can you believe that it is already November 1st and the fall semester is going to be over in a month and a half?! I can’t believe it! Being here at Berkeley for a little over a year now, I am itching for a mini vacation. I am going to be finished all of my midterm exams this week, so I’m getting some friends together to do some fun activities over the weekends in November:
It’s the most spooky-filled time of the year…IT’S HALLOWEEN!
Or as we like to call it in Berkeley, Cal-O-Ween! October is my favorite month of the year. Not just because I was born during this month, but because I am a huge fan of all the festivities that go on during this spooky season.
What’s great about Halloween is how universal the scary theme is. So for those of you who miss the annual pumpkin patch back home, there’s still the chance to catch it here in Berkeley–and the Bay area! But living in Berkeley comes with the perks of our own Cal-O-Ween celebrations, so here’s my brief run-down of things to do during the Halloween season:
I still remember it today: “Everything has a rhetoric. Even this has a rhetoric,” My professor noted as she lifted her iPhone off her desk in front of her. I rolled my eyes. The class was an R1B, one of the college writing courses students are required to take. Our topic was “The Rhetoric of Autobiography. In it we read poetry, novels, and essays, as well as an autobiography or two.
On my application I had listed philosophy as my major but over the course of that semester I found by reading for Philosophy 2 (Individual Morality & Social Justice) to be more and more tedious. My Rhetoric reading, however, I found more and more exciting. Poetry, novels, some of the most creative essays I had ever read. Our discussion got more and more fascinating too. Philosophy was slow, dotting every i, crossing every t, making its list checking it thrice. Rhetoric blazed ahead, regarding grammar only as another device to be used or eschewed depending on ones aims and cultural context.
I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Spain for the full academic year, first spending the Fall semester in Córdoba and later extending my stay for another semester in Spain, but in a different city – Granada. Being abroad for the full year turned out to be a great decision, yet the way the two programs differed made a big impact on my experience. If you are interested in studying abroad, consider some of these features and select a program carefully!
One thing to focus on is if your program is centered around a community of US, international, or local students, and similarly, who your classes are with. In Córdoba, my program was composed of 14 UC students, so I spoke a lot of English and traveled around Europe with those friends. My classes were also offered only for us abroad students, and were taught in easy-to-understand Spanish by local professors. In contrast, my classes in Granada were at the official Universidad with local students and professors, helping me make local friends and forcing me to listen and communicate in Spanish much more frequently. This greatly aided my Spanish acquisition and cultural knowledge and also incentivized me to stay put in my program city during weekends. Here I also saw the importance of an immersive academic experience in order to truly learn the language.
One of my favorite things about attending UC Berkeley is that we all get to live in a city environment, as opposed to exclusively a college town or something similar. On top of that, we have the extraordinary privilege of having the city of San Francisco a free public bus ride or a twenty minute BART ride away. Basically, there is simply no excuse to ever be bored here. If, for some incredulous reason you do find a way to get bored, I have one word for you: CONCERTS!
Concerts are something that you never regret attending, especially if you find an amazing concert for a great price.This is usually pretty doable in the Bay Area, particularly because there are so many different venues to choose from. Here is a play by play of some of the best venues the Bay has to offer:
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.