Why I love the College of Chemistry

I study chemistry in the College of Chemistry, a college only home to about 800 undergraduates and several hundred graduate students. Because of it’s ranking (it truly is the strongest department in the world) and because of it’s intimacy as one of the smallest colleges on campus. I chose to become a student here, and my time in the College of Chemistry has been my defining experience so far.

In the heart of the College of Chemistry complex.

For one thing, unlike the majority of students at Cal, we come into our majors declared, meaning there’s a little less apprehension about our course of study. The prerequisite courses- Chem 4, physics, and math- may appear as large lectures to the average student, but I quickly found my community in my classes, because it’s not uncommon to bounce from lecture to lecture with a peer in your major that has the exact same sequence. Our college has fewer breadth requirements, so while many folks are taking classes from all different subjects, we chemistry kids stick together. Now, as a sophomore, if I meet another sophomore for the first time who tells me they’re also in the College of Chemistry, I’m usually surprised that we haven’t yet met because our college really is that small and community-based. These prerequisite courses sure aren’t easy, but having friends to get through four hour labs and dozens of exams together makes the whole experience just a little less daunting.
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Perspective is Key

Getting involved in the residence halls was something I wasn’t expecting, but it will continue to be something I’m thankful for. Photo courtesy of Spencer Hill and Lucas Huang.

Even though our university is known for its academic rigor and unparalleled research, I like to think that the best lessons are actually taught outside the classroom. We students can spend so much time cranking in the studying hours to make sure that we know the material for our exams. However, the lessons that life gives us are happenchance, and we may not always be aware that life’s even giving us these lessons to begin with.

For example, I’m someone who grew up to be a little anxious in social situations. I found myself to be either uncomfortable in conversations or unable to relate to what the group’s talking about 7 times out of 10. I couldn’t think of anything to say to keep the conversation going, and whenever I said something, it was usually an awkward joke that left the conversation quieting down. Because of this, I was more of an introvert, especially during my junior high years.
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Dead Week Have You Feeling Down? Here are My Favorite Ways to Recharge

Yup, it’s that time of the year. Classes are over and dead week has officially begun. Maybe you’re ahead of the game and have already gone to a review session, whipped out the highlighter, gone through practice exams… wow you’re a star. Or maybe you’re feeling a little burnt out and studying sounds like a Friday thing (and that’s alright too!). Either way, if you need a break (or something other than Facebook and Youtube to procrastinate) then this article is just for you! Here are my favorite ways to recharge during dead week:
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Favorite Late Night Eats

Image from the Daily Cal https://bestofberkeley.dailycal.org/2016

We all know those study cravings come with the worst inconvenience the middle of the night with the worst convenience. I have had extensive experience with the midnight study cravings and escapades to restaurants open past 9pm, so I am here to share with you today some of my favorite late night eats.

1. Late night

Crossroads’ (Croads) has started offering their late night again for flex dollars (that come included with your meal plan). Open from 10p till 1:30am, it’s the perfect alternative if you don’t want to spend money on food and have flex dollars in your account. Second semester they upgraded their buffalo wings to include 4 different sauce options. I love the thai chili sauce, it isn’t spicy at all but adds a sweet and savory kick to the wings. You can get six pieces for around 5 flex dollars, which I find a steal amongst bay area prices. The classic fries and tater tots are also offered, which I also often get. Late Night also has breakfast items like pancakes and breakfast burritos which are also very filling and delish!
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Reflecting on my Decision to Join the UC Rally Committee

At the beginning of this academic year, my sophomore year, I decided to join the UC Rally Committee, a group of students I had seen on campus wearing bumblebee-colored rugby-style shirts and passing out flyers about upcoming rallies and games. I had very little idea of what I was getting myself into, and yet it was the best decision I have made in college so far. Here’s a little bit about why.

I decided to join because I wanted a friend group to go to the football games with and that’s all I expected to get out of it. I had a friend who had joined freshman year and I had watched from afar as she had a ton of fun her entire freshman year and I decided I wanted in on that fun. Why did I decide to join now, you may ask; why not second semester freshman year? Why not as soon as I saw her having fun? The answer is simple: freshman year I had a group of friends in the dorms and I didn’t feel I needed other friends. We ate meals together in the dining halls and left our doors open so we could hang out every night of the week. I was certain that we would never stop being friends. Until summer came and there were no more chats in the group chat and I realized my unbreakable friend group had only been friends by proximity. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about becoming close with those people. I just wish I had joined more clubs to be more involved in the school to have other social circles in addition to them. So, I joined RallyComm because they had free football tickets, my friend had fun in it, and I wouldn’t be standing alone at the games. read more

Making easy money as a student!

Are you a student that has spent a few too many dollars at Kingpin donuts and Berkeley boba shops and needs a little extra spending cash? Getting a job can be a big commitment, in fact I’ve tried and failed to juggle multiple paid positions at one time. If you’re looking for a more low-key way to make money, here is an easy way for students to earn some cash.

1. Sign up for studies through the Xlab, which runs experiments through Haas School of Business and the psychology department. As a freshman, I earned something between $500 and $1000 over the year from actively participating in these cool studies. They can be anywhere from hour-long social experiments to four hour experiments in an MRI machine, or with a cap of electrodes on your head. I recommend you skip the short, low paying studies and go for the longer psych studies where you can earn $50+ dollars per study. With the flexibility of the Xlab portal, you can choose from different dates and times to fit in between your busy schedule. Additionally, some of my friends have done contact lens studies through the School of Optometry. If you’re around Pimentel, they always are posting for participants, just know you might have slightly wonky vision one day as they test out different prescriptions. read more

Prom, Part 2

If you thought you were done with dances after senior prom, think again!

I’m part of an organization called the Residence Hall Assembly, or RHA for short. This is a body of students that live in the on-campus residence halls here that help plan and promote events for the residents. Most of our work comes in sponsoring Hall Associations (committees in each residence hall) that plan events and request for funding. One of these events is something we call Mystery Masquerade, which happened just two days ago on Friday night. read more

Decisions, Decisions

My friends and me at a football game

So it’s that time of the year: decision time! May 1 is quickly approaching, and the class of 2023 will very soon be all decided on where to go come the fall. Being a freshman, it wasn’t too long ago that I was in the exact same spot, so I wanted to use this article to talk about how I ended up here at Cal!

I’m from Connecticut, and when I was applying to college, I never thought I would go as far from home as California. I knew I didn’t want crazy northeastern winters, but the things I wanted in a school were so generic: pre-med, research opportunities, and school spirit. I think almost every school in the country has those, which made it very difficult for me to narrow down my options
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Learning from Mistakes

dead succulent
A succulent I had killed this semester. (R I P Mr. Meilleur)

Throughout the school year, I have made many, many mistakes. Cliche as it may sound, I believe that mistakes are not a measure of failures, but a measure of growth. College is a unique ecosystem that bridges the sheltered world of childhood to the consequence-filled adult world. It’s a playground where there are baby consequences to our mistakes that are easier to recover from.  It’s a transitional stage, and in this flexible atmosphere we are able to grow the most.

Mistake 1: Not bringing enough winter wear. As a native from Southern California, the coldest winter that I have lived through was maybe 55 degrees. Summer was an 11 month long season. I brought a trunk or two full of shorts, skirts, and summer dresses, and probably just one thick winter jacket. After this semester’s brutally cold and rainy winter has come to a close, I am even more glad that I can finally stop shivering in the thin tops I had brought from home. I have learned now that I must prepare as much as I can for any situation that comes my way. Sure, things can be unpredictable at times. But now as a routine, I check the weather app every morning to ensure that I don’t suffer through the day’s weather. In turn, this is something I began applying to other commitments this semester: whether it be looking up the location of a meeting place beforehand, putting events on calendars, or researching topics to brainstorm solutions about, I have learned to prepare as much as I can for what I know will come. Then at least you’ll be prepared to take on curveballs life throws at you.
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Spring Style on Campus

This spring, I’ve seen a number of different campus fashion trends, clothing items, and accessories floating around Cal. Whether these unique strategies of clothing oneself are to combat stress, add a little pep in your step for the day, or just to get from one place to the next, I thought I would hash them out in an effort to shine light on the student experience. Below are 5 typical outfits that I believe encapsulate different types of weekdays experienced by the average Berkeley student!

1. Monday– the “I think I’m going to actually try this week” look read more