The Hunt for the Best Berkeley Sunset

I thought the loveliest sunsets I’d ever witness would be those moments I’ve gazed across the Grand Canyon or watched the orange sun disappear over the beaches of Southern California. Yet the first sunset I watched from the Berkeley hills took my breath away, and two years later, it still does. As a long-distance runner I’ve discovered most these spots from running over the years, but even if you don’t jog to these vistas, exploring these places will give you a much-needed study break.

Photo credits to my friend Sana K. who shared this sunset with me
  1. I’ll start with a classic: the view from Lawrence Hall of Science. You can take the uphill shuttle from Evans Hall directly here. You not only see San Francisco, Oakland, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, but you are also accompanied by fun statues like a DNA helix and a whale!

2. One spot you probably haven’t thought to venture to for sunset is the UC Botanical Garden. Given that it closes at 5, you can only really experience the golden hour in winter, but it’s amazing to watch the cacti, roses, maples, and towering redwoods as they glow in the evening sun. Luckily free with Cal ID, just be sure to arrive before they close doors at 4:30 PM. read more

Spring Break on Campus

It is spring break, that fun time of year full of trips to exotic locations, time with family, or, for some of us, another week on campus. For one reason or another, sometimes we end up being what seems like the only person left on campus for break. There will always be midterms to study for, but with campus libraries closed, I’d like to offer some ideas of what to do this spring break if you are like me and are finding yourself still at Berkeley and a bit bored thinking of a whole week with no plans: read more

Fiat Lux: Celebrating Berkeley in the Details

My attempt at taking a cool Polaroid of the Campanile last week.

Every day is a day that us Berkeley students can celebrate our university’s history and achievements. There’s one day in particular that sticks out, though: March 23rd (tomorrow!), the date of the University of California’s founding. It’s more fondly known as Charter Day, and we’re able to celebrate the birth of our university and the UC system as a whole.

Let me give a little historical context to Charter Day. Before the University of California, the College of California existed. In 1862, right in the middle of the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, which allowed the federal government to allot land for states to establish a public Agricultural and Mining Arts College. This went into effect for California in 1866, but this state college had no campus. However, on March 23, 1868, governor Henry Haight signed an act that merged the College of California with the Agricultural and Mining Arts College to create the University of California. Then, five years later, the University of California moved from Oakland to the Berkeley campus, where students work, study, and figure out life today. read more

Parlez-vous français?: Taking a Language Class at Cal

Learning a second language is different for many students. For some, English is not the mode of communication they’re most comfortable with, and others are used to speaking a second language at home while English comes more naturally for them. Some have no encounters with languages other than English, and the idea of communicating in a completely new way is something, literally, foreign to them.

Personally, in some ways, I have collected languages over the years. My mom is from Taiwan, so I grew up speaking Mandarin with some of my family and studying at Chinese school every weekend. Having grown up in California, I took Spanish classes starting in middle school and up to the AP level. Enamoured by a trip I took to Europe in high school, I quickly became interested in French culture, art, fashion and food; before heading to college I became eager to learn more about it and to possibly visit again in the future. I developed a dream of studying abroad in Paris or another city in a “pays francophone”– a French-speaking country. read more

Spring Break in NYC? Here are Some Fun Things to Do!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to new places, I always want to do what the locals do. Yes, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are very cool to visit, but I always like to find the small pockets that show off a place’s quirks and uniqueness. If this sounds like you and you’re heading to New York City for spring break or anytime in the future, then this article is just for you! Growing up in Connecticut just a 45 minute train ride away, I have tons of places I love in New York city for all of you non-tourists. I hope you like them too! read more

CalDining Food Hacks!

Cal Dining
An image from the official CalDining webpage.

Do you love food? I love food. But no matter what school you go to, dining halls aren’t the best. (sad) Through trials and tribulation, I’ve come up with some hacks to get us through the daily grind. I have been to 3 of the 4 dining halls on campus: Crossroads (aka croads), Cafe 3, and Foothill. While I hear Clark Kerr’s dining hall is the best, I am not sure if these recipes will surely apply. (sorry ckc friends).

Appetizers & Mains

In n Out Animal Fries
Lived in so-cal and missing them animal fries? Me too. While this won’t be the same, we can come close. To prepare, the dining hall will have to offer fries that day. From the deli bar, you want to grab some onion slices, and grill them on the panini press or the toaster oven. After they’re pretty grilled, chop away! Grab some fries, place the onions on top. If you go to the salad bar, they will always have thousand island dressing and cheese. Put some dressing and cheese on. Some days it isn’t American cheese, but you do what you can do :’) . After, microwave for 20 – 30 seconds. And you’re all done! read more

Branching Out

As a double major in two completely unrelated subjects here at UC Berkeley, I don’t usually have a lot of room left in my schedule to take classes outside of my majors.  My typical semester involves four classes for my majors in addition to my research lab, which doesn’t leave me with a lot of spare room. However, this semester I was able to register in a special one unit seminar through the Center for Latin American Studies here at Berkeley.  The class only meets once a week for three hours, and only runs for a month. It seemed like an amazing opportunity and a great way to branch out from my required major classes so when the opportunity arose, I registered without a second thought. read more

Go Bears!

“Go Bears!”

It’s a cry you can hear all around campus. During finals week, football games, or even when you get the last slice of pizza in the dining halls and you’re way too excited about it. In all honesty, it’s a very versatile cheer: when you’re happy, sad, scared, stressed, or anywhere in between. To some, it might be a way of showing sympathy, and to others a celebration after finishing 3 papers all conveniently due on the same day. Maybe it’s the perfect way to sum up all 4 years as a Berkeley student, or maybe it’s a way to find your Berkeley friends in a big crowd. Whatever it may be, “Go Bears” is the cry of a community: a group of students who are passionate, who challenge themselves, and who all have a certain soft spot either for Berkeley itself or for the people they have met here. In a way, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a method of identifying with people that have a shared experience at one of the best universities in the world. read more

Reflecting on My Fall Semester

Mantis shrimp

Last night I dreamt in three languages. It was the strangest thing to wake up to and realize, but it made me pause for a minute and reflect on all the amazing experiences I’ve had at Berkeley this semester. As a student at Berkeley, your life is often busy running to and from classes, studying, and participating in any outside extracurricular activities, and you don’t have a lot of free time to just sit and reflect. Since the semester is drawing to a close, I’d like to take a minute to reflect on some of the things I am grateful for this semester. read more

Best Places to Travel Over Winter Break

Thank goodness for all of, Winter Break is quickly approaching. In the last week of instruction, with RRR week and Finals looming over our heads, it’s important to take time to think about the endless possibilities that Winter Break holds. With an entire five weeks off this December and January, what can’t you do? One option is to travel to a new place – whether it’s a new country, a new state, or even just a different city within California. Here are some recommendations: read more