What Its Really Like to Live in a College Apartment

This summer, I lived in my first college apartment. In my first year, I lived in the dorms, which is the most common option for freshmen at Cal. During my sophomore and junior years, I lived in my sorority house. So, during my first three years, I was living in situations where I was more independent than I was at home. of course, but I still had a lot of help.

In the dorms, I could go to my RA if something was wrong with my living situation and get it fixed pretty quickly. I didn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning beyond cleaning my side of the bedroom. I ate at the dining hall every single day and never cooked a single thing for myself. My sorority house felt even cushier, with a housekeeper that came every day and an in-house chef that allowed me to continue to not cook or clean for myself. I’m very lucky to have had these experiences and been able to rely on meal plans and cleaning services that made my life as a student a lot easier. This year, however, I decided it was time to move into a more independent style of living, and summer was sort of my intro to what’s in store for me this year. read more

Berkeley activities you need to put on your bucket list

Going to college means having almost unlimited opportunities available to you. With so many things to do at Berkeley – social, professional, and athletic events and opportunities – it can be difficult to decide what exactly to do, which is why students come up with a bucket list of items that they absolutely need to do before college ends. At Berkeley, two items that have to be on that list are picnicking on the glade and eating pizza from The CheeseBoard Collective.
The classic Berkeley experience is having a picnic on the glade. It’s 70 degrees and sunny, the breeze is just right, and you’re surrounded by good vibes while relaxing on one of the prettiest parts of campus. I finally got to experience my first proper Berkeley glade picnic the day after my last final of freshmen year. After grabbing the classic Bulgogi fries and Salmon bowl from Golden Bear Cafe, my roommate and I laid our picnic blanket on the upper part of the glade near the trees. Blasting music from our speaker, we played songs that reminded us of past memories.
Relaxing on the glade with no pressing worries reminded me of days at the beach, when you would just relax with your friends. Instead of the ocean however, we had beautiful views of Doe Library and the Campanile. Surrounding us were more groups, also enjoying the nice afternoon on the glade. From couples having intimate moments to big groups laughing over stories, the Glade is a place for everyone.
The Cheese Board Collective is a world famous pizzeria, bakery, and cheese shop located just a few blocks from campus. It’s the highest-rated pizza place in America according to Yelp and only serves one type of pizza per day, which is vegetarian. Cheese Board is so famous that when my friend from New Jersey came to visit, she requested to eat there because her professor talked about it in class!
I finally got to try Cheese Board this summer with my fellow campus ambassadors Brandon and Lila. While we were waiting in line we struck up a conservation with the people around us. The man standing in front of us was a Berkeley professor from France. We asked him what it’s like teaching students at Berkeley and he wanted to hear our perspective on classes as Berkeley students. We also talked to a couple who were on a road trip from Southern California. They were involved in the health industry and gave my friends some tips on how to succeed in the health industry.

Of course these are just two items for your Berkeley bucket list. There’s so many more things to do at Berkeley – hiking at Clark Kerr fire trails, watching a dance performance, rolling down 4.0 hill, etc – but I highly encourage everyone to start out with a nice picnic on the glade and going to Cheese Board collective pizza. read more

#DormLife: Tips and Tricks for an Easier Move-In Day!

An exhausted me after fully moving in my dorm at Clark Kerr Campus, August 2021
An exhausted me after fully moving in my dorm at Clark Kerr Campus, August 2021

Hey you! Guess What? Move-in day is coming up fast! Before you start panicking and raiding your local Target (not sponsored), know that move-in is not at scary as it seems. While this marks the beginning of a new academic year and the next step in your academic journey, #dormlife is not as complicated as it seems and will be an amazing experience. Luckily, you came across this post and are about to learn some amazing tricks from your veteran at #dormlife and first-year resident assistant. Here are the five key things you should know. read more

A Reflection on my Chinese Minor-ing Experience at Cal

 

As mentioned in a previous blog, one of my accomplishments of the 2021-2022 academic year was finishing up my Chinese minor; and although that journey began just to practice my Chinese and have something nice to put on my resume, that experience was so much more fun and rewarding than I could have ever imagined it to be.

In order to gain a Chinese minor, you must have a minimum of 5 letter-graded courses and 20 units and a GPA of at least a 2.0. These courses include Chinese 10B or equivalent (students with previous language experience may test out of this course due to prior knowledge and experience learning Chinese), three upper division Chinese courses, and two
East Asian Language and Culture (EALANG) electives selected from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, and other EA Lang courses. One 7A or 7B course may be substituted for one of the five courses, and EAP courses may be used to satisfy one of the electives; however, not all EAP courses will be approved for the minor. Please check with the advisor in advance. A non-EALC course (History, Anthropology) may also be used to satisfy one of the electives, but again please check with the advisor in advance! The classes I ended up taking for the minor were Chinese 100XA and 100XB (Advanced Chinese for Mandarin Speakers), Chinese7B (Introduction to Modern Chinese Literature and Culture), EALANG112 (​​The East Asian Sixties), and EALANG C128 (Buddhism in Contemporary Society).

The first class I took for my minor was Chinese 7B with Professor Andrew Jones. And that class was…. How do I put this… life-changing? I still remember going into class on the first day (right before the start of the pandemic) a little nervous and unsure of what this modern Chinese literature and culture class will entail, and if I was cultured enough to get through the class okay. And boy did I leave not only that day, but that class feeling fulfilled. We covered Chinese works from “The Romance of the Western Chamber” written in the Tang Dynasty to Mao Ze Dong’s “Little Red Book” during the beginning of China’s Communist Regime. To this day I don’t think I ever met anyone as passionate or interested in Chinese music, literature, and culture as Professor Jones. And he teaches in a way that infects his students with that same passion. It was thanks to this class that I discovered a new passion for older Chinese literature, and continued even after the course to explore other works that we didn’t get a chance to go through (the ancient plays are so poetic that they made some of the Shakespeare plays I’ve read sound like regular books).

The next class I took for the Chinese minor was EALANG112, or a course on the East Asian Sixties taught by Professor Jonathan Zwicker. Although his passion was very biased towards Japan, it was still super cool to learn so much about the historical and societal context of the climate in East Asia, and specifically Japan (and the fact that I got to watch movies for class for the first time was pretty cool too). And introducing me to my first Bruce Lee film is something I will always be grateful to Professor Zwicker for.

I ended my Chinese minor with my Advanced Chinese courses, as well as EALANG C128, or the course in Buddhism. The class on Buddhism in Contemporary Society was taught by Professor Blum, who I coincidentally bumped into and talked to for the first time while trying to turn in a paper for Chinese 7B. Although that course was a lot more memorization-heavy than it needed to be, it was still a really rewarding class to do well in (especially considering the fact that he was so passionate in the subject, and translated many of the original works that we had to read. It also helped me navigate to see if Buddhism was the right religion for me (as it was something I always practiced but never understood enough to know for sure if it was something that I believed in).

Despite all of the classes being amazing though, I would have to say that Chinese 7B and Chinese 100XA/B would have to be the highlights of that experience. I took 100XA and XB with Professor Li Liu, and she was the sweetest teacher I’ve ever had. Although I joined the first of the two courses a few weeks late, I was able to catch up quickly and didn’t feel behind at all. And the fact that I got to continue the class through 100XB and see many of my same classmates, we got to know each other pretty well and it definitely felt like having a class with a second family (especially when Ms. Li invited us all after the last day of school to recite poems outside the campanile and talk about life, it really was an unforgettable experience).

Overall I really loved my experience minoring in Chinese and wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world. I met the most passionate teachers, learned the most interesting things, and most importantly, I learned to really love and appreciate and truly be proud of my culture. And hopefully, this encourages you to explore new classes and extracurriculars to find what passions you have yet to discover (what better time than college:)) read more

A Love Letter to My Hiring Class (The Tea on Being a UC Berkeley Campus Ambassador)

To my beloved hiring class,

 

We made it! The hiring process, five months of training, Cal Day, and the tours we did in the Spring finally paid off. We made it to the Summer! Now comes the lock-in shifts we have together, the tours we give on the weekdays, working the Visitor Center and Campanile on weekends, and bonding in our downtime by exploring the Bay and Berkeley. 

 

Ambassadors, post training to lead the Campanile operations, May 2022
Ambassadors, post training to lead the Campanile operations, May 2022

This summer has definitely been a challenge for us. For many of us, this is our first real job. We have had to break out of our shells, take on new responsibilities and adapt to what this job brings us on a day-to-day basis. Some of us were asked to become the leaders in the Campanile, running the desks like we saw our LTs and Senior Ambassadors do before us (Shout out to Jimmy for training us). Some of us were tasked with maintaining the behind-the-scenes of the many group tours and GCTs we lead daily (Shoutout to the 101 summer squad). We become the leaders who trained us – some of us ending up on the Leadership Team for the first time (Shoutout to the three new LT: Hailey, Maggie, and Brandon). read more

To Law School or Not To Law School

I’m a Legal Studies major at Cal. I entered my freshman year intending to major in Political Science, but quickly switched to Legal Studies when I realized how much more the classes in that department intrigued me. At the time, I also was sure that I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (my favorite movie) and wear pink as I argued my cases. I always thought that would be my path.

Now, as a senior, when I tell someone my major, they almost always ask me if I’m headed to law school. Freshman and sophomore year I would have proudly exclaimed “YES!”. My Legally Blonde fantasies were still at the top of my agenda when I imagined my life post-grad. But now, I’m not so sure anymore.

You always expect that the first-years are the ones that aren’t sure what they want to do, but by senior year they’ll have it all figured out. They’ll either be studying for the GRE or LSAT or MCAT and applying to grad school programs, or have a job lined up for the next year. For me, it has been a little bit of the opposite. Going into my senior year, I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, or what career to pursue. I do know, though, that I’m not headed to law school. At least not yet.

Even if other people don’t realize it, I have come to realize that my Legal Studies major does not simply equate to “pre-law-school”. Legal Studies encompasses the historical and sociological aspects of the law and legal concepts that are very different from what a law student learns. Legal Studies at Berkeley critiques our legal systems in ways that law school may not. It has given me the reading, writing, and critical thinking background that I know will benefit me in whatever job I pursue after graduation, not just in the legal field.

I also minor in Public Policy, which at times has been even more interesting to me than my major. Pursuing public policy would be a way I can still interact with law and politics, without practicing the law as an actual lawyer. I am now considering pursuing a Master of Public Policy more than a law degree (although I still haven’t ruled law school out entirely).

Aside from my fields of study, I am also very interested in education. This is something I can pursue from the policy side, or as an educator. I think being a high school teacher or a professor would be something I would really enjoy. But I’m not ready to commit to that just yet either.

I think it is okay to not have your mind made up about what you want to do after graduation, even as a senior in college. I know I’ll get a job and figure it out, and can always go back to school to get a law degree or an MPP or a teaching credential or something else later on. I think it’s also important to realize that your major doesn’t put you in a box and that there’s a whole world of careers out there that you can pursue, even if they don’t directly relate to your major. Berkeley prepares us to enter the “real world” after we graduate, whether that’s in the way we expected or not.

How I figured out what I didn’t want to do at Berkeley

At college, it seems that it’s essential to know what you want to do in the future, but what’s equally important is knowing what you don’t want to do. Before my freshman year started, I had a variety of interests and potential career goals. After one year at college, my interests and career goals have changed. I discovered new careers and interests and realized which careers and interests are not for me. The most notable of these careers and interests that I’m no longer interested in are consulting and economics. read more

Comparing Dorms and Finding Housing at UC Berkeley

 

Hello again everyone!

It’s finally that time of year where new and returning students may be trickling back into Berkeley looking for their new classes, tourist sites, and most importantly, new housing locations. But for those who haven’t yet found their housing location, or are looking a semester or year early (which, good for you!), here’s a brief overview of the different housing options that Berkeley students have access to, and how to find those options.

In summary, there are many different housing options that Berkeley has for its students, including the on-campus dorms, co-op housing, housing through Greek life, university affiliated housing, and off campus housing in apartment complexes or houses. Most students (both at Berkeley and beyond) tend to live in the dorms for their first year, then explore the off-campus housing mentioned above that were offered.

Living in the dorms your first year is not required. Some students choose to commute from home or live off-campus during their first year. However, living in the dorms for one’s first year is a very popular option: 92-97% of our first-years and 30% of our transfers choose live in one of the campus residence halls (learn more at https://housing.berkeley.edu/overview). read more

So you want to be an Education major?

Guess what? Did you know that UC Berkeley’s School of Education will be unveiling a new undergraduate major in Education? That’s right! Starting in Fall 2023, students will be able to declare Education as a major! This is a huge milestone for students who are interested in all things related to public education. Let me give you a quick low-down on the history of being an “Education student” at Cal!

 

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Studying Education at Berkeley begins with our undergraduate Minor in Education. Students would major in something else while pursuing the Minor. The Minor was created by our Graduate School of Education (now known as the School of Education) and has quickly become one of the largest Minor programs on campus. 

 

Our School of Education primarily focuses on Graduate programs in the field of Education. They offer teacher-preparation programs, Masters of Arts in Education (M.A.), and Doctorate of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) programs. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs center around different subfields that graduate students can focus on. Some of these subfields include:

  • Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender
  • Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Policy, Politics, and Leadership
  • Social Research Methodologies
  • School Psychology

 

The School of Education created the Undergraduate minor in Education as a way to engage undergraduate students in studying Education and help create the next generation of educators in the country. The minor requires five upper-division courses which includes three units of fieldwork. The fieldwork allows students to get hands-on experience in the field of education.

 

UC Berkeley also offers our amazing CalTeach program for students interested in Math and Science education. If you want to major in a STEM-oriented field, you will be able to participate in the program. This pathway allows students to earn a teaching credential in math or science upon graduation! Absolutely amazing for anyone interested in teaching 🙂

 

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Our new Education major gives students the opportunity to explore the field of education, teaching, and learning through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students who are interested in this major will have to take one prerequisite course to be able to declare (Education 40AC – From Marco to Micro: Experiencing Education (in)equality in and beyond Schools). 

 

Here is the course description for the prerequisite course: “The goal of equality has long dominated social and political discourse in the United States. This goal has struggled alongside our nation’s professed commitment to diversity – diversity of race, ethnicity, class, language, culture, ability, and religion (among many others). Public schools are arguably the primary arena within which efforts to nurture equality and diversity have been focused and challenged. The schools, and the myriad educational contexts beyond them, play a central role in the organization of inequality. At the same time, they also offer the potential for increased opportunity and equity” (Berkeley Class Guide).

 

After students declare their major, they will have to take four required upper-division courses. These courses allow students to get an overview of the field of education and hands-on experience working with educational professionals. The four required courses are:

  • Education 140AC – The Art of Making Meaning: Educational Perspectives on Literacy and Learning in a Global World
  • Education 144 – Practicum in Education
  • Education 153 – Research in Education: Studying Educational Inequality and Possibility
  • Education 163 – Contemporary Issues in U.S. Education
  • read more

    Cal in the Capital: A Summer in DC

    I was never someone who had a plan to study abroad coming into college. I’ve only traveled to a few states, and have never been out of the country, so the idea of going abroad for a few months was never really on my radar. I used to think that instead of going abroad, I would do a semester at UCDC, a program that allows University of California students to study and intern in Washington DC for a semester. But then with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning halfway through my first year of college and impacting the entire following school year, I felt like so much time at Berkeley had been ripped from me already. I had a fear of missing out on the Berkeley experience during my last two years, so I didn’t apply.

    Then I found Cal in the Capital. Cal in the Capital is a program through the UC Berkeley Public Service Center that sends a cohort of Cal students to intern in DC for the summer. It’s extremely similar to the UCDC program – just in the summer and without classes. This seemed like the perfect compromise: I wouldn’t miss out on any semesters at Berkeley, but I also would be able to travel and live somewhere new for a couple of months. I applied and got in, and now I’m writing this from my apartment in Washington, DC.

    I am halfway through my DC summer and it already feels like time is running out. DC is a place where you can never get bored, there are a million museums, monuments, and concerts to go to. So much good food to try and so many cool people to meet. And having spent my whole life living in California, the East Coast feels like another world (almost as if I’m abroad ;)). So far, I’ve been to three Smithsonian museums, a music festival, all of the major monuments (the Lincoln Memorial was the coolest), and I’ve visited both Maryland and Virginia. I’ve been able to visit the U.S. Capitol as an official guest for my job, which felt very fancy. Even though this may seem like a lot, there is still so much more to explore in DC before the summer ends.

    This was just the experience I needed as I near graduation next Spring. My internship has oriented me as I think about a future career and has allowed me to realize that I want to pursue non-profit work in the future. Working a 9-5 four days a week in a big city almost feels like a taste of what post-grad life can be, and it’s not so scary.

    Kalysta stands in front of the U.S. Capitol
    Kalysta stands in front of the U.S. Capitol