When you first come to Berkeley, you might be bombarded by how much there is to do and see here. From the quirky bookstores to the vegan cupcakes, the city of Berkeley is teeming with unique and cultivated experiences. Working as the lead business and economy reporter for the Daily Californian has allowed me to have the opportunity to get to know some of the really amazing small businesses here in Berkeley! My name is Dina and I’m going to be your virtual tour guide through some of the best small businesses in Berkeley!
I was in the second semester of my sophomore year and had only had two jobs my entire life. Both of those jobs were not part of the fields within my major (Sustainable Environmental Design). I felt like it was finally time to try out something closer to my major and explore what was out there. I was always interested in studying abroad, so I looked into what they had to offer.
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, many programs were being held virtually or were completely canceled for the time being. But then I remembered a newsletter I saw from my college about a virtual internship program offered at UC Davis and looked into it. After reading through what they had to present, I decided to participate in the Green Technology, Sustainability, and Environment Virtual Internship Program. It seemed to fit my field of work, and besides, I did not have many plans over the summer. What was really nice about this program is that it included both a course and an internship, so I received units while participating in an eight week internship. The paperwork for attending another university’s abroad program was hectic at first, but I got through it after various emails.
An integral part of the college freshman experience is the transition from living at home to living on your own. The residence halls hold a special place in the hearts of all who inhabited them, and are home to so many memories. With each housing plan in the dorms comes a meal plan, redeemable at any of the 4 dining halls surrounding campus. Many students have very strong opinions about their favorite or least favorites – here is my comprehensive rankings of the dining halls, evaluated on food quality and diversity, ambiance, appearance, and overall experience.
4. Cafe 3
Situated mere blocks from campus, Cafe 3 is a popular destination for students looking for a quick bite to eat between classes on the south side of campus. This dining hall is known for its diversity of vegetarian and vegan options (though honestly I think all of the dining halls offer the same amount of plant-based alternatives), and is conveniently located in the center of the Unit 3 Residence Hall courtyard. There’s no denying it – Cafe 3 is always a safe choice in terms of distance and options. The inside of the building itself is a little dated – the color scheme is a hodgepodge of neon colors reminiscent of decades past, but there are ample seating options both inside and outside if you so please. Overall, Cafe 3 serves residents of two of the largest residence halls and, although its decor misses the mark a little bit, provides a space for students to work, hang, and eat, as any good dining hall does.
I’m on a mission to visit every single one of Berkeley’s 24 libraries during my final year at Cal. As the first month of school comes to a close, I’ve decided to highlight some of these spots that aren’t as popular as, say, Doe or Moffitt. Let’s take a look!
Have you been attending Zoom University from your bed this past year? Now that “in-person” school’s back in session, what changes will you need to make to your daily routine? What are the types of habits that are going to make you successful?
If these are the questions that you’re wondering, then stick around! I’ll answer everything below and lay out the most effective strategies for achieving your best results this school year at UC Berkeley.
Bzzzzzzz! BEEP! BEEP! Your alarm sounds. It’s 11:59 am and you have 1 minute till your 12 o’clock class. You shut it off and turn on your computer. Zoom starts and you hear your professor talking. This is probably the daily routine of a Zoom University schedule for many of us. Although this seems to be the ideal life of a student, going to school from your bed, it produces long term habits that will negatively impact our daily lifestyles.
When I first arrived on campus, I had no idea that in three years I would be part of a team that runs one of oldest and one of the most intricate student organizations here: the UC Rally Committee. Founded in 1901, the Rally Committee is a campus wide organization that helps retain the history and upkeep all of the spirit and traditions developed on campus in the last century. In three years, I went from someone enjoying weekly meetings and Committee events to being the who plans and executes them. Not only has it been such an exciting and challenging experience, it’s also been one that’s provided me vital skills that will help me in the real world.
As the Vice Chair of Communications for the Committee it’s my job to make sure the important weekly documents and information for all general members go out every week in a timely fashion. Being able to use the Google Suite of applications makes things streamline so that every week I can send out agendas and slideshow to the Executive members. Utilizing tools like Google Groups to make mailing lists, customizable email templates, and schedule sending emails help me maximize my time and make sure my message are sent promptly. There are always so many practical tips and tricks like these I learn in the day-to-day of my position.
Even more than the logistical side of things, it’s also critical to work together with the Chair Person and the other Vice Chairs to ensure that everyone, from Membership to Rallies, runs their projects as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In order for the organization to function, we have to keep open and clear lines of communication, constantly updating each other through email threads and Slack messages, and using Google Calendar to plan meetings and publicize our events.
While every educational moment at Berkeley is so important, there is so much more beyond classes that we as students are able to learn. And that’s what I love about this school: the opportunities to do more, and do better in any area of interest or study. From aiding the environment to supporting local communities, Berkeley students have the unique ability to grow professional and practical skills without having a 9 to 5 office job, all while being a full time student. Most importantly for me, serving as the Vice Chair of Communications allows me to remember that there is a life outside of school, and it’s a place I can still grow, and have fun, all at the same time.
My posts were a bit random in topic, but very personal and special to me nonetheless. I wrote about the International Student community I was a part of at International House, my experiences with dance on campus, the process of learning my fourth language, and even day-to-day trends in campus style. Blogging gave me an opportunity to reflect individually, but also to wonder if my independent musings could possibly help someone out there learn a little more about what it is like to be a Berkeley student.
Things changed the following Spring when I joined the Leadership Team for Campus Ambassadors. My first project was to take over the management of the Bear Talk blog, and lead my fellow Campus Ambassadors in creating a hub for discussion and reflection of the Berkeley experience. Learning the behind-the-scenes duties of keeping such a website alive, appropriate, and compelling taught me so much that I know I will be able to take with me in my future endeavors.
Although I stopped writing blog posts in my junior year at Cal, I discovered more about Berkeley through the posts of the bloggers I worked with. I inadvertently soaked up so much experience and wisdom from my peers by reviewing each post. Every funny story or piece of advice stuck out to me. I learned that as much as Berkeley students were busy and engaged, they were also incredibly open and thoughtful.
The developments in writing that I saw on the site seemed to grow alongside a rise in engagement with the blog. During my time supervising it, the blog’s viewership rose, sometimes having months with several thousand readers. It was extremely rewarding to know that people resonated with and had taken time to learn more about the student experience through the words of our Campus Ambassadors. When the pandemic struck in 2020, I felt even more grateful to be a part of a project that could share the Berkeley experience at a time when no one could physically come see Berkeley for themselves.
Sadly, this wonderful experience had to come to an end for me when I graduated in May of this year. As I left Berkeley behind, I also left behind this project that has taught me so much. While I’m sorry to move on, I also know that this blog has so much life left to live, and so much potential to grow and evolve. It now rests in the capable hands of another incredible Leadership Team member that I was lucky enough to have trained and mentored. My biggest hope is that Bear Talk will continue to inspire, reflect, and shine as it continues as a vessel for explaining the almost indescribable experience that is going to Berkeley.
As for me, I now sign off from this website, 8 days out from moving to Europe. I am stressed, overwhelmed, and in a period of adjustment, but I am hopeful for the future. Whether I’m connecting with the kids in my French classroom or drafting a brief as an attorney in the future, I hope that I can express myself in a way that is both compelling and honest, just as this blog has done over the years. To Bear Talk and everyone who has been a part of it– I hope that you continue to shine your bright light on the Berkeley experience. Thank you so much, and as always, Go Bears!
In my four years at Berkeley, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about how organic molecules are formed, about the duality of particles acting as waves, and about how chemicals contribute so much to our world, both good and bad. I read thousands of pages of chemistry textbooks, some of which kept me up at night because they fascinated me, many that put me to bed because they were so dry and boring.
But as most soon-to-be college grads will likely agree, I know that I learned far more beyond the classroom. I learned to become a somewhat dysfunctional, sometimes functioning adult. I developed some vices I’m not so proud of (an addiction to caffeine) but also perfected the level and intake of caffeine that will give me the ideal amount of focus to get to work.
I learned to be extremely inquisitive and curious about the world. Berkeley gets an inaccurate rap of being a liberal bubble, but on the contrary I think it’s made me very open-minded to people of different beliefs. At Berkeley, we generally hope to have political beliefs and ideology that serve the greater good, but if something in our aligned political party isn’t serving the American population, then we’re not going to blindly support it. We are critical of our government and actively brainstorm alternative solutions in and out of the classroom. We show up to protest causes we are against, and show up in even greater numbers for the causes we support— take the Climate Strike in 2019 that gathered thousands of students that are behind oil divestment, progressive climate policy, and the Green New Deal.
One of my greatest takeaways of attending a huge undergraduate institution with a diverse student body is how to foster an inclusive environment. From little things, like the language we use to address other people so as not to assume their gender identity or sexuality. Or larger issues, like how to host an event or activity that is going to accommodate for people of all abilities. Or even thinking about the kind of people that are going to show up in a space, and if our organization reflects students of all backgrounds so as to make everyone feel welcome and invited. Learning how to cultivate a safe and positive environment is a skill that will be implemented far more than my knowledge of quantum mechanics ever will!
Here is Part 2 of the Ultimate Travel Guide for Berkeley. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, then please click here.
Our next HIGHLY RECOMMENDED sightseeing place IS:
3) The View from the Lawrence Hall of Science/Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
This location overlooks the entire city of Berkeley as well as San Francisco in the distance. One of the best views of the Bay Area can be seen from this site. Travel up with your buddies in the afternoon and stay for the sunset/night views! I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed with this visit. There are 2 ways in which you can get up to the Lawrence Hall of Science: 1) By hiking up the fire trails (which connects directly to the Mathematical Science Research Institute and leads to the Lawrence Hall of Science) OR 2) Get a car ride from the Memorial Stadium to the Lawrence Hall of Science (faster route; on the way, you should pass by the UC Botanical Garden).
I’m so glad you’re almost over. This year has been so hard in so many ways, I’m ready to move forward and leave you in the past. Spending a full academic year virtually has really helped me come to appreciate normal college life more. I’m tired of never leaving my house and I miss all the clichés from my freshman year. Staying in the libraries until they close, sitting down in class out of breath because I hate having gaps in between my classes nd have to run sometimes, spending all day on campus and walking home as the sun sets.
All of that was stolen from me and everyone else on campus this year, and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you for that. Sophomore year, why did you have to be so hard? Zoom burnout, academic burnout, social burnout which I didn’t even think was possible considering I only ever see my housemates. I’ve taken to making jokes about how I peaked last year, how fall 2019 was the best year of my life. But as time progressed and now we’re here at the end of it all I can’t help but feel the truth in that sentiment.
Sophomore year, while you were kind of awful I want to focus on the good that came out of you. I rediscovered why I’m passionate about my majors, and I changed my concentration in the Rhetoric department which I am so excited about. Speaking of Rhetoric, I just filed for the paperwork to declare it as my second major, having also declared my first (Philosophy) last fall. You’ve given me the chance to really bond with the people I live with, creating a really supportive atmosphere that I could not have made it through the pandemic without. My classes really kept me afloat, providing structure and routine. Just like last year, I had some really cool professors and GSIs that I hope to stay connected with, maybe take a class with them in person. Overall, I’ve just been existing. It was kind of cool to be a part of history like this, but I’m ready for it to be over now.
Next year is already off to a much better start (no offense). Being in small departments, all of my classes will be in person meaning I get to be on campus again. I’m passing on the mantel of Director of Security in the UC Rally Committee to a really wonderful and dedicated new member who I am beyond excited to mentor and help. Not only that, but I’ve made a few new friends who I care about so deeply, and I’m anxious for the day that we meet in person and I can give them the biggest hug. Even though I won’t have an executive position in the UCRC, I’ve come to terms with that and am ready to help my friends who did in any way I can. I’m excited for them to move back to Berkeley as well. I live with lot of them already, but it’s just not the same without everyone.
I think the hardest part is how many people are graduating this year. I hate that their senior year was ripped from them, and I hate that I have to watch them go without really even getting to say goodbye. I know it’ll hurt like this every year, like it did last year, but this one is a little bit different. If any of you seniors are reading this, you made this year special for me and I’m going to miss you so hard.
I want to apologize, because I know that when I look back on you I’ll see you as the worst year of my life. But it wasn’t all bad, and deep down I’ll remember that too, although I’ll be too stubborn to admit it. One day, sophomore year will be a great story to tell.
P.S. to the senior who reads all these posts, runs the blog, and made me the campus ambassador that I am right now: you were such an amazing cohort leader and I’m thankful for that every time I clock in to work. Congrats on graduating, you’re going to do some amazing things I just know it 🙂