When my friend asked me if I was interested in talking a Bridge class, my only response was, “I can get class credit for playing cards? Sign me up!”
This semester, I’m enrolled in the “Learn to Play Bridge” Decal, which meets for an hour every Tuesday. Each week, we learn something new about the game: we began with the structure and rules, and are now beginning to dig into strategy. After class, students are invited to stay and polish our skills.
Isha, who is both the DeCal instructor and the President of UC Berkeley’s Bridge Club, is a certified Bridge instructor. She was also part of a team of UC Berkeley students who won the collegiate Bridge national championship in 2014. UC Berkeley offers over 200 DeCal courses every semester – on topics ranging from “Introduction to Investment Banking” to “Knitting 101.” It’s convenient to add DeCals into your schedule because the classes are only one or two units, taken Pass/No Pass, usually in the early evening, and focus on a fun topic. Every week, I look forward to Tuesdays at 5 p.m. because I get to hone my Bridge skills with a group of new friends I’ve made over the past few weeks. That’s another great thing about DeCals – you get to interact with people from every department on campus, ranging from freshman to seniors.
If there is something you are extremely passionate about – Archery? Organic Gardening? Salsa Dance? Greek Folk Dancing? Swing Dance? – you could even teach a course! (By the way, those are all real examples of DeCals offered this semester!)
Last semester, I took a tax preparation DeCal that prepared me to be IRS-certified volunteer income tax assistants. In addition, we spent half of our class time discussing the tax system’s merits and pitfalls, and what changes could be implemented to improve the system. This semester, I am putting my new tax preparation skills to good use by helping low income families in Berkeley and Oakland file tax returns.
Check out the complete list of DeCals for the Spring 2015 semester to get an idea of a class you yourself could take, or even teach, as a Berkeley student.