As soon as I heard one could study abroad as a college student, I knew I wanted to study abroad. In fact, a strong study abroad program was one of my criteria in deciding where to apply to college. At UC Berkeley I would learn one could not only study abroad but also intern, work or even do research with a professor over seas. However, by the time the deadline came to sign up to study abroad during junior spring as planned, I decided not to apply. This was partly because I had worked abroad the summer after my freshman year and didn’t feel the need to, and partly because depending on your outlook and involvement, I’ve found that you can study “abroad” in Berkeley.
Stepping onto the UC Berkeley campus from any direction, visitors and students alike can immediately notice our Sather Tower cresting above the trees. Walking – or sprinting to class – is made more enjoyable accompanied by Campanile’s hourly toll or its thrice-a-day concerts. This year, the Campanile became an even more central character in our campus’ narrative, as 2015 marked its 100th birthday.
At 307 feet tall, the Campanile remains the third-tallest freestanding clock and bell tower in the world, beaten only by Belgium’s tower and Italy’s Campanile, the Venetian tower after which our tower was named. Its collection of bells began with a dozen installed in 1917, and has swelled to a total of 61 from other class donations and university benefactors.
Sometimes, your most memorable nights of college are unexpected. Admist the heart of midterm season, I attended the UC Berkeley Trustee Dinner.
Little did I know, this dinner would become one of my favorite and most impactful college evenings. Myself and 10 other campus ambassadors arrived to a beautifully decorated ballroom filled with tables and intricately designed center pieces. Outside on the patio of the recently finished Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) Union, cellist filled the space with their jazzy music, waiters moved gracefully around with their hors-d’oeuvres and people floated around in conversation with the typical blue and pink fall sunset as their backdrop.The first women I talked to graduated in the 70s and had been a tour guide herself. Post college she had gone on to become a lawyer and her career led her to manage law firms in both Taiwan and Shanghai. When discussing why I choose Berkeley over the small liberal arts colleges I was accepted to, she shared with me that Berkeley had given her the tools to literally reach across the world. If it wasn’t for Berkeley providing a place for their students to grow to their potential and learn to communicate and work among the masses, she doesn’t believe she would have known how to look over her firms across the world. While I’m in no control over two firms in different countries and am really just trying to control my midterm grade next week, I would say that in these past 2.5 years at Berkeley, I definitely feel I am learning about functioning in a place like the “real world” where you have to go out and take personal responsibility for your goals. My conversation with her really encouraged me to continue to throw myself at various opportunities that present themselves. Who knows- maybe I’ll one day grow my sports medicine company to support athletes around the world.
It’s hard to capture the magnitude of Cal’s 73 points against Grambling State during the Cal football season opener. It’s difficult to articulate the nail-biting stress that the games against the University of Texas, the University of Washington, and Washington State University induced, though they ultimately ended in sweet victory. It’s tough to accurately craft into words being a 5-0 team ranked 23rd in the nation.
The first Cal game I attended as a freshman was the second game of the 2012 season against Southern Utah, and we won pretty decisively, giving me a great first impression of Cal football. Though the rest of the season proved to be pretty tough and disappointing, the beautiful taste of our 43-17 rout of UCLA left me at least hopeful for the 2013 season, the new, Sonny Dykes era of Cal football.