First Night of College

With most upcoming life changes, people picture how their life will be different and what their new daily life will look like. Senior year of high school, my thoughts and ideas regarding my new life and transition to Berkeley were no different.

As a fitness enthusiast, one of the first questions high school senior Sara asked Berkeley students was “where can I sweat?” While the Recreational Sports Facility is a great resource if you are into group fitness classes, looking to max a new record in the weight-room or to have an option in the event that it is raining, I often prefer sweating outdoors in nature.

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The view from the Big C trail.

If you didn’t know, Berkeley is located on a hill! I say that partly as a joke, because anyone who has visited Berkeley’s campus knows we are on a hill by their shortness of breath trying to make it from one side of campus to the next and partly as a fact for those like myself who were shocked to make this discovery after living in an extremely flat area close by.

These beloved Berkeley hills make for awesome hikes with even better views. The two main hikes offered here are the Fire Trails and the Big C. The Fire Trails provide either one or two hour long hikes or training grounds for long distance runners or simply those looking to complete repetitive hill sprints. The Big C is much shorter; taking less than 45 minutes to complete. While both offer breathtaking views, my favorite is undoubtedly the Big C, of which I’ve been to close to 30 times.

This quick 20 minutes to the top hike makes for the perfect study break, early morning cardio followed by sunrise yoga at the top, an active date activity, or late night stargazing location. For the past 9 months, I’ve tried to complete this hike once a week because I enjoy it so greatly.

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Sunrise morning yoga at the top is one of my favorite ways to start my day!

It all started when I hiked the Big C with my freshman floor-mates on the first night of college. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was performing at the Greek Theater right next to the trail, and my floor-mates and I climbed up to the Big C while listening to his music radiate throughout the hillside. A full two years and many Big C excursions later, I still remember my first time sitting on the bench at the top mesmerized by the lights of the bay area that appeared to be dancing to his music. All I could think to myself was, “welcome to college, Sara” and “remember this feeling of unlimited possibility during the next four years”.

Now, if asked where my favorite place on campus is, I’m quick to respond with the Big C. Not only does it have a history of its own after being constructed in 1905, it has become a large part of my Berkeley experience. Starting with the feelings of optimism and peace, I experienced my first night of college, no matter the reason why I find myself up there, I can always count on it to bring me joy (and a great workout). I truly encourage every golden bear to find a place on or around campus that brings them a state of peace and comfort or just makes them happy to be alive.

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Author: Sara

Hello! My name is Sara Billman. I am a junior studying public health with hopes of having a career in sports medicine. Since I have been figure skating since the age of three, I have a vested interested in working with athletes to maximize their potential through preventative measures such as proper weight lifting education, nutrition and recovery. At Berkeley, I am on the Cal Figure Skating Team , the assistant philanthropy chairman of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, a research assistant for a Berkeley psychology lab, and I serve as a part of the Catholic Student Ministry Team. In my free time, I enjoy studying to become a group fitness instructor or just hanging out with friends (often while hiking or drinking coffee). After Berkeley, I plan on filling my gap year before grad school by working for Disney on Ice or as a Catholic Missionary. Cal has offered me the best undergraduate career I could have asked for. It allows me to be a part of a diverse family that encourages each individual to reach his or her highest potential by exposing them to a range of interests. Berkeley allows me to reach my highest potential not only in my passion for figure skating but also in my academic goals. Go Bears!