Monday, March 13th will live on in the memories of Cal Women’s Basketball fans forever. It was on this day, when all hopes of an NCAA March Madness bid seemed lost, that Cal earned a 9 seed. The team jumped for joy as they learned they were going back to the Big Dance. I was ecstatic and immediately began composing emails to all my professors letting them know I would be in Waco, Texas. As a member of Cal Band, I had the unique opportunity to travel with the basketball team to the NCAA Tournament and cheer them on. Fortunately for me, my professors were all very accommodating and allowed me to miss class on Friday and Monday, provided I stayed on top of all the material and assignments I missed.
Right now, I’m sitting just off campus in our newly minted Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), the renowned art collection open free to all incoming students, in the bright Babette Cafe. Through a peek-a-boo window, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia reads like a billboard for a recent gallery collection. The collection is a perfect allusion to Berkeley’s aesthetic: trendy ripped jeans, trusty Birkenstocks, a thrifted flannel tied around our waist. In every discipline, these same students are working to apply course content towards a better version of the future. It’s difficult, and we face setbacks, but Berkeley students are lucky enough to be surrounded by 36,000 other students – and 1,500 innovative, supportive faculty – seeking the realization of similar visions.
As an out-of-state student from Maryland, choosing to fly across the country to attend UC Berkeley was a scary, nerve-wrecking experience. Coming to a school with almost 28,000 undergraduate students, knowing nobody, I was anxious to take such a big leap from my home, family, and friends in Maryland. After completing my first semester at Berkeley, I can truly say that UC Berkeley is my home.
In high school, I was really involved in student government, and wanted to continue my passion of representing the student voice at Cal. Thus, I applied for the Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) Representative position in my residence hall’s Hall Association, which is the student government of the residence halls. I was elected RHA Rep and began to attend weekly meetings where Reps from every residence hall across campus come together and have the opportunity to vote on different sponsorship and legislation bills. At one of the meetings last semester, the RHA Executive Team announced a unique opportunity for us to attend a three day leadership conference at the University of Southern California (USC) where students from across the west coast would come together and learn about leadership.
Office Hours. Those two words are repeated over and over as a student. From my parents telling me to go to them, professors reminding about their office hours, and even friends talking about questions they would ask, I hear about office hours on a daily basis. But in all my time here I have yet to attend a professor’s office hours. I have always been scared about going because I usually can get my questions asked in class, so I never had any questions I could ask and I didn’t want to go and be awkward without any questions. But this all changed when last week I mustered the courage to go to my professor’s office hours.
On Wednesdays some may wear pink but last Wednesday, my roommates and I decided to switch it up and spend an evening with Lemony Snicket, Cecile Richards, and some other fascinating figures at Zellerbach Hall.
The event was part of a unique event series called ‘Front Row’ hosted by Cal Performances. ‘Front Row’ was designed to be a performance series that represented three traits of the Cal student community: “innovation, freedom of expression, and diversity”. With these three core themes in mind, Cal Performances wanted to invite a local and culturally significant person to help curate the show – enter Daniel Handler, otherwise known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the beloved children’s books ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ and other novels. Together, Daniel and the crew of Cal Performances put together a whimsical and insightful evening with guests that Daniel invited he believed to represent passion, activism, and social justice.
Spring has sprung, girls and boys! (Though much earlier than anticipated.) And contrary to popular myth, UC Berkeley is not constantly smothered in fog and cold and sadness. Sure, I’m also grumbling about losing an hour of sleep, but we have finally left Frozen behind and moved on to Frozen: Spring Fever, and I for one am more than ready to spring into springtime. (Are these dorky plays on words properly portraying my excitement?) And even though it is midterm and project season still, and though I like to consider myself a good noodle student, entering into this new season of sundresses and patterned shorts, blooming buds of springtime flowers, pollen drifting in the wind, and a truckload of Claritin, I decided to document how I’ve been soaking up my vitamin D this past week (and I’m sure many other Cal students too).