Finals week is next week! Dead week, formally called RRR Week (Reading, Review, and Recitation), is called dead week for a reason. It’s that time of the semester. Every soul on campus disappears into Mainstacks and the libraries to study. As important as it is to study, make sure to take care of yourself. Taking time to partake in relaxing and exciting activities is a good way to balance studies with your health. Below are several suggestions on how to destress during the most stressful week of the semester.
“Five hundred people.” The words echoed in my head as I followed my tour guide around the campus. I had never been in a class with more than 20 students, so how was I supposed to survive in class at Berkeley, with 499 other students competing for the professor’s attention? How was I supposed to be successful?
I was terrified coming into Berkeley, having gone to small schools my entire life. I was used to being extremely close to my teachers, knowing them on a personal level as well as an academic one. I had no trouble getting help in my classes, and often times my teachers would seek me out when I seemed to not understand a topic, before I even tried to reach out. I was used to a certain way of learning, and I was scared that Berkeley would be a challenge. I was also used to having a close knit group of friends on a small campus, and although I was ready to move to a bigger pond, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make the jump from 400 to 40,000.
With one more week of instruction, the finish line of the semester is within our sight. The end of semester also means the lack of motivation or increased laziness. However, it is important to remember that the end of the semester is when you should be putting more effort to study for finals or maintaining your motivation you held throughout the semester. Unfortunately, the last week of instruction will still be as stressful as the rest of the semester. Everywhere I go, I meet people who have essays, projects, and labs due for their classes. It may feel frustrating, but surviving through three more weeks of school should, hopefully, be a smooth experience
In this history of this blog, there has been quite a few editions of the “hidden gems at Berkeley” post. As I’m just wrapping up my freshman year, I’d like to add on to the tradition by sharing my own findings. So without further ado, here is insider’s tour on hidden but beautiful locations on campus.
- The Women’s Faculty Building. I actually take all my tours on this unconventional but beautiful route. Though students aren’t allowed in the actual building (it’s used for faculty functions), there is a tranquil garden out front with several benches that I love to read in. Not many students know about this place, and on a sunny spring day it can be a spectacular place to get some peace and quiet.
- The Anthropology Library. Located on the second floor of Kroeber hall, the Anthropology Library is an adorable library that most students don’t know about. The library has a large main room, with both work tables and couches surrounded by sunny windows and plants.
- The meadow behind East Asian Library. This area, while gazed upon by many students studying in East Asian, is not frequented by many. One of the last truly undeveloped areas on campus, this forest-lawn hybrid hosts trees, benches, and even mini hiking trails. Perfect spot for a picnic!
I’ll end my list there, since I don’t want to give away all my spots! Incoming students: take time to explore our campus. There is so much more to Berkeley than Moffitt and GBC (you’ll know what I mean soon).
U.C. Berkeley’s library is not to be underestimated. Our library boasts a collection of 12.1 million volumes. The numerous volumes make traversing the libraries difficult. In addition, the libraries are not centralized in one single location. With 27 branches, students can access libraries from various locations throughout campus, but it makes finding that perfect book for a research paper or project undeniably arduous.
Now, you might ask: “How do I traverse the library system efficiently?” Worry not! Berkeley has already created a solution for this exact issue: OskiCat.
Berkeley is known for its sizable student population. As newly admitted freshmen, it is daunting to meet new people from diverse locations across the world. But that fear can be overcome by stepping out of your comfort zone (despite how frightening that may seem) to meet potential lifelong friends and a support group that will help you through your Berkeley journey.
- If you live in the dorms, start by introducing yourself to your floormates. The classic advice is to buy a door stopper or devise some mechanism to prop your door open to meet new people. A proactive tactic is to walk into doors that are left open and introduce yourself! Keep in mind that other people in the dorms are also excited and nervous to meet new people.
- Join school organizations and clubs. Don’t be afraid to sign up for clubs during the annual Calapalooza (a college version of club rush) or even halfway through the semester. Clubs are always looking for new active members to join their cause. The best part is that Berkeley has over 1,000 student groups to cater to diverse interests.
- In addition to joining clubs, attend events hosted by school organizations. Many school groups host guest speakers, networking events, social events, and much more! By attending these events, you get to engage in activities you love while meeting people who share the same passions as you do. Even if you don’t like to socialize, volunteering at events is a great way to spend time with people.
- Meet new people in class. On the first day of class, talk to the people sitting around you. This is one of the best ways to meet new people. You have the chance to bond over assignments and midterms, and if you like the people you met, you can ask to hang out outside of study groups. This can be anything from having lunch together or going hiking. If you don’t want to hang outside of class, that’s completely fine. You can still greet them on campus.
During your freshman year, one concern is not being able to meet the right people or finding your social niche in Berkeley. Even if you don’t meet the right people during your freshman year, always remember that we have many more years ahead of us. You never know who you will meet next semester, so don’t give up!
“As difficult as architecture school is, it is also one of the best times of your life.”
If you were to go around to anyone on campus and ask, “what do you think the life of an architecture student is like?” most of them would respond with: “They never sleep!” or “I never see them” or “they’re all perfectionists.” And while it is true that architecture students (or design students in general) work incredibly hard and spend a lot of time in studio, many people who have not been through the studio experience neglect to touch on the fact that studio life is an incredibly life-changing, valuable, and enriching experience. You become aware of all of the little details that can make or break one of your critiques, you learn how to talk with professors, take criticism, and pour your heart and soul into a project, only to be told that your professor is not very fond of it. You learn to defend your work and present you ideas coherently and concisely, taking criticism not as a personal attack but as a chance to develop your own ideas and skills. You learn to manage your time, optimize your studio work space, and balance your other extracurricular commitments, all with a family of students behind you.
We’ve heard it before — Cal is a land of opportunity. Normally that is referring to our academic supremacy over all other public schools. Sometimes it is referring to our athletic capabilities, such as when we won the most recent national championship in water polo. There are truly dozens of areas in which Cal allows the world to be your oyster. However the area that I am referring to is the area of internship experience.
While Cal equips us with the tools to be eager appliers and skilled interviewers, many of the opportunities us golden bears have access to can be attributed solely to the fact that we live in the incredible Bay Area. From the tech world to finance to politics, the Bay is active in all of it. If you are looking to apply anywhere in the Bay, it would be the smart move to take advantage of the many networking events the Alumni House holds and the resume workshops put on my different student organizations. Within my student organization, at our weekly board meetings one member of the executive board does a Linked In, cover letter, or other application building-skill workshop so that all of us are better prepared for the competitive but exciting intern lifestyle. My sorority also has individual members do resume workshops and the like. In conclusion, you can implement this sort of routine in whatever kind of organization you belong to because everyone truly does benefit from it.
UC Berkeley is known for it’s amazing academics. We’re ranked in Chemistry, Engineering, and so many other departments. But I’d say there’s another special academic program here that goes beyond our rankings. At Berkeley, you can take classes on baking, Harry Potter, and even Pokemon! And you even get UNITS for taking these classes. All thanks to our DeCal program.
What’s a DeCal? The DeCal Program allows undergraduate students to organize their own course. These students teach the course on their own to other students with similar interests! By finding a faculty sponsor and drafting out a syllabus, students can get ready to submit a DeCal proposal in almost any type of course you can imagine. Dancing, music, Game of Thrones–there are hundreds of DeCals to choose from. I even teach a DeCal on the famous rapper, Drake.