Unlikely Roommates

Laura and I on our Oregon road trip

I can still remember the excitement leading up to my first week of my freshman year at Berkeley.  Like most other freshmen, my mom and I spent hours shopping through Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Kohl’s, searching for dorm necessities in all my favorite colors.  There was just one twist. Unlike most other freshmen, I didn’t live in the dorms my first year.

Housing at UC Berkeley is unique in that students are not required to live in on campus housing during their first year at school.  My freshman year I decided to live in a building called Tellefsen Hall, which serves as a housing option for members of the Cal Band.  It was cheaper than living in the dorms, and it seemed like a great way to form an immediate community at Cal. Unlike the dorms, Tellefsen Hall houses students of all grade levels and places students of varying grade levels in the same rooms.   read more

The Hunt for the Best Berkeley Sunset

I thought the loveliest sunsets I’d ever witness would be those moments I’ve gazed across the Grand Canyon or watched the orange sun disappear over the beaches of Southern California. Yet the first sunset I watched from the Berkeley hills took my breath away, and two years later, it still does. As a long-distance runner I’ve discovered most these spots from running over the years, but even if you don’t jog to these vistas, exploring these places will give you a much-needed study break.

Photo credits to my friend Sana K. who shared this sunset with me
  1. I’ll start with a classic: the view from Lawrence Hall of Science. You can take the uphill shuttle from Evans Hall directly here. You not only see San Francisco, Oakland, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, but you are also accompanied by fun statues like a DNA helix and a whale!

2. One spot you probably haven’t thought to venture to for sunset is the UC Botanical Garden. Given that it closes at 5, you can only really experience the golden hour in winter, but it’s amazing to watch the cacti, roses, maples, and towering redwoods as they glow in the evening sun. Luckily free with Cal ID, just be sure to arrive before they close doors at 4:30 PM. read more

Spring Break on Campus

It is spring break, that fun time of year full of trips to exotic locations, time with family, or, for some of us, another week on campus. For one reason or another, sometimes we end up being what seems like the only person left on campus for break. There will always be midterms to study for, but with campus libraries closed, I’d like to offer some ideas of what to do this spring break if you are like me and are finding yourself still at Berkeley and a bit bored thinking of a whole week with no plans: read more

Fiat Lux: Celebrating Berkeley in the Details

My attempt at taking a cool Polaroid of the Campanile last week.

Every day is a day that us Berkeley students can celebrate our university’s history and achievements. There’s one day in particular that sticks out, though: March 23rd (tomorrow!), the date of the University of California’s founding. It’s more fondly known as Charter Day, and we’re able to celebrate the birth of our university and the UC system as a whole.

Let me give a little historical context to Charter Day. Before the University of California, the College of California existed. In 1862, right in the middle of the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, which allowed the federal government to allot land for states to establish a public Agricultural and Mining Arts College. This went into effect for California in 1866, but this state college had no campus. However, on March 23, 1868, governor Henry Haight signed an act that merged the College of California with the Agricultural and Mining Arts College to create the University of California. Then, five years later, the University of California moved from Oakland to the Berkeley campus, where students work, study, and figure out life today. read more

Parlez-vous français?: Taking a Language Class at Cal

Learning a second language is different for many students. For some, English is not the mode of communication they’re most comfortable with, and others are used to speaking a second language at home while English comes more naturally for them. Some have no encounters with languages other than English, and the idea of communicating in a completely new way is something, literally, foreign to them.

Personally, in some ways, I have collected languages over the years. My mom is from Taiwan, so I grew up speaking Mandarin with some of my family and studying at Chinese school every weekend. Having grown up in California, I took Spanish classes starting in middle school and up to the AP level. Enamoured by a trip I took to Europe in high school, I quickly became interested in French culture, art, fashion and food; before heading to college I became eager to learn more about it and to possibly visit again in the future. I developed a dream of studying abroad in Paris or another city in a “pays francophone”– a French-speaking country. read more

Spring Break in NYC? Here are Some Fun Things to Do!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to new places, I always want to do what the locals do. Yes, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are very cool to visit, but I always like to find the small pockets that show off a place’s quirks and uniqueness. If this sounds like you and you’re heading to New York City for spring break or anytime in the future, then this article is just for you! Growing up in Connecticut just a 45 minute train ride away, I have tons of places I love in New York city for all of you non-tourists. I hope you like them too! read more

CalDining Food Hacks!

Cal Dining
An image from the official CalDining webpage. http://caldining.berkeley.edu/menu.php

Do you love food? I love food. But no matter what school you go to, dining halls aren’t the best. (sad) Through trials and tribulation, I’ve come up with some hacks to get us through the daily grind. I have been to 3 of the 4 dining halls on campus: Crossroads (aka croads), Cafe 3, and Foothill. While I hear Clark Kerr’s dining hall is the best, I am not sure if these recipes will surely apply. (sorry ckc friends).

Appetizers & Mains

In n Out Animal Fries
Lived in so-cal and missing them animal fries? Me too. While this won’t be the same, we can come close. To prepare, the dining hall will have to offer fries that day. From the deli bar, you want to grab some onion slices, and grill them on the panini press or the toaster oven. After they’re pretty grilled, chop away! Grab some fries, place the onions on top. If you go to the salad bar, they will always have thousand island dressing and cheese. Put some dressing and cheese on. Some days it isn’t American cheese, but you do what you can do :’) . After, microwave for 20 – 30 seconds. And you’re all done! read more

Branching Out


As a double major in two completely unrelated subjects here at UC Berkeley, I don’t usually have a lot of room left in my schedule to take classes outside of my majors.  My typical semester involves four classes for my majors in addition to my research lab, which doesn’t leave me with a lot of spare room. However, this semester I was able to register in a special one unit seminar through the Center for Latin American Studies here at Berkeley.  The class only meets once a week for three hours, and only runs for a month. It seemed like an amazing opportunity and a great way to branch out from my required major classes so when the opportunity arose, I registered without a second thought. read more

Get Involved!

What will you remember about your college experience once you graduate? What are the moments that will stick in your mind, and make you miss being a student? Maybe it’s the friendships formed over stress and one too many coffees, or maybe it’s the weekend excursions that you plan with your friends to get away for a little bit. For me, it’s the communities: the friends, the professional teams, and the project groups that I’ve formed, and the time I’ve spent dedicating to the things I don’t HAVE to do. In college, we all have to go to class, we all have to write that essay, and we all have to spend nights in libraries or studios perfecting our work. But for me, what really stands out is what I’ve learned to dedicate my free time to: the things I would do regardless of salary or wages, and the things that make me want to wake up in the morning and get out of the house rather than staying in my comfortable bed all day. read more