First day of sophomore year was thrilling. Maybe I am the only one that still gets those “first day jitters.” Maybe most college students are used to it. Not me. Every year proves to provide new emotions: whether its nerves, confusion, excitement or maybe for some, indifference. First day of my Freshman year provided a lot of the first two, in addition to a general sense of self-consciousness that everyone around me knew I was lost. It was exciting, yes, but the tour I had taken months prior in addition to a week of GBO did not even remotely prepare me for knowing the exact location of Cory Hall- I am still confused as to why my English lecture was placed in that building anyhow- it’s an EECS building!
Sophomore year provided some of those emotions mixed also mixed in with more positive ones. I finally had a semester that was dedicated to classes that were all for my majors. I knew where the buildings were, I knew of the time cushion available to me from Berkeley time, I knew what GSIs are. I was set! Until I saw the location for my Sociology 5 (Evaluation of Evidence) lecture was in the Haas School of Business. I had never been inside of Haas, with exception to the library. So at 9:20 AM on August 29 I wandered around the maze that is Haas until I found the auditorium I was supposed to be in… I thought? The number outside the door matched… But the sign on the door said ESPM? Huh?
I stood outside the door for a couple seconds until I noticed another student with the same confused look I know I had on my face approach the door, a hesitation to reach out for the door handle clear on his face. We gave each other a look, an approving nod, and walked in. We were in the right place! Oh, joy! And it was definitely a joyous sight to see- and not only because I was in the right place. Let me tell you, Haas is gorgeous. That lecture hall to this day is one of the more impressive ones I have seen in my day, and I have spent my fair share of time in Wheeler. However, I only got to spend about 45 minutes of glory feeling like a Business student. The lecture room had been double booked, and the ESPM class was going to come in during the second half and ours would be cut short.
“Okay…” I thought to myself. “Big school, that’s bound to happen sometimes!” The Professor told us that we would be notified shortly of the new lecture hall we would meet in for the following lecture.
It ended up being Sibley Hall, a lecture space in the Engineering side of campus. Another place I would never, I mean never, have taken a class in otherwise. My majors could not be more remote from Engineering, but Soc 5 gave me the opportunity to yet again, wander around like a freshman– I even had to ASK someone where the lecture was (in my defense, it IS pretty hidden). It felt like the first day again, I was excited to see a new space and felt accomplished sitting in the comfortable seat in the lecture hall I had so skillfully managed to find- it’s the little things, right?
The Professor started to make jokes at the expense of our lecture hall tour around campus, being a great sport about the whole thing. I guess Cal heard his positive outlook towards the situation because soon enough we were given another stop on our lecture tour- this time, in the International House. I am a huge, huge, fan of the International House Café, but have never had the pleasure of venturing into the mysterious structure exclusive towards International students or lucky habitants of the beautiful housing facility that has arguably one of the best views of the Golden Gate. Our time in the International House conference hall-turned-lecture-space did not disappoint. It simultaneously gave off Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” Vibes and Hogwarts energy while giving our Professor a dramatic flare, for while he discussed the difference between paradigms and theories, his voice would echo to no end.
Sometimes, Berkeley throws you wild cards. Sometimes? You don’t get the class you need right away. Sometimes? You won’t love your GSI. Sometimes? You will have a mobile lecture that takes you on a tour of the wide range of lecture spaces we have. Honestly, these curveballs are what make me love Berkeley even more. Life isn’t always going to be perfect and all of these little hiccups have taught me how to make the best of an unusual situation. It has also shown me that there are people who can look at this situation as humorous, and kind of random, but enjoy it for the fun opportunity it presents: seeing more of our cool campus! Those are the kind of people I like to surround myself with.
So that brings me to the last stop of this lecture hall tour. The stop that made me most grateful that Sociology 5 took me on fun trip around Cal. On our last stop, we had our lecture in the Booth Auditorium in the UC Berkeley School of Law: 175 Boalt Hall. I kid you not, I passed out when I entered the Law School. (Okay, I didn’t pass out…) But it IS amazing. Being able to just walk past the mysterious library whose access is granted to those admitted into the Graduate school, and absolutely no one else, just made me feel like an intellectual. My Sociology tour group, a.k.a my friends in the class, “got lost” on the way to Booth (even though the Law school faculty posted clear signs so that us undergrads wouldn’t stumble through the beautiful, clean Law School for more than our allotted time) and were able to sneak a peek at some other classes that were decked out with fancy doors and pure mahogany aesthetic. When we finally made it to the hallway leading to Booth Auditorium, we then spent five minutes stopped at the framed photos of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor commemorating when they spoke at the Law School. And then Auditorium itself. Oh wow. I don’t know what it is about a lecture hall that has great acoustics or a mock courtroom layout but I came out of that class genuinely considering switching paths and applying to law school. (That went away in 5 minutes).
So what do I have to come out of this experience? A confused sense of identity? Possibly. Definitely a deeper appreciation of what this school has to offer. As a tour guide, I pride myself on knowing a lot about what the outside of all of our buildings look like and also having a thorough comprehension of the history that each holds. But Berkeley is just so cool! There is still so much to see and learn and I am grateful for having Sociology 5 for allowing me to see lecture halls I will (sadly) never take a class in again. Stay tuned though… Maybe I will switch to Legal Studies? I mean, RBG just spoke there… for Legal Studies majors…
Wow. Go bears.