My roommate walks in the door and holds up a bag of takeout food before removing her mask. We grab forks and sit down in front of her laptop, Chinese food balanced on our laps as we log on to a virtual club meeting to talk with our friends. This scene has happened every Wednesday since the beginning of the shelter-in-place, it’s our weekly ritual to give ourselves a break from dishes and support the small Chinese restaurant down the block, King Dong. We have had many memories with our friends there, since it is the closest restaurant to our apartment, reasonably-priced, and the taste never disappoints. When this crisis started, we decided to eat there once a week to give them even a small bit of business in these trying times. We also decided to support local businesses as much as we can, because the city of Berkeley is packed full of amazing small businesses and we want to continue to enjoy them after this is over.
On March 6th, I flew back home to Seattle for a long awaiting family event. It was then that I found out that I wouldn’t be flying back to Berkeley because I had a fever and was directed into quarantine. That following Tuesday all classes went remote. As one would imagine, this quick adjustment caused chaos in the university and the rest of the world. However, Berkeley’s adjustment brought new aspects to my education that I wouldn’t get in my normal curriculum.
My biology lab class had the most drastic change. How are we supposed to engage in biological experiments and discoveries without being in a live setting? The Biology 1B faculty worked hard to figure out how to incorporate technology without losing the fundamental techniques and takeaways from our labs. This has led to the incorporation of coding and Jupyter notebook. As a biology and math major, coding is not something that is emphasized in my curriculum despite it being a very useful skill in those career fields.
M. N has been dancing her entire life. It’s her passion and her livelihood. Dancing has been M.N’s constant throughout the years, so it makes sense that she would try out for the dance club here at Berkeley. During her audition, she had a heart full of hope, but now, her disappointment breaks any semblance of a plan she had once had. She was rejected.
C. S’s deep interest in history was a catalyst for her application to the Student Advocacy Office at Berkeley. She believes her ability to describe laws and Constitutional intricacies as well as her passion for justice would make her an ideal candidate. She’s always been an A student with a great repertoire of community service, but after receiving her rejection from the Student Advocacy Office, she began to question her worth.
Waking up on UC Berkeley Decision Day 2019, I was completely nerve-wracked. It was my last school to hear a decision from, and most definitely the one I wanted to see a “Congratulations!” email from the most. Not knowing what time the decision was going to come out, I was a mess all day. I couldn’t pay attention in class, I was checked out when talking to my friends; the only thing I could think about was the fact that Berkeley was my dream school, and I knew that this was the day that my dream was either going to come true, or become out of my reach.
One of my favorite parts of the UC Berkeley campus is the mix of scenery you can find all within a 5 minute walk. It is easy to go from the urban streets to nature to being surrounded by gorgeous campus architecture, all within a few minutes. After taking a semester abroad and coming back to campus, I found myself struck at just how beautiful the Berkeley campus is. The large white buildings, that towered over me as I walked through campus, made me feel a peculiar sense of inspiration and pride. I missed having such pretty views on my walks to class.
Well, it’s that time of the year again: college decisions are out. My younger sister just went through all of the lows and highs associated with this process and I have been fortunate enough to be home during all of this, sharing in both her excitement and disappointment. As a current second year student, it was a great opportunity to reflect on my own journey to Cal.
I don’t remember a whole lot about opening the decision, other than the numbness that came with it: neither a rejection nor an acceptance. I’d wanted to go to Cal for as long as I could remember and to be waitlisted almost felt like a slap in the face at the time. But I now know that it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
On March 10th, all classes were moved online in order to further implement social distancing. It’s been a month since all in person classes were cancelled, and even longer since COVID-19 has been in the united states. For many of us, this is the first pandemic we’ve ever personally experienced, and it’s a scary time. Campus is dead silent. And it’s hard to be here without my friends, alone not only in my dorm but on an empty floor, but I know it’s the best choice for me.
Growing up without siblings meant the only people I interacted with around my house were my parents. For the most part, I was used to having my own room, a place that served as my personal sanctuary after a long and tiring day, and I cherished the ability to come back to an empty space and decompress by myself. When deciding to attend a fairly large public school such as Berkeley, I knew I had to embrace the idea of living with multiple people, potentially up to six or seven if I was placed in a suite. At first, this adjustment seemed intimidating and overwhelming to me; I was used to having a very strong sense of who I shared my space with, and felt nervous that a brand new environment with random roommates would be deeply overwhelming.
In recent months as global events unfold, I-alongside millions of college students- was repeatedly told by administrations of ‘instructional resilience’. As part of SACUE, the Student Advisory Council for Undergraduate Education, I have also taken part in several discussions regarding how campus responds to emergencies like power outages, fires, and other phenomena that cause unrest on campus.
Something about the word was unsettling and confusing to me always. To this moment I am unsure how to exactly explain the weight of the term and the power it holds over campus. As we receive a bombardment of emails now from companies, schools, and news about how much ‘worse’ our situation in the United States and the world becomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can only turn to memories of how things used to be.