To Rush or Not To Rush a Berkeley Sorority

Sororities. 

The first thing that may pop into mind is the image of heaps of screaming and cheering girls chanting cult-like songs while judging you maniacally. I don’t blame you. That was always what I thought it was. However, experiencing rush week fall of 2019 at UC Berkeley completely transformed my perspective. I never could have imagined the community of authentic, intelligent, passionate and truly caring women I found within a Berkeley sorority. 

Why did I rush? Short answer: I was curious. It intrigued me. I reminded myself that Greek life is unique to the college experience and I decided why not try it out. The worst that could happen was I don’t join a sorority and I move on with life and the best that could happen was to find a community. read more

Dear Seventeen

Writer’s Note: I just wanted to share bits of wisdom I wish I could have said to myself at age 17, just as I was about to apply to college. I hope this is useful for y’all 🙂

Dear Kaelyn, age 17,

Wow have you got a lot ahead of you. I know you want out, to go as far away from home as you can, to get your own life. I know you think that you are so much more than your small town, which believe it or not you’ll miss. There is so much that I wish I could tell you. Let’s start with this. read more

An Ode to Brown’s: On Campus Dining

As a College of Natural Resources Student, I am a simple woman. I like public transportation, sustainable energy, and Brown’s. This small on campus eatery in the middle of the College of Natural Resources area of campus, nestled between the Genetics and Plant Biology Building and Morgan Hall is the home of the best use of Flex Dollars. Flex Dollars are part of the on campus meal plans, the other portion being swipes to go into dining hall. Though as a sophomore I no longer have a meal plan, my freshman year palette was shaped by Brown’s. Locally sourced organic food and kombucha on tap are a staple of this wonderful, beautiful place.
While there are three Peet’s Coffee locations on campus, the one in Brown’s is the best. The lack of heavy foot traffic allows the baristas to put artistry and care into the drinks. I have yet to get a better cappuccino, best paired with a chocolate chunk cookie: my favorite four pm snack on Monday afternoons right before my freshman seminar. read more

Berkeley, I Miss You

Berkeley, I miss you.

I miss the walk from Clark Kerr to campus every morning, even though it meant I had to wake up 15 minutes earlier than Unit kids. I miss those morning walks that had become peaceful, cathartic, and routine.

I miss walking out of class on a sunny day. I miss seeing every inch of Memorial Glade covered with students tanning, reading, throwing frisbees, and playing quidditch. I miss taking advantage of a single sunny day during a gloomy week.

I miss walking through campus. I miss seeing Doe Library, and the Campanile, and California Hall, and every other building on our gorgeous campus. read more

West Coast Best Coast

I have lived my entire life on the east coast. I lived on Long Island, New York for the first 11 years of my life and then moved to Delray Beach, Florida. I was actually even planning to stay on the east coast! However, I’m blessed to find myself here at the number one public university in the world. Berkeley was so tempting that I switched coasts for it! I’m so thankful for this opportunity to be here surrounded by such intelligent people and initiatives!

Author Dina Katgara is depicted hugging Berkeley's mascot Oski Bear

The most obvious adjustment for me was the time-zone. A difference of three hours actually does a lot for you. In Florida, I usually woke up at 12 pm when I could anyway, so the adjustment just made me have a better sleep schedule when I’m in California. Now, I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier too. The vice is that when I’m home, my new bedtime is 3 am, as it would be midnight in California, or maybe that’s just an excuse to stay up all night! read more

Dear Freshman Year

Dear freshman year,

With the end of my freshman year approaching, I’ve been looking back on what made it so great, regardless of how it was unfortunately cut short.

A lot of those great memories have to be credited the UC Rally Committee. Rally Comm gave me my friends, my future housemates, my job, and a great deal of happiness. Looking back on how scared I was to join makes me laugh, I can’t imagine my freshman experience without the UCRC. I’ve come so far and I’m excited to give back to the committee that gave me everything I wanted and more as the new Director of Security. What is this you might be asking?  Well, let me tell you all about it. My job as DoS, as it’s called, includes some very important tasks. I’m now in charge of keeping the Big C the beautiful shade of queen bee yellow, and I guard the California Banner that goes up at different sporting events and Cal events. I’m lucky enough to be in charge of the upkeep and protection of two important symbols of this university, and I’m so ready to represent Cal in this position. read more

Summer Sessions!

Me petting a llama or alpaca after a summer class!
Me petting a llama after a summer class on Memorial Glade!

After months of instruction, most students are eager to go home and relax for the summer months. However, with my great experience from last year, I decided to take a few summer classes again come May!

My summer experience last summer was fueled by multiple factors. I wanted to enroll in a UGBA course and learn more about project management, while also taking a math requirement course. I also decided to work throughout the week to save up money for my year’s worth of rent that I had signed up for starting June that summer. read more

The power of a Berkeley education

Before beginning my education at Berkeley, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue in life. I was certain about my eagerness to enter into the field of politics following my college years, and in order to do so, I committed myself to majoring in Political Science starting my first semester at Berkeley to put me on track toward a political career. I was so adamant about the fact that I was destined to pursue Political Science that I didn’t stop for a second to think about how my 17-year-old self could possibly know anything about who I would be and what I wanted to do five, ten, or even fifteen years down the line. The Campanile on a beautiful, sunny day in Berkeley. read more

The Spirit of Berkeley: Our Students

I like, most of the people I know, miss Berkeley more than just about anything right now. One of my friends even jokingly asked once what body part I’d be willing to give up if it meant going back to Berkeley the next day: a leg, just toes, a single eye… an absolutely arbitrary argument about complete nonsense. The point being we yearn to go back, to see the campanile, to lounge on memorial glade on a warm day, even to spend a long day studying in Main Stacks. Berkeley is a very special place, it is our home, it brings us together and makes us feel whole. read more

In the Spirit of Uncertainty

Summer is an important time for college students. Many of us work, seek out new experiences, take internships, travel or continue our studies. It’s a time to enjoy the limited responsibilities of University while escaping the academic pressure, and focus on things you care about. 

Prior to COVID-19 cancellations, my Plan A for Summer 2020 was to complete a research internship fully funded by the German Academic Exchange (DAAD) studying tropical corals in Germany (sounds cool, doesn’t it?). This, unfortunately, was the first of my plans to be cancelled. Thankfully, I anticipated this, and thought of Plan B: spending my Summer contemplating conifers at UC Berkeley Forestry Camp, a required program for Forestry majors at Cal which focuses on developing the practical skills for a career in forestry or natural resource management. When Forestry Camp applicants were notified that the program would likely not occur, I thought of Plan C: Take summer classes and work in my lab on campus. Yet, Summer classes are being held online, and as the days go by, it seems more and more plausible that there will be no open lab to return to.  read more