Will you be declaring as a MCB (Molecular and Cellular Biology) major? Do you need some help in getting things started with planning out the next four years of your undergraduate career? Well, I’m here to help! As an out of state student who came from Hawaii, I didn’t have any connections in Berkeley so I started planning everything out from scratch. During my freshman year, I was actually required to submit my 4 year plan (the courses that I am taking for each semester) in my 6th week of class due to a requirement that I had to satisfy in my Army ROTC program. Yep, that’s right, I needed to plan out all 4 years of my classes in a month after I started school! Thinking back about it, it’s actually not that bad. In this blog, I’ll share my secrets on how to get your four year plan done in less than a week.
One of the best benefits of going to a school like Berkeley, is not just what happens in school, but what happens outside of it. The Bay Area is a diverse area, full of options, from the beaches bordering the chilly northern Pacific, to cities with major metropolitan offerings, to even mountains and beautiful California scenery. With so many different adventures to choose from, I’m here to share my favorite memories.
I’m a big foodie, and I love to try new cuisines from different places. One of the places I love to go with my friends is Fruitvale, a neighborhood in south Oakland that’s home to a large Latinx population, where I often to go a restaurant called Aguachiles el Tamarindo. Located in a stationary food truck with a large outdoor seating area, Aguachiles offers a large selection of Sinaloan dishes, from traditional entrees to newer, more popular food trends. It’s one of the many amazing restaurants and food trucks located in Fruitvale, and in the larger Oakland area.
Thinking back to when I walked into my campus ambassador job audition my freshman year, I was so nervous. Being surrounded by so many intelligent people at a school that I thought I’d never get into* is intimidating in itself. When you add the opportunity to try to be a representative for the entire school by giving tours, my anxiety skyrocketed. I wasn’t shy, but I was unsure about my value as a student and human being. Becoming a campus ambassador has not only improved my confidence, but also developed skills, helped me make genuine connections, and understand responsibilities.
Life at Cal can be rather stressful at times, and what better way to cope than with retail therapy? Lucky for the fashion forward student body, there are so many places to go and find a new favorite item. Or, better yet, a renewed favorite item! Consider this a go-to guide to all of the vintage, thrift, and small-business clothing stores around campus.
Indigo Vintage Located down Telegraph, this is one of my personal favorite stops. I will admit that it is one of the pricier options, but if you only go when you want to treat yourself, it is definitely worth it. The employees are always so kind and ready to help you find everything you need and make you feel SO good about yourself! Also, if you’re for any reason looking specifically for Harley Davidson, Disney, or wolf shirts, this is the place!
Unfortunately, our campus tours are limited in scope to only cover the Berkeley campus – there is so much more to see and explore in the surrounding city of Berkeley! Listed below are a few of my favorite places to visit while exploring after your campus tour.
Berkeley Thai House
Berkeley Thai is a longtime favorite of the students on campus – the outdoor patio provides an excellent ambiance in good weather (which, let’s face it – almost all Berkeley weather is good weather). The entree-side-drink combo is great for eating out on a budget, and the portion sizes almost guarantee delicious leftovers for the next day.
Nestled in the quiet neighborhoods of the north side of campus, the Normandy Village is a taste of Europe right in the Bay. Either a drive or walk-by offers breathtaking views of this quirky themed housing – just be sure not to disturb the residents with your “oooh”s and “ahh”s!
Berkeley Rose Garden
While you’re on northside, check out the Berkeley Rose Garden! With over 1500 rose bushes and beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, the garden is a sweet oasis slightly removed from the busy city around the bend.
Back on the southside of campus, Telegraph Ave. is home to a wide variety of storefronts, from vintage shops to record stores! A student favorite is Moe’s Books, which houses multiple floors of fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. I always make a beeline to the poster section on the bottom floor – almost all of the walls in my apartment are adorned with my purchases from here!
Lawrence Hall of Science
Whenever I have the time, I love driving up to the Lawrence Hall of Science to catch some breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay. The sunsets here are insane – watching the golden sun sink below the Golden Gate Bridge is such a treat!
On your way to or from the Lawrence Hall of Science, stop by the Berkeley Botanical Gardens and marvel at the thousands of plant varieties surrounding you. While wandering through the gardens, I often forget that I’m even in Berkeley because of how peaceful it is.
That is, until a friend of mine told me I would make a good campus ambassador. I spent so long mulling over the application, pouring hours into each short answer question and tiny detail. When I got the call back to go to the interview I was ecstatic, I had made it past the first round and I was feeling good. The audition was so fun too, looking back on it, meeting all the to-be ambassadors I now call my friends and seeing them equally as eager to join this phenomenal team, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
And then I was hired. And now I’m here.
Campus ambassadors are some of the most influential people on campus. For 175,000 annual campus guests, a student ambassador is the first person they have contact with, shaping visitors’ first impressions of the university. Campus ambassadors lead tours, serve visitors at campus landmarks, support parent programs, staff special events such as Cal Day and Homecoming, as well as work with a growing number of other unique assignments. As representatives and advocates for the university, we personify the excellence and diversity of the campus community.