If other Berkeley students are anything like me, they went through high school taking the maximum amount of AP and Honors credits, doing sports and extracurriculars in and out of school, staying up late to finish every assignment, and living in fear of letting themselves–or the people around them–down by getting *gasp* a B! When I was admitted to Berkeley, I had a gut feeling that this was where I would end up, whether I liked it or not. I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by the amount of people and that I would never be able to succeed here academically. After reminding myself that (1) I’m a fairly outgoing person who just has to join clubs and continue to put myself out there and (2) that college is a place to learn from people who have been working in specialized fields for decades, I realized that I pretty much just had to come as I am!
Now, after almost 3 years of being here, I have grown a lot as a person in a multitude of ways. Not only am I more confident in my knowledge and abilities, but I also am no longer afraid of failure. Sure, there was an adjustment period when I arrived and, yes, I probably could’ve done better in my classes my first semester, but at the end of the day everything is relative. I was just happy to get a single A- during my first semester; but like I said, it’s all relative – grades are just letters anyways! Gaining this outlook and experience my first semester, I knew how I could improve and create plans for myself to not just get by in classes, but to really learn the material and excel!
Even walking through campus, students are reminded of the rigor and potential for competition when they see 4.0 Hill, 4.0 Ball, and the University Seals surrounding Memorial Glade. However, all of these are just silly superstitions. Do I still abide by them? Well, yes but I do not live by them. I enjoy having traditions to respect and games to play while I go on with my day. Seeing people roll down 4.0 Hill on a regular spring day brings a smile to my face. Having to maneuver around the seals – and seeing people part ways during even the most busy passing periods – is a reminder of how united our campus can be, even if it is about a silly superstition.
I used to roll my eyes when my mom told me that it didn’t matter what grade I got “as long as I worked hard and learned something,” but over time I’ve really gotten behind this idea. At the end of the day, nothing matters as much as we think it does. There’s no reason to exhort all my energy stressing about a midterm grade that cannot be changed or worrying about what my friends, classmates, or professors think about me when I could be taking in the beauty and esteem of the University through its beauty and the beauty of the people I interact with everyday.