A Letter Home from a Berkeley Summer

Dear Mom,

Everyone raises their eyebrows when I tell them I’m currently living in a fraternity house. My manager at Trader Joe’s was intrigued, and Aunt Kendall was slightly appalled. But we’re being safe here, I promise. There’s a room for anyone feeling symptoms to isolate themselves in, and most of us are taking advantage of the Berkeley COVID-19 Safe Students Study run by researchers on campus. We take our temperatures every day, submit them to a form, and get tested for free! The cotton swab test made me tear up a bit, but campus is working hard to come up with a plan for the upcoming semester, and if this helps them make sure my friends can return safely, then I’ll do it.  read more

Reflecting on the Halfway Point: A Berkeley Narrative

The campanile on the first day of my freshman year.
The Campanile on the first day of my freshman year.

The month of March is a particularly trying time for high school seniors, and with my younger brother and his friends all biting their nails to find out where they’ll be accepted, I feel like I’m experiencing the confusion of college all over again. There’s the typical questions of what to major in and if dining hall food is any good, but also the more nervous, keep-you-up-at-night ones: will I make friends? Will I fit in? What if I don’t do college the “right” way?

As the oldest child in my family and the first to leave the nest for college, I definitely was worried about all these questions coming to Berkeley. Leaving the home I’d known for years and growing up is scary. After hearing about college life from my friends in grades above me and watching movies taking place on college campuses, I thought I had to follow these images that formed in my head in order to have the perfect story. And when I told eager adults that I would be heading to the Bay to Berkeley, I felt the pressures to strive to do everything I could to live up to the expectations of a prestigious school.  read more