Summer in Berkeley – a Comprehensive Guide

Berkeley is a blast during the school year – the hustle and bustle of classes, club meetings, sports games and projects keeps students busy from August to May. However, a decent handful of students opt to stay in Berkeley for the summer months, whether they’re working or taking classes. Although campus isn’t as busy as usual, I’ve come to appreciate the quieter summer months in my college town. Here are a few of my favorite summer activities to do in Berkeley!

1. Take an art class through the Berkeley Art Studio
I took my first pottery class through the Berkeley Art Studio last fall, and it unlocked a new skill I never knew I had! I was fortunate enough to finish most of my pieces before Christmas break, and they made excellent handmade Christmas gifts for all of my friends and family. While I’ll be enrolling in intermediate pottery this summer, my roommate opted for a painting class. The studio holds open hours when classes aren’t in session where students can come in on their own time and practice or work on pieces. It’s an excellent outlet for when work gets a little monotonous, and you end the session with a great new decor piece or handmade gift! read more

Deciding the School That’s Right for You

Congratulations, high school seniors! You’ve survived 4 years of hard work, a grueling college application season, and the agonizing waiting period before decisions are released in March. Whether you applied to Berkeley or elsewhere, pause and give yourself a pat on the back – taking the first step toward higher education is a huge accomplishment and you deserve to be proud of yourself.
Most people I knew had a decision to make at the end of their college admissions process. Some were lucky enough to have a clear choice. However many schools you’re choosing between, here are a few tips that helped me as I was coming to my decision, and how you can apply these to yours! read more

The Best Coffee Shops in Berkeley

Coffee is central to the lives of students, working professionals, and hipsters alike. Whether you’re looking to fuel up for a day of work or relax and catch up with a friend, a cup of coffee is great company no matter what your agenda looks like. Berkeley, being a city full of college students and young self-starters, is the perfect place to explore with a great caffeinated beverage. I’m going to break down my favorite coffee shops on and around campus, and encourage you to use this as a mini coffee guide for the Berkeley area! read more

What Berkeley Has Taught Me

Although my college experience is far from over, recently I’ve been reflecting on the lessons that I’ve learned from the school I’ve called home for the past 3 years. Looking back on my freshman year self, sometimes it’s hard to recognize the person smiling back at me in photos. Berkeley has shaped me into who I am today, and although at times I seemed impossible, each of the challenges I’ve overcome have taught me important lessons about myself, life, and the world around me.

Even though my journey at Berkeley started with an acceptance letter, I’ve been faced with more rejections than I can count. Extracurriculars, research positions, and jobs here can be competitive, and even if I felt as though one was perfect for me, sometimes I’ve been let down. I’ve learned to embrace the phrase “rejection is redirection” – I believe that things will work out exactly the way they’re supposed to, even if it’s not always what I want at the moment. read more

The Unsung Heroes of the Big Game: the Cal Band

The weekend of November 20th 2021 was one of the most highly anticipated in the Bay Area. Each year, two prestigious and spirited Bay Area universities meet to celebrate a 124-year-long football rivalry: the Big Game. The celebration of the game is an all-day affair, with students and alumni alike tailgating, traveling and greeting friends in anticipation. The stands this year were particularly full as spectators were not allowed at the previous year’s game due to COVID-19.

Spirit groups of all kinds gather to cheer on their side, from cheerleaders to dancers to Cal’s very own RallyComm. However, no matter what team we’re playing, my favorite part of the football games is halftime, when the Cal Band marches onto the field in unison. read more

So you’ve finished your campus tour… now what?

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.

Normandy Village
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.

Telegraph Shops
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!

Botanical Gardens
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. read more

At a Crossroads: Cal’s Dining Halls, Ranked

An integral part of the college freshman experience is the transition from living at home to living on your own. The residence halls hold a special place in the hearts of all who inhabited them, and are home to so many memories. With each housing plan in the dorms comes a meal plan, redeemable at any of the 4 dining halls surrounding campus. Many students have very strong opinions about their favorite or least favorites – here is my comprehensive rankings of the dining halls, evaluated on food quality and diversity, ambiance, appearance, and overall experience.

4. Cafe 3
Situated mere blocks from campus, Cafe 3 is a popular destination for students looking for a quick bite to eat between classes on the south side of campus. This dining hall is known for its diversity of vegetarian and vegan options (though honestly I think all of the dining halls offer the same amount of plant-based alternatives), and is conveniently located in the center of the Unit 3 Residence Hall courtyard. There’s no denying it – Cafe 3 is always a safe choice in terms of distance and options. The inside of the building itself is a little dated – the color scheme is a hodgepodge of neon colors reminiscent of decades past, but there are ample seating options both inside and outside if you so please. Overall, Cafe 3 serves residents of two of the largest residence halls and, although its decor misses the mark a little bit, provides a space for students to work, hang, and eat, as any good dining hall does. read more