When I got to Cal, one thing I was really excited about was joining Greek Life. My cousins were in Greek Life when they were in college, and they’re still friends with girls from their sorority even now in that they are in their 30s. They inspired me to go through recruitment and find my own life-long friends. After I rushed, my sorority house became my second home during my freshman year. I had so many amazing experiences and Greek Life was one thing that really helped me balance UC Berkeley academics with a social life that made my college experience feel well-rounded. I never imagined that the experiences I was having in my sorority as a freshman would only last one year.
This Fall semester, I moved back to Berkeley, not sure what to expect of college life during a pandemic. I knew that this semester would be completely different from the way I remember my freshman year, surrounded by people all the time, always having an adventure to go on with my friends in this new city. I knew that this semester, only half of my friends would be back in Berkeley, and many things around the city would be closed, as well as social gatherings prohibited to keep students safe. Halfway through the semester, I’ve gathered a list of new things I’ve enjoyed doing in Berkeley during this weird and unusual time.
I am someone who entered college thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to study. My entire high school career I dedicated my time to extracurriculars, community service, and internships that had to do with local politics. I thought I wanted to run for office and go to D.C. after college. I applied to UC Berkeley as an intended Political Science major, and I had no intention of that changing.
Then I took a political science class, and I completely lost interest in the subject. The class was actually pretty interesting, and the professor was fantastic, but for some reason political science just did not seem like my thing anymore. Whether that was because of the specific class, or my personal disdain for what American politics had become in the past couple of years, I just did not see myself pursuing politics anymore. Looking through the course catalog of political science major classes, I found myself not looking forward to taking any of them. I spent the rest of that night looking at all the different majors I could possibly switch to, and I finally found my perfect fit in the Legal Studies major. Even better, I had already completed three out of four pre-requisite classes without even planning to. I was all set to declare, and I did just that this past summer.
This past March when we were sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I originally thought I would be home for only two weeks, an extended Spring Break. Although it was quickly evident that myself and all of my friends would be staying home for the remainder of the Spring semester, I had complete faith that we would all return to campus in the Fall, and that everything would return to normal.
As the months passed, my faith that I would return to a full campus and in-person classes diminished. The university notified students of hybrid classes, and then recently switched to beginning the Fall semester instruction completely remotely. This caused many of my friends, peers and co-workers to decide to remain at home for the Fall semester, either to save money or to lower their risk of contracting the virus or both. Although I too was faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue my plans to move back to Berkeley this August, I decided that it will be best for me to move back, even if it won’t be in the way that I expected.
Now that school has been out for about a month, I find myself with very little to do at home. Like most students, I am just itching to get back to Berkeley after 3 months away. I miss my home-away-from-home. But, of course, theres over 2 months until the Fall semester starts and we can all move back. That’s two months worth of Netflix, and Hulu and Amazon Prime to watch. Here are some of my recommendations for what to watch during the wait.
My first recommendation is the show that I am currently watching: Dear White People. The Netflix Original follows a group of black Ivy League students, one of which is a girl with a radio show called “Dear White People” where she talks about different black issues on campus. I decided to start watching this show after seeing recommendations on shows and movies to watch to educate yourself on the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with just being a great show, I think the contents of this show are really relevant to the current climate of our nation, and that a lot of people can benefit from watching it. Also, since it takes place at a college, it makes me excited to return to our own campus soon. After watching the entire first season in the last 3 days, I can say that I really recommend this show as something to watch while you’re waiting to get back to Cal.
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.
Waking up on UC Berkeley Decision Day 2019, I was completely nerve-wracked. It was my last school to hear a decision from, and most definitely the one I wanted to see a “Congratulations!” email from the most. Not knowing what time the decision was going to come out, I was a mess all day. I couldn’t pay attention in class, I was checked out when talking to my friends; the only thing I could think about was the fact that Berkeley was my dream school, and I knew that this was the day that my dream was either going to come true, or become out of my reach.
Living in Southern California my entire life, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about moving to Northern California. I was excited to experience different weather and to have “the city” refer to San Francisco instead of Los Angeles, but I didn’t think there would be too many differences besides those two. I wasn’t too worried about the adjustment to this new location being too difficult. They’re both California, how different could they be? The answer is – very different. I’ll highlight some differences I’ve noticed after living in Berkeley for a semester.