Making the Most of My Summer at Home

Back in February, I was really excited for this summer. I was going to study abroad in Ireland to take physics, travel, and explore. One of my friends and I were planning which countries to take weekend detours to and which tourist sites to see. When our program got cancelled, I was at first really disappointed- spending a summer studying abroad seemed like such a perfect opportunity because I would have gotten the abroad experience without having to miss a semester in Berkeley. However, what was initially disappointing news has turned into a really fun and relaxing summer. In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the ways I’ve made the most of  my summer at home.  read more

My Favorite Ways To Get Outdoors

Tis the season: midterms, papers, and projects. The end of the school year is starting to set in, and it is increasingly easier to get locked inside studying or, if you are like me, enjoying one too many episodes of the Blacklist beforehand. Below are some of my favorite ways to get outside and not get too familiar with the inside of Mainstacks. 

  1. Ice skating in Union Square

If you are willing to travel a little bit, ice skating is a really fun way to take a break from Berkeley and get outside. A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I went into San Francisco to go ice skating, and it was one of my favorite things I have done this semester. Being from Connecticut, I grew up skating, so it was really nice to get a small taste of home. Also, the area around Union Square is really nice and there are lots of places to shop or get coffee, so I would highly recommend this if you have a little extra time and want an outdoorsy study break! read more

My Summer at Cal

When I first decided I was going to stay in Berkeley over the summer, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Most of my friends were leaving, I was living in an apartment for the first time, and I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to do. However, I ended up loving staying at Cal, and I felt like I really got to make the most out of my summer. 

As an MCB major, I often find my schedule to be pretty full, so being able to alleviate some of the craze by taking Bio 1A was really helpful. Even though I was in class a lot, the material was really interesting, and everything definitely feels a little more laid back over the summer. I also didn’t have class on Fridays, which was a perfect opportunity to do some exploring. read more

Dead Week Have You Feeling Down? Here are My Favorite Ways to Recharge

Yup, it’s that time of the year. Classes are over and dead week has officially begun. Maybe you’re ahead of the game and have already gone to a review session, whipped out the highlighter, gone through practice exams… wow you’re a star. Or maybe you’re feeling a little burnt out and studying sounds like a Friday thing (and that’s alright too!). Either way, if you need a break (or something other than Facebook and Youtube to procrastinate) then this article is just for you! Here are my favorite ways to recharge during dead week:
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Decisions, Decisions

My friends and me at a football game

So it’s that time of the year: decision time! May 1 is quickly approaching, and the class of 2023 will very soon be all decided on where to go come the fall. Being a freshman, it wasn’t too long ago that I was in the exact same spot, so I wanted to use this article to talk about how I ended up here at Cal!

I’m from Connecticut, and when I was applying to college, I never thought I would go as far from home as California. I knew I didn’t want crazy northeastern winters, but the things I wanted in a school were so generic: pre-med, research opportunities, and school spirit. I think almost every school in the country has those, which made it very difficult for me to narrow down my options
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My Favorite Coffee Shops in Berkeley

I love coffee, and not just because of the taste or much needed caffeine boosts (although yes those are bonuses!). It’s great for seeing friends, exploring, or finding a way to make cranking out long study sessions (yeah, we’ve all been there) way more tolerable. As a coffee enthusiast, I wanted to share some of my top picks for coffee shops in Berkeley, so here they are!

 

#1 Romeo’s

Located on Telegraph Ave, Romeo’s is one of my absolute favorite coffee shops here in Berkeley. With exotic names for different blends like “wicked ways” or “screaming madness,” Romeos never fails to serve the perfect cup! The shop itself has huge windows and gets tons of natural light, so it’s a really nice place to bring work and study. I find myself there a lot on weekends because I love Romeo’s atmosphere. It’s also super close to campus, so it’s a great place to grab a cup if you’re running to class. read more

DeCals: Science in Oakland Elementary Schools

One thing that I absolutely love here at UC Berkeley is our DeCal program. DeCal stands for Democratic Education at Cal, and these are courses that are taught by undergraduates taken Pass/No Pass. DeCals cover a wide range of topics from knitting to Harry Potter to how to read science literature. I think it is safe to say that there is one out there for everyone.

For the past two semesters, I have taken a DeCal called Science in Oakland Elementary Schools (SOES). We meet on Mondays to either talk about the upcoming week’s experiment or current issues within the education system. Every other Wednesday we go to an Oakland elementary school and run a science program for the kids. We do all kinds of fun experiments from egg drops to making layers of the Earth out of playdough to (you guessed it!) volcanoes.

Working with the kids is a lot of fun. They have such great energy and are very enthusiastic to learn. Last week we were teaching our students about pollution. They made filters by running purple Kool Aid through soil, sand, and gravel. When the Kool Aid came out, it was clear so all of the purple was filtered out. What was really cool was how much the kids could apply what they already knew to the lesson. With very little prompting they were talking about the water cycle, the effects pollution has on animals, and why it’s important not to pollute. I’m always amazed by how much they know and how quickly they pick up on scientific concepts.

the kids engaging in the lesson (photo contributed by Jenna Campbell, one of the facilitators).

As someone who is considering the premed track, this DeCal has been invaluable. Having to explain chemistry, biology, environmental science, or physics in terms a seven year old can understand has enhanced my own understanding of science and taught me how to break down big concepts. In the beginning of the year I often caught myself using complicated words to explain other complicated words. However, as the year has progressed, I have found that it comes more naturally to me to explain complex concepts in simple terms.

I also appreciate that the DeCal program has given me an opportunity to explore a new interest: education. Education is something that I have always cared a lot about, but never really delved into. I’m grateful I did because it has been very eye-opening to learn about the different aspects of our education system, which as a college student really resonates with me. We discuss topics like how schools are funded, the role of socio-economics, learning styles/personalized learning, and current events particularly in California.

For me, SOES was one of the first things I joined when I got to Cal. I’m so happy I did because it’s been so much fun to be a part of, and I think it’s a great way to give back to the community. DeCals are also a great way to meet people- in my DeCal, some of the highlights have been the car rides where there is not a quiet moment from the time we get into the car to the time we get out. If you’re looking to try something new next semester, I would definitely recommend the DeCal program- you won’t regret it!

Spring Break in NYC? Here are Some Fun Things to Do!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to new places, I always want to do what the locals do. Yes, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are very cool to visit, but I always like to find the small pockets that show off a place’s quirks and uniqueness. If this sounds like you and you’re heading to New York City for spring break or anytime in the future, then this article is just for you! Growing up in Connecticut just a 45 minute train ride away, I have tons of places I love in New York city for all of you non-tourists. I hope you like them too!

#1 The Highline and Chelsea Market
The Highline is an elevated railroad-turned-park located on the west side. Since it’s high up, you get an absolutely perfect view of the city. The Highline has everything from pretty scenery to food carts along the way. I love going there with my friends because it’s a fun place to hang out and take pictures. It’s a definite must-do on my list!
Conveniently close to the Highline is Chelsea Market which has every kind of food imaginable. It is a big market with an unbelievable number of stops and stands. Just to show you how many choices you have, one of my friends brought me to her favorite spot: a Japanese-Mexican fusion place. I thought it was going to be terrible, but it was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten. I go back now almost every time I’m there.

Mexican-Japanese fusion bowl from Chelsea Market
My friends and I at the Highline

#2 Smorgasburg
If you like food (which you definitely do), Smorgasburg is for you! Over the winter, it takes place indoors in Brooklyn, but starting in April, it moves outdoors to Williamsburg and Prospect Park. It’s a market where a bunch of vendors come and set up booths. You can walk around and try all different kinds of food. They have everything from mozzerella sticks to dumplings to fish tacos. It’s really fun to go on weekends with friends, and you definitely won’t leave hungry!

Thumbs up for Smorgasburg!

#3 See a Broadway Show
Ok, so this one is pretty touristy, but one of my favorite things to do in the city. There are so many amazing shows out, and I would highly recommend seeing one. Some of my favorites are Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, and Come From Away. All of them were so much fun to watch, and I love their soundtracks!

That’s all of my NYC wisdom for today- I hope you try some of these and enjoy!