Making the Most of Now

Today marks about a month and a half of summer vacation – though ‘vacation’ for Berkeley students doesn’t hold the same relaxed, go-somewhere-far-away notion as others may have. Many students take their 3 weeks of time off the ‘normal’ school year to invest their time into summer courses, study abroad, internships and volunteer experiences.

For me, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to spend my time this summer. While I received an internship offer from a firm in San Francisco and expected to be spending time with family and friends back home from time to time, the uncertainty of quarantine jumbled up summer plans for myself and those around me. And now while the world awaits this pandemic to the over, the end doesn’t seem too close for our state and country. read more

Summer Sessions!

Me petting a llama or alpaca after a summer class!
Me petting a llama after a summer class on Memorial Glade!

After months of instruction, most students are eager to go home and relax for the summer months. However, with my great experience from last year, I decided to take a few summer classes again come May!

My summer experience last summer was fueled by multiple factors. I wanted to enroll in a UGBA course and learn more about project management, while also taking a math requirement course. I also decided to work throughout the week to save up money for my year’s worth of rent that I had signed up for starting June that summer. read more

Reflecting on Instructional Resilience

Facebook Image from the 'meme' group: Zoom memes for Self Quarenteens
Zoom Memes for Self Quarenteens

In recent months as global events unfold, I-alongside millions of college students- was repeatedly told by administrations of ‘instructional resilience’. As part of SACUE, the Student Advisory Council for Undergraduate Education, I have also taken part in several discussions regarding how campus responds to emergencies like power outages, fires, and other phenomena that cause unrest on campus. 

Something about the word was unsettling and confusing to me always. To this moment I am unsure how to exactly explain the weight of the term and the power it holds over campus. As we receive a bombardment of emails now from companies, schools, and news about how much ‘worse’ our situation in the United States and the world becomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can only turn to memories of how things used to be. read more

What I’ve Learned in Berkeley So Far

Stephens HallComing into a space like Berkeley I always knew I would grow as a person. And not to be cliche but I really do feel like Berkeley has pushed me forward so much, and I really do believe it is different from other colleges. 

One: There are so many communities on campus that actively work towards making an impact in their world. 

In my mind I always dream of making a difference and having a purpose in life beyond my own. And to this day I fight for what I believe in and want to shape my future years in education and career to align with my values. Over the course of a year as a Haas public service leader through the Public Service Center, I was able to meet a collective of passionate people who were organizing and working with community organizations to help undocumented high schoolers with legal papers, research legislation on the housing crisis in Berkeley, create pathways for indigenous people to come from Australia to the United States, and so much more.  read more

My Summer @ Cal

Hi and welcome to my first blog of this semester! It’s really great to return as a bear talk blogger again to share my experiences and pro-tips with everyone who is and will come to Cal!

As a new Campus Ambassador I was working on campus this summer as well as getting involved with research and taking a few classes.

There’s so much that went on this summer, but I will try to keep it short!

The Classes:

I enrolled in two classes this summer session – one in session A titled UGBA 190-T Project Management, and another in session C, Math 54 Linear Algebra. I was really excited for UGBA 190-T, as it was with one of my old professors who I really enjoyed, Professor Omar Romero. He taught with such enthusiasm and made even the 3 hour lectures fun and interesting. Of the entire class, only three of us were Berkeley students full time. Other students were attending from all over the world: Nigeria, Europe, India, and more. It was really cool working with so many people from so many backgrounds in a small classroom setting! For Math 54, I was taking it for my major requirements, and it was interesting to some extent. It was however 8AMs everyday of the week for 2 hours for 10 weeks of instruction, which made it difficult to focus and wake up to. Still I thought the class was interesting and I learned a lot, even though it was being taught by a GSI. read more

Favorite Late Night Eats

Image from the Daily Cal

We all know those study cravings come with the worst inconvenience the middle of the night with the worst convenience. I have had extensive experience with the midnight study cravings and escapades to restaurants open past 9pm, so I am here to share with you today some of my favorite late night eats.

1. Late night

Crossroads’ (Croads) has started offering their late night again for flex dollars (that come included with your meal plan). Open from 10p till 1:30am, it’s the perfect alternative if you don’t want to spend money on food and have flex dollars in your account. Second semester they upgraded their buffalo wings to include 4 different sauce options. I love the thai chili sauce, it isn’t spicy at all but adds a sweet and savory kick to the wings. You can get six pieces for around 5 flex dollars, which I find a steal amongst bay area prices. The classic fries and tater tots are also offered, which I also often get. Late Night also has breakfast items like pancakes and breakfast burritos which are also very filling and delish!
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Learning from Mistakes

dead succulent
A succulent I had killed this semester. (R I P Mr. Meilleur)

Throughout the school year, I have made many, many mistakes. Cliche as it may sound, I believe that mistakes are not a measure of failures, but a measure of growth. College is a unique ecosystem that bridges the sheltered world of childhood to the consequence-filled adult world. It’s a playground where there are baby consequences to our mistakes that are easier to recover from.  It’s a transitional stage, and in this flexible atmosphere we are able to grow the most.

Mistake 1: Not bringing enough winter wear. As a native from Southern California, the coldest winter that I have lived through was maybe 55 degrees. Summer was an 11 month long season. I brought a trunk or two full of shorts, skirts, and summer dresses, and probably just one thick winter jacket. After this semester’s brutally cold and rainy winter has come to a close, I am even more glad that I can finally stop shivering in the thin tops I had brought from home. I have learned now that I must prepare as much as I can for any situation that comes my way. Sure, things can be unpredictable at times. But now as a routine, I check the weather app every morning to ensure that I don’t suffer through the day’s weather. In turn, this is something I began applying to other commitments this semester: whether it be looking up the location of a meeting place beforehand, putting events on calendars, or researching topics to brainstorm solutions about, I have learned to prepare as much as I can for what I know will come. Then at least you’ll be prepared to take on curveballs life throws at you.
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Living in Blackwell Hall — Cal’s newest dorm!

David Blackwell Hall
My home for the 2018-19 school year!

I really lucked out last year. I didn’t know too much about Blackwell when our housing app was due. As it was still under construction when our application was due, I didn’t really have anyone’s past experiences or pictures of the inside. But still, I heard it was going to be new, so my roommate and I took a risk and applied to Blackwell. Few months later, we got our first choice! A Blackwell hall double.

Blackwell is a 8 story building with 7 floors of residential units. I currently live on the 6th floor which has an amazing bay view! read more

Berkeley’s Entrepreneurial Community

Startup Work Space from Berkeley SkyDeck
Berkeley SkyDeck currently has a majority of its companies on the top floor of the building on Shattuck, all in an open and collaborative space. [From: ]

Did you know Cal is has one of the largest entrepreneurial communities in college campuses around the world? Located just minutes away from San Francisco and the South Bay, hundreds of individuals from Berkeley have created critical, groundbreaking ideas, technologies, and companies.

The energy of the entrepreneurs at Berkeley is really powerful. My journey in deciding this was what I wanted to do was this energy and drive that people I’ve met that want to be the modern inventeur. They are excited about their creations. They love to learn. They are humble. They push boundaries. They drive for positive change. Whether it be AI driven health applications or self-cleaning plates, everyone has unique ideas and approaches to new fields that they have been studying in their time at Berkeley. Seeing those close to me find passion by collaborating with other innovators in their and other fields, I too was inspired to follow the same path. read more

CalDining Food Hacks!

Cal Dining
An image from the official CalDining webpage.

Do you love food? I love food. But no matter what school you go to, dining halls aren’t the best. (sad) Through trials and tribulation, I’ve come up with some hacks to get us through the daily grind. I have been to 3 of the 4 dining halls on campus: Crossroads (aka croads), Cafe 3, and Foothill. While I hear Clark Kerr’s dining hall is the best, I am not sure if these recipes will surely apply. (sorry ckc friends).

Appetizers & Mains

In n Out Animal Fries
Lived in so-cal and missing them animal fries? Me too. While this won’t be the same, we can come close. To prepare, the dining hall will have to offer fries that day. From the deli bar, you want to grab some onion slices, and grill them on the panini press or the toaster oven. After they’re pretty grilled, chop away! Grab some fries, place the onions on top. If you go to the salad bar, they will always have thousand island dressing and cheese. Put some dressing and cheese on. Some days it isn’t American cheese, but you do what you can do :’) . After, microwave for 20 – 30 seconds. And you’re all done!

Pasta Salad
A very simple recipe. I like to make some of my favorite salad combinations from the salad bar and add some pasta from the pasta area!

Vegan Tenders
Vegan tenders are the single most beautiful things to have been served to us, or at least I think so. Even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, these are a must try!

Spring Rolls
Croads and foothill offer spring rolls from time to time. And these are really good! I would recommend you get them, and you can also dip them in the sweet chili sauce that is always available with other sauces. (Winter fat gone, now you can have spring rolls!)

Grilled cheese, Grilled anything
If nothing is pulling your palette at the dining hall. There is always the option to make some grilled cheese! There’s always some form of cheese at the dining hall, either at the deli bar or at the salad bar. First, be sure to heat up the panini press before you get the ingredients, otherwise, it will take too long. Next, gather your ingredients. Some combinations can be just a simple cheese selection and bread. Sometimes, I like to put in sliced tomatoes and spinach or the marinara sauce from the pasta section. You can also do a PBJ press, add some deli meat, or just make some toast! There are so many options to rotate around.

Drinks & Dessert

Ice-cream with a Twist
If you’re lucky the ice-cream/fro-yo machines will be working. They are pretty good! I really like the chocolate and blackberry flavor ones. To spice up your fro-yo, add in some toppings from the cereal bar. My favorite combinations are cocoa puffs + chocolate, cinnamon toast + vanilla, frosted flakes + vanilla,

The dictionary says: “An affogato is an Italian coffee-based dessert. It usually takes the form of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped or “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso.” Every time I go to a cafe I have to pay almost 7$ for a small cup. But if you’re feeling fancy at the dining halls one day, just make your own! All you need is the black coffee from the coffee machines and some vanilla ice cream. Honestly, a dream.

Milk and Vanilla Ice-cream
This is also a drink I saw at a popular cafe back home in Orange County. To make it, you want to fill your cup with soft-serve first, then fill up the rest with milk. Use a spoon and enjoy!

Lemonade + Passion Fruit Guava + Ice Tea
This concoction is my go-to mix. If you ever tried brisk lemonade ice tea, this is the upgraded version! It’s fruity but toned down by the ice tea. (only available at Cafe 3 and Foothill, not sure about CKC and not available at Croads sadly).

Things to Avoid
Just to be safe, I would avoid the fish and shellfish. An anonymous inside source has told me that is the one thing that they would not eat from the dining halls after working there. Make sure the salad bar items look fresh, and that the vents around them look clean! Personal opinion, but I choose not to try to eat the rice at the dining halls. I feel like they always over or undercook them.

I hope that with these fun little tips and tricks, you can survive yet another semester of dining hall food. If all else fails, there’s always cereal and salad!