UC Berkeley's very own Bear Talk Blog: Cal's campus ambassadors share the dynamic, golden experiences of their time here at University of California, Berkeley
Author: Neomie Hinanay
Hi, my name's Neomie Hinanay! I'm a second-year Legal Studies major. In just a little under a full academic year, I've come to learn about and love Berkeley more than I've ever imagined. I'm also a Mic Woman for Cal Spirit and a volunteer at 90.7FM KALX Radio! When I'm not studying for classes or getting involved with spirit, I'm usually exploring the campus or laughing at my (excellent) puns with my friends. I'm so excited to learn even more about the Berkeley campus and share my findings!
Even though our university is known for its academic rigor and unparalleled research, I like to think that the best lessons are actually taught outside the classroom. We students can spend so much time cranking in the studying hours to make sure that we know the material for our exams. However, the lessons that life gives us are happenchance, and we may not always be aware that life’s even giving us these lessons to begin with.
For example, I’m someone who grew up to be a little anxious in social situations. I found myself to be either uncomfortable in conversations or unable to relate to what the group’s talking about 7 times out of 10. I couldn’t think of anything to say to keep the conversation going, and whenever I said something, it was usually an awkward joke that left the conversation quieting down. Because of this, I was more of an introvert, especially during my junior high years. read more
If you thought you were done with dances after senior prom, think again!
I’m part of an organization called the Residence Hall Assembly, or RHA for short. This is a body of students that live in the on-campus residence halls here that help plan and promote events for the residents. Most of our work comes in sponsoring Hall Associations (committees in each residence hall) that plan events and request for funding. One of these events is something we call Mystery Masquerade, which happened just two days ago on Friday night.read more
When I applied for college last year, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I took classes and led clubs in different fields of interest. For starters, my AP Chemistry teacher was also the advisor for the MESA Club I co-led. She said I’d be good in a major like chemistry or biochemistry. I’m honestly pretty fortunate that I had a teacher that constantly believed in my abilities and skills. Add that onto the fact that I’ve been considering a career in engineering since freshman year, and that led me to thinking that I could be Hannah Montana and get the best of both worlds by combining chemistry and engineering into chemical engineering.read more
It’s easy to figure out which places to visit if you’re traveling to the Bay Area. If you Google something along the lines of ‘best places in Berkeley/San Francisco/East Bay’ and lots of websites pop up giving their take on some of the most iconic landmarks of the regions. But maybe you’ve already thought about these tourist hotspots. Maybe you want to go out and see the Bay Area past its more popular destinations instead, and to that, I salute you.
Finding places to visit outside your cookie-cutter inside scoop isn’t exactly the easiest. I decided to gather up a couple places I visited that I really enjoyed going to. My personal taste in places and eateries might not be the same as yours, but I wanted to throw my two cents in! Hopefully you’ll keep these places in mind on your next visit to Berkeley and the Bay Area.
Castle in the Air, Berkeley: This is a store that cultivates creative activity and energy into its art and its products. I went in there one day after visiting my dad on lunch break just strolling through Fourth Street, and what I didn’t expect to run into was a shop that not only sold crafting supplies, but showcased a lot of beautiful paintings and structures. I left the place with a new set of stationary pens and a full heart at how amazing the place was. Castle in the Air is sadly closing within a month or two, though, but if you’re around town before it closes its doors for good, I definitely recommend taking the time to visit it!
Free Gold Watch, San Francisco: Right off the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, there hides a screenprinting business coupled with one of the few video arcades in San Francisco. Retro arcade fanatics and pinball enthusiasts, rejoice! Free Gold Watch houses around twenty pinball machines among other games like Street Fighter and Skee Ball. I only went once with one of my cousins, but I certainly want to visit it again.
Los Moles, El Cerrito: I went to Los Moles for the first time to celebrate my cousin’s high school graduation, and every time I’ve come back, it’s been just as amazing. I’ve only been there on Saturdays and Sundays, though. On weekdays, they have menus for customers to order off of, but on weekends, they bring out this buffet where you can serve yourself from your rice to your meat, and especially for your mole sauce, like the restaurant name implies.
Mad Seoul, Berkeley: Okay, maybe I kind of jumped the gun on you here, because this restaurant opened just last week. But Mad Seoul serves up some awesome fresh ingredients and I can’t wait to visit it again! I tried something called the Seoul Heat, which has spicy chicken over rice with kimchi and some other vegetables. The food was really good, and I can’t wait to try out some more things on their menu!
Every day is a day that us Berkeley students can celebrate our university’s history and achievements. There’s one day in particular that sticks out, though: March 23rd (tomorrow!), the date of the University of California’s founding. It’s more fondly known as Charter Day, and we’re able to celebrate the birth of our university and the UC system as a whole.
Let me give a little historical context to Charter Day. Before the University of California, the College of California existed. In 1862, right in the middle of the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, which allowed the federal government to allot land for states to establish a public Agricultural and Mining Arts College. This went into effect for California in 1866, but this state college had no campus. However, on March 23, 1868, governor Henry Haight signed an act that merged the College of California with the Agricultural and Mining Arts College to create the University of California. Then, five years later, the University of California moved from Oakland to the Berkeley campus, where students work, study, and figure out life today.
I personally think that the Berkeley campus is pretty spectacular, all biases aside! I have to admit, sometimes it’s difficult to see the beauty in the campus and the history of our university as I’m rushing down to class for my lectures, but it’s there. The beauty lies in the architecture of the buildings we walk past every day for our classes. The beauty lies in the other students walking all around us and pursuing their goals all the same. The beauty lies in both the buildings and the students that preserve the history of our university and construct a path to the future from that. Berkeley is teeming with vibrance and history, and when I stop to think about it, I find that I’m really enjoying myself in this campus’s atmosphere.
Sure, I’m all for huge celebrations. Home football game rallies are such a great time and I love listening to the marching band play our fight songs. I’ve checked out a couple of events Rally Committee planned for Charter Week and I can say that it really helps make the week feel even more extraordinary. But if I’ve got to be honest, I’m an even bigger fan of smaller celebrations. When you really stop and take a time to look around Berkeley, you can find beauty even in the details that’s maybe harder to find.
For instance, I always take a specific route to get to my discussion section on Wednesdays. But one time, I was walking slower because I left my room earlier, and I found a new path that not only helped me get to class faster but featured some beautiful flowers I hadn’t ever noticed before.
Yes, I absolutely love the celebrations put on for important events like Charter Day, but I hold firm to my belief that every day is an opportunity to celebrate Berkeley in our own ways. There’s always a way to appreciate our campus.