What Its Really Like to Live in a College Apartment

This summer, I lived in my first college apartment. In my first year, I lived in the dorms, which is the most common option for freshmen at Cal. During my sophomore and junior years, I lived in my sorority house. So, during my first three years, I was living in situations where I was more independent than I was at home. of course, but I still had a lot of help.

In the dorms, I could go to my RA if something was wrong with my living situation and get it fixed pretty quickly. I didn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning beyond cleaning my side of the bedroom. I ate at the dining hall every single day and never cooked a single thing for myself. My sorority house felt even cushier, with a housekeeper that came every day and an in-house chef that allowed me to continue to not cook or clean for myself. I’m very lucky to have had these experiences and been able to rely on meal plans and cleaning services that made my life as a student a lot easier. This year, however, I decided it was time to move into a more independent style of living, and summer was sort of my intro to what’s in store for me this year. read more

#DormLife: Tips and Tricks for an Easier Move-In Day!

An exhausted me after fully moving in my dorm at Clark Kerr Campus, August 2021
An exhausted me after fully moving in my dorm at Clark Kerr Campus, August 2021

Hey you! Guess What? Move-in day is coming up fast! Before you start panicking and raiding your local Target (not sponsored), know that move-in is not at scary as it seems. While this marks the beginning of a new academic year and the next step in your academic journey, #dormlife is not as complicated as it seems and will be an amazing experience. Luckily, you came across this post and are about to learn some amazing tricks from your veteran at #dormlife and first-year resident assistant. Here are the five key things you should know. read more

A Love Letter to My Hiring Class (The Tea on Being a UC Berkeley Campus Ambassador)

To my beloved hiring class,

 

We made it! The hiring process, five months of training, Cal Day, and the tours we did in the Spring finally paid off. We made it to the Summer! Now comes the lock-in shifts we have together, the tours we give on the weekdays, working the Visitor Center and Campanile on weekends, and bonding in our downtime by exploring the Bay and Berkeley. 

 

Ambassadors, post training to lead the Campanile operations, May 2022
Ambassadors, post training to lead the Campanile operations, May 2022

This summer has definitely been a challenge for us. For many of us, this is our first real job. We have had to break out of our shells, take on new responsibilities and adapt to what this job brings us on a day-to-day basis. Some of us were asked to become the leaders in the Campanile, running the desks like we saw our LTs and Senior Ambassadors do before us (Shout out to Jimmy for training us). Some of us were tasked with maintaining the behind-the-scenes of the many group tours and GCTs we lead daily (Shoutout to the 101 summer squad). We become the leaders who trained us – some of us ending up on the Leadership Team for the first time (Shoutout to the three new LT: Hailey, Maggie, and Brandon). read more

To Law School or Not To Law School

I’m a Legal Studies major at Cal. I entered my freshman year intending to major in Political Science, but quickly switched to Legal Studies when I realized how much more the classes in that department intrigued me. At the time, I also was sure that I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (my favorite movie) and wear pink as I argued my cases. I always thought that would be my path.

Now, as a senior, when I tell someone my major, they almost always ask me if I’m headed to law school. Freshman and sophomore year I would have proudly exclaimed “YES!”. My Legally Blonde fantasies were still at the top of my agenda when I imagined my life post-grad. But now, I’m not so sure anymore.

You always expect that the first-years are the ones that aren’t sure what they want to do, but by senior year they’ll have it all figured out. They’ll either be studying for the GRE or LSAT or MCAT and applying to grad school programs, or have a job lined up for the next year. For me, it has been a little bit of the opposite. Going into my senior year, I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, or what career to pursue. I do know, though, that I’m not headed to law school. At least not yet.

Even if other people don’t realize it, I have come to realize that my Legal Studies major does not simply equate to “pre-law-school”. Legal Studies encompasses the historical and sociological aspects of the law and legal concepts that are very different from what a law student learns. Legal Studies at Berkeley critiques our legal systems in ways that law school may not. It has given me the reading, writing, and critical thinking background that I know will benefit me in whatever job I pursue after graduation, not just in the legal field.

I also minor in Public Policy, which at times has been even more interesting to me than my major. Pursuing public policy would be a way I can still interact with law and politics, without practicing the law as an actual lawyer. I am now considering pursuing a Master of Public Policy more than a law degree (although I still haven’t ruled law school out entirely).

Aside from my fields of study, I am also very interested in education. This is something I can pursue from the policy side, or as an educator. I think being a high school teacher or a professor would be something I would really enjoy. But I’m not ready to commit to that just yet either.

I think it is okay to not have your mind made up about what you want to do after graduation, even as a senior in college. I know I’ll get a job and figure it out, and can always go back to school to get a law degree or an MPP or a teaching credential or something else later on. I think it’s also important to realize that your major doesn’t put you in a box and that there’s a whole world of careers out there that you can pursue, even if they don’t directly relate to your major. Berkeley prepares us to enter the “real world” after we graduate, whether that’s in the way we expected or not.

Comparing Dorms and Finding Housing at UC Berkeley

 

Hello again everyone!

It’s finally that time of year where new and returning students may be trickling back into Berkeley looking for their new classes, tourist sites, and most importantly, new housing locations. But for those who haven’t yet found their housing location, or are looking a semester or year early (which, good for you!), here’s a brief overview of the different housing options that Berkeley students have access to, and how to find those options.

In summary, there are many different housing options that Berkeley has for its students, including the on-campus dorms, co-op housing, housing through Greek life, university affiliated housing, and off campus housing in apartment complexes or houses. Most students (both at Berkeley and beyond) tend to live in the dorms for their first year, then explore the off-campus housing mentioned above that were offered.

Living in the dorms your first year is not required. Some students choose to commute from home or live off-campus during their first year. However, living in the dorms for one’s first year is a very popular option: 92-97% of our first-years and 30% of our transfers choose live in one of the campus residence halls (learn more at https://housing.berkeley.edu/overview). read more

What’s “relaxing?”

Since I was 7 I remember being constantly on the move, going from one thing to another. After school, I had gymnastics at least 9 hours a week and was dragged to everything my older sisters had to be at – meetings, doctors appointments, sporting events, etc. My whole life, I haven’t known anything other than hustling. After being knowingly overwhelmed in high school with AP classes, sports, school clubs, and other extracurriculars, I decided that I wouldn’t let myself put too much on my plate when I got to college.  read more

Dear Freshman Me: An Open-Letter to My Freshman Self

Dear my freshman self, 

Well, this is going to be a wild ride! Your first year at Cal is full of things you didn’t expect. I know we came in with this idea about college and what it was going to be like. Let me tell you, as your now second-year self, nothing you thought about college is true… well not entirely. Here are the four things you should know coming into your first year here: 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

Guide to Finding Off-Campus Housing in Berkeley

As you may have heard, finding off-campus housing in Berkeley can be kind of crazy. I would know, I’m in the process of that right now. So, if you are wondering where to start, what to expect, or even just get a general overview of the off-campus housing process. This is my general advice and experience for you. Hope you enjoy!

How/When to Start Looking for Housing

Apartment hunting season for the next academic school year typically starts in the Spring semester. So, February-April is high time to apply for housing. I would say it might be safer to start earlier and build some connections with upperclassmen to see what’s available. However, most open houses occur during the “high time” months, so just be flexible. 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