#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 Reflection on my Chinese Minor-ing Experience at Cal

 

As mentioned in a previous blog, one of my accomplishments of the 2021-2022 academic year was finishing up my Chinese minor; and although that journey began just to practice my Chinese and have something nice to put on my resume, that experience was so much more fun and rewarding than I could have ever imagined it to be.

In order to gain a Chinese minor, you must have a minimum of 5 letter-graded courses and 20 units and a GPA of at least a 2.0. These courses include Chinese 10B or equivalent (students with previous language experience may test out of this course due to prior knowledge and experience learning Chinese), three upper division Chinese courses, and two
East Asian Language and Culture (EALANG) electives selected from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, and other EA Lang courses. One 7A or 7B course may be substituted for one of the five courses, and EAP courses may be used to satisfy one of the electives; however, not all EAP courses will be approved for the minor. Please check with the advisor in advance. A non-EALC course (History, Anthropology) may also be used to satisfy one of the electives, but again please check with the advisor in advance! The classes I ended up taking for the minor were Chinese 100XA and 100XB (Advanced Chinese for Mandarin Speakers), Chinese7B (Introduction to Modern Chinese Literature and Culture), EALANG112 (​​The East Asian Sixties), and EALANG C128 (Buddhism in Contemporary Society).

The first class I took for my minor was Chinese 7B with Professor Andrew Jones. And that class was…. How do I put this… life-changing? I still remember going into class on the first day (right before the start of the pandemic) a little nervous and unsure of what this modern Chinese literature and culture class will entail, and if I was cultured enough to get through the class okay. And boy did I leave not only that day, but that class feeling fulfilled. We covered Chinese works from “The Romance of the Western Chamber” written in the Tang Dynasty to Mao Ze Dong’s “Little Red Book” during the beginning of China’s Communist Regime. To this day I don’t think I ever met anyone as passionate or interested in Chinese music, literature, and culture as Professor Jones. And he teaches in a way that infects his students with that same passion. It was thanks to this class that I discovered a new passion for older Chinese literature, and continued even after the course to explore other works that we didn’t get a chance to go through (the ancient plays are so poetic that they made some of the Shakespeare plays I’ve read sound like regular books).

The next class I took for the Chinese minor was EALANG112, or a course on the East Asian Sixties taught by Professor Jonathan Zwicker. Although his passion was very biased towards Japan, it was still super cool to learn so much about the historical and societal context of the climate in East Asia, and specifically Japan (and the fact that I got to watch movies for class for the first time was pretty cool too). And introducing me to my first Bruce Lee film is something I will always be grateful to Professor Zwicker for.

I ended my Chinese minor with my Advanced Chinese courses, as well as EALANG C128, or the course in Buddhism. The class on Buddhism in Contemporary Society was taught by Professor Blum, who I coincidentally bumped into and talked to for the first time while trying to turn in a paper for Chinese 7B. Although that course was a lot more memorization-heavy than it needed to be, it was still a really rewarding class to do well in (especially considering the fact that he was so passionate in the subject, and translated many of the original works that we had to read. It also helped me navigate to see if Buddhism was the right religion for me (as it was something I always practiced but never understood enough to know for sure if it was something that I believed in).

Despite all of the classes being amazing though, I would have to say that Chinese 7B and Chinese 100XA/B would have to be the highlights of that experience. I took 100XA and XB with Professor Li Liu, and she was the sweetest teacher I’ve ever had. Although I joined the first of the two courses a few weeks late, I was able to catch up quickly and didn’t feel behind at all. And the fact that I got to continue the class through 100XB and see many of my same classmates, we got to know each other pretty well and it definitely felt like having a class with a second family (especially when Ms. Li invited us all after the last day of school to recite poems outside the campanile and talk about life, it really was an unforgettable experience).

Overall I really loved my experience minoring in Chinese and wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world. I met the most passionate teachers, learned the most interesting things, and most importantly, I learned to really love and appreciate and truly be proud of my culture. And hopefully, this encourages you to explore new classes and extracurriculars to find what passions you have yet to discover (what better time than college:)) 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

So you want to be an Education major?

Guess what? Did you know that UC Berkeley’s School of Education will be unveiling a new undergraduate major in Education? That’s right! Starting in Fall 2023, students will be able to declare Education as a major! This is a huge milestone for students who are interested in all things related to public education. Let me give you a quick low-down on the history of being an “Education student” at Cal!

 

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Studying Education at Berkeley begins with our undergraduate Minor in Education. Students would major in something else while pursuing the Minor. The Minor was created by our Graduate School of Education (now known as the School of Education) and has quickly become one of the largest Minor programs on campus. 

 

Our School of Education primarily focuses on Graduate programs in the field of Education. They offer teacher-preparation programs, Masters of Arts in Education (M.A.), and Doctorate of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) programs. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs center around different subfields that graduate students can focus on. Some of these subfields include:

  • Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender
  • Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Policy, Politics, and Leadership
  • Social Research Methodologies
  • School Psychology

 

The School of Education created the Undergraduate minor in Education as a way to engage undergraduate students in studying Education and help create the next generation of educators in the country. The minor requires five upper-division courses which includes three units of fieldwork. The fieldwork allows students to get hands-on experience in the field of education.

 

UC Berkeley also offers our amazing CalTeach program for students interested in Math and Science education. If you want to major in a STEM-oriented field, you will be able to participate in the program. This pathway allows students to earn a teaching credential in math or science upon graduation! Absolutely amazing for anyone interested in teaching 🙂

 

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Our new Education major gives students the opportunity to explore the field of education, teaching, and learning through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students who are interested in this major will have to take one prerequisite course to be able to declare (Education 40AC – From Marco to Micro: Experiencing Education (in)equality in and beyond Schools). 

 

Here is the course description for the prerequisite course: “The goal of equality has long dominated social and political discourse in the United States. This goal has struggled alongside our nation’s professed commitment to diversity – diversity of race, ethnicity, class, language, culture, ability, and religion (among many others). Public schools are arguably the primary arena within which efforts to nurture equality and diversity have been focused and challenged. The schools, and the myriad educational contexts beyond them, play a central role in the organization of inequality. At the same time, they also offer the potential for increased opportunity and equity” (Berkeley Class Guide).

 

After students declare their major, they will have to take four required upper-division courses. These courses allow students to get an overview of the field of education and hands-on experience working with educational professionals. The four required courses are:

  • Education 140AC – The Art of Making Meaning: Educational Perspectives on Literacy and Learning in a Global World
  • Education 144 – Practicum in Education
  • Education 153 – Research in Education: Studying Educational Inequality and Possibility
  • Education 163 – Contemporary Issues in U.S. Education
  • read more

    Econ@Cal

    Hey!

    Hey you!

    Yes you 🙂 You look like you clicked on this article looking to get a better sense of what studying Economics at the University of California, Berkeley is like!

    First of all, congratulations! You have made a truly wonderful choice in pursuing an education in Economics! While the word “Economics” has been increasingly used as a convenient scapegoat that exists to be pointed at when talking heads need to blame something for something else, I truly believe that there is no more rewarding (or interesting!) field of study than Economics! And no better place to learn it than at the beautiful University of California, Berkeley!

    But who am I to be making such bold claims? Well hi! My name is Jeff, and I’m currently a Junior studying CS and Economics (self plug, but if you enjoy this article do please check out my previous article “CS@Cal”, published on 6/13), and I hail from Boise Idaho, but have spent the majority of my life bumbling about between continents and countries all across the world. Applying to Cal as an economics major was quite the leap of faith for me! Despite having taken some Econ classes in High school, I had really no idea what studying economics really entailed, what skills this major would impart in me, and – most importantly – if I would enjoy it!

    Economics is quite a unique field, not quite a STEM major yet not quite a humanities subject, as only a major that attempts to assign a numerical number to all of human behaviour can be. While not as math heavy as some classes can be, a fair amount of economics could quite simply be described as “applied statistics.” There’s this pretty excellent math joke that says that what higher level math really teaches you is ancient Greek, and boy does that feel true in Economics. The greatest pain of my semester of macroeconomics was squinting pathetically at lecture slides trying to decipher if a certain squiggle is a Kappa or a K (which, spoiler alert, look pretty much identical), and drawing the ugliest lowercase Zeta known to man (sorry Professor Hawkins!). But! I digress.

    At the end of the day, I believe economics to be a widely applicable and incredibly useful field of study, one that not only applies itself very well to a career in finance or business, but also lays terrific groundwork and a strong academic foundation for a future in law or politics. The skills emphasized in an economics education in Berkeley (statistics, data analysis, reasoning and critical thinking) also lend themselves well to other fields, and indeed economics is a popular double major or simultaneous degree with a lot of other courses offered in Berkeley. I personally find that studying something that provides you with technical know-how and skills (like CS!), while combining it with a pseudo-humanities field such as economics, could provide you with a best-of-both-worlds education that not only gives you the tools to make a difference in society, but also gently nudges you towards where these tools might be best utilized. Market efficiency!

    Okay okay, but Jeff I hear you ask, how exactly do I study Economics at Cal? What classes do I need to take? Could you please stop talking about Greek letters?

    Right away! In order to declare the Economics major, potential students would need to complete the following prerequisite courses, and maintain a 3.0 GPA across all of them. These are: read more

    A review of LINK rideshare scooters

    In the era of convenience, electric scooters and skateboarders have become the norm for transportation, especially for UC Berkeley students. Almost everyone has an electric scooter or skateboard, or is thinking of getting one. As someone who prefers walking and street skateboarding though, I vowed to never buy an electric scooter / skateboard. 

    My morals were questioned however, until one of my most hectic summer days. Starting off with an 8:30am work shift at the visitor center, picking up the keys to my new apartment in downtown Berkeley, then moving all mine and my roommates’ stuff from three locations around Berkeley, I decided that a scooter would be a good idea to get around. read more

    Keep Dancing Like the Class of 2022: My Years At Berkeley As Described By Taylor Swift Albums

    Before I was a Cal fan, I was a Taylor Swift fan. While our graduation speaker wasn’t Taylor Swift (I almost flew to NYU just to see the queen get an honorary degree), I still have found many valuable lessons in her songs that relate to my time at Berkeley. Most of the time I was jamming to her songs on the way to class, or getting hyped on a Friday night to her catchy tunes. I can see my four years through the eyes and ears of her song lyrics. Every high and low could be remedied somewhat by listening to Taylor’s discography.  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

    Reflecting Upon my Junior Year at Cal

    Along with the passing of May came and went the last month of my junior year at Cal, and the realization that I had only a year before graduation left me nostalgic with so many mixed emotions, and even more self-growth to reflect upon. As someone who spent my first two years of college figuring out who I was and struggling to differentiate that from the ideal college self that I thought I would be, there was a lot that I had to come to accept, the most challenging being that I had to pursue my own career goals to gain my own happiness, even if it diverged from the pre-med student my family wanted me to be. That being said though, this was the first year that I was truly able to explore classes beyond the limited scope of what I thought I had to take, and just barely being able to declare my public health major, that ended involving all the major and minor requirements I’ve been slacking on. But public health is a very broad subject, and my decision to minor in very different topics (Chinese and Education), resulted in me being able to explore fun classes, and take classes that I never thought I would take before. For my public health major, that included classes such as ECON 172 (SubSaharan Africa Case Studies in Economic Development) with Professor Edward Miguel (highly, highly recommended, regardless of your economics background) and a PBHLTH 142 (Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health) with Professor Mi-Suk Kang Dufour (who by the way traveled all the way from Canada despite the asynchronous platform of the class just to support us before finals), and for my Chinese minor (which I ended up finishing this semester!) that included language courses (100XA and B) with Ms. Liu (which had the best energy with the most fun, loving, and welcoming community anyone could ask for) along with a Buddhism in Contemporary Society course that high school me never would’ve imagined taking. Despite my total number of classes this year totaling at 16, 7 in the fall and 9 in the spring (which, by the way,  is definitely not normal; for reference, a full-time student at Cal only has to take around 3-4 classes depending on what college and major they belong to), because the classes ended up being so interesting and fun, it didn’t feel like 9 classes at all. In fact, I’ve had semesters where I’ve taken four classes and there has been at least one semester that felt worse than this (and that just goes to show how studying something you’re interested in will shape and change your experience at Cal- definitely pursue something you’re interested in!). read more

    Summer in Berkeley – a Comprehensive Guide

    Berkeley is a blast during the school year – the hustle and bustle of classes, club meetings, sports games and projects keeps students busy from August to May. However, a decent handful of students opt to stay in Berkeley for the summer months, whether they’re working or taking classes. Although campus isn’t as busy as usual, I’ve come to appreciate the quieter summer months in my college town. Here are a few of my favorite summer activities to do in Berkeley!


    1. Take an art class through the Berkeley Art Studio
    I took my first pottery class through the Berkeley Art Studio last fall, and it unlocked a new skill I never knew I had! I was fortunate enough to finish most of my pieces before Christmas break, and they made excellent handmade Christmas gifts for all of my friends and family. While I’ll be enrolling in intermediate pottery this summer, my roommate opted for a painting class. The studio holds open hours when classes aren’t in session where students can come in on their own time and practice or work on pieces. It’s an excellent outlet for when work gets a little monotonous, and you end the session with a great new decor piece or handmade gift! read more