As much as we’ve all been enjoying our spring semesters thus far, I’m pretty sure I can speak for a vast majority of the student body when I say I’d been anxiously awaiting the sweet relief of spring break—I love Cal, but even the most spirited bears need breaks too, ya know! After ten long weeks of arduous scholarly toil, spring break was the much anticipated, gleaming light at the end of the midterm season tunnel. It was a breath of fresh air for us weary students, and allowed us time to catch up on studies or those much needed z’s.
I’d like to say that the sea is my therapy. It allows me to be happy and at ease, especially as I look at the calming movements of the waves. I also sense an adventure–an opportunity to travel across another world and experience excitement and fear. These were the emotions I felt when I sought out for a kayak adventure at the Berkeley Marina.
On March 26, 2016, the last Saturday of Spring break, my friend and I decided to register for a Cal Adventures class called the “Sunset Paddle”, where we get to kayak through the San Francisco Bay and watch the sunset. I was very excited because it was my first time to visit the Berkeley Marina, to learn how to sail in a kayak, and also to wear new swim gear other than my bathing suit.
Each spring, the UC Berkeley calendar contains one dominant fixture: Cal Day. With 35,000 visitors comprising primarily of newly admitted students and their families, it is easily the single busiest day on campus. But as a waitlisted student, I assumed CalDay was just for admitted students and stayed home.
However, for current students, Cal Day represents something entirely different. That Saturday is basically a campus-wide holiday of sorts with lots of anticipation among the student body. The day is filled with celebration, and there’s this palpable energy and revelry among the student body.
Early on the first Saturday of spring break, I packed my car with snacks, water bottles, and two friends. We grabbed bagels from Beauty’s on Telegraph (which had a line nearly out the door even at 8AM on a Saturday) and headed out of town.
Our destination was Pinnacles National Park, situated about two and a half hours south of Berkeley. America’s most recently designated national park, I hadn’t heard of Pinnacles until just a few days earlier, when I’d run across some outdoorsy click bait on a routine scroll down my Facebook news feed that suggested I Explore this Hidden Gem Just South of San Francisco! It sounded fun to me.
I have a love/hate relationship with Dwinelle Hall’s southwest stairwell. Though there is nothing particularly exceptional about the stairs themselves (no sweeping spirals or breathtaking Bay views from here, folks!), I have encountered them every weekday morning around 9:06AM for over a semester now, and I think it’s safe to say that exposure like that can elicit some strong emotional responses.
A high school biology textbook of mine once stated, in an attempt to stay relatable in the eyes of its teenaged target audience, something along the lines of: “A reasonably fit human being should be able to ascend three flights of stairs with a backpack on and make it to class on time without being out of breath.” What a farce. I am a reasonably fit human being—in that I do semi-regular yoga and occasionally take it upon myself to run up North Side’s Euclid Ave. to the Rose Garden—and every weekday morning around 9:09AM for over a semester now, I have arrived in Spanish class jadeando y sudando. Gasping and sweating.
Despite the daunting, twenty-minute uphill walk from the UC Berkeley campus, there’s something really special about the Clark Kerr dorms. Famous for its coveted larger-than-your-average-shoebox dorm rooms and Great Hall-esque dining facility, Clark Kerr is hands down Cal’s best residence hall (though I admit I may be a teeny bit biased). The beautiful, Spanish mission-style architecture, sprawling lawns, and various amenities— I’m talking on-site pool, gym, softball field, archery range, fire trail access, and volleyball/basketball/tennis courts—provide a welcoming breath of fresh air after a long day of classes. Following a tiring day, it’s easy to kick back in the grass and check out the killer sunsets and views of the bay, all in the comfort of your home-away-from-home. On weekends, it’s not uncommon to see students interacting with laughing families, pets included, while lounging in the grassy patches scattered about the buildings. With its large rooms, great views, and laid-back vibe, it’s quite easy to see why the residents love CK so much.
Whenever I do the laundry at home, part of me cringes slightly every time I see my blue and gold Cal apparel go into the same space as my sister’s red Stanford gear. I guess that’s what happens when your house is divided and your sister goes to your colleges rival. And while I joke around with her all of the time about who goes to the better school (me, duh!), I feel pretty lucky to not only be rivals with another great institution but for all of the fun that both Elle, my sister and I have gained by being able to actively participate in each other’s college experience.
Living close to Berkeley has its perks, including having family close by, free laundry, and a nice home-cooked meal every now and then. It also makes traveling home for short breaks such as Thanksgiving much more feasible.
This year was extra special, because my sister – who just started her freshman year at school in Boston – came home, and it was incredibly exciting to see her after 3 months apart. We got to catch up with some family friends, and then spent Wednesday night with our NorCal family.
As an avid anglophile and a theater enthusiast, the chance to see BareStage’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” was not an opportunity I wanted to turn down.
BareStage, the oldest student-run theater group on the Berkeley campus, puts on a play and a musical each semester, and has an improve group and a show choir. As a student, it is incredibly exciting to go out an see my peers showcase their talents, and it becomes more exciting when some of my friends are involved, as was the case with this show.
With most upcoming life changes, people picture how their life will be different and what their new daily life will look like. Senior year of high school, my thoughts and ideas regarding my new life and transition to Berkeley were no different.
As a fitness enthusiast, one of the first questions high school senior Sara asked Berkeley students was “where can I sweat?” While the Recreational Sports Facility is a great resource if you are into group fitness classes, looking to max a new record in the weight-room or to have an option in the event that it is raining, I often prefer sweating outdoors in nature.