Seeing a play on campus

One of the greatest parts of attending a school with over 1,400 student organizations is that there is always something to see or do on campus.

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This past Sunday, I attended a performance of 12 Angry Men put on by BareStage, one of the many performance groups on campus. After a long afternoon of studying, it was the perfect study break. I’ve seen the play before (I’ve even been in it before) but this was by far the best performance of it I’ve ever seen. The show was put on entirely by students, including the directing, artwork and set design. That’s another thing I love about Berkeley – students fill every role in every student organization and you can dedicate yourself to absolutely anything you want – whether it’s acting, charity, volunteering or programming. read more

Fun, Friendly, Fascinating Faculty

UC Berkeley faculty are amazing. Not only are they world-renowned scholars, literary geniuses, and creative innovators, they also have incredible heart and enthusiasm for their students, teaching, and research. Whether in class, during office hours, at faculty-student events, or even around campus, interacting with UC Berkeley professors is a vibrant, memorable experience.

Although it’s been a year and a half since I’ve taken Chem 3B with Professor Pedersen, I still remember how he made organic chemistry seem practical and pertinent to everyday life with his “molecule of the day” examples, and how he inspired us with a clip from Pocahontas on the final day of class and told us we could change the world. I remember eating dinner with Professor Schekman my freshman year (two years before he won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) in the Foothill dining commons and asking him what he found intriguing about biology. I also remember my excitement when learning about the longitudinal studies on facial expressions and positive emotionality in Psych 156 (Psychology of Human Emotion) with Professor Keltner. read more

History during Homecoming

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During Homecoming Weekend, which happened October 10-12, the campus was even more vibrant and alive than usual. Campus tours, class reunion events, and special museum and lab exhibitions presented lots of opportunities for families to get a flavor of what our campus has to offer our students and gave alumni the chance to return and see in what ways Berkeley is the same and different as it was when they went here. This year, as a newly hired member of the Visitor and Parent Services staff, I had the unique opportunity to partake in a Homecoming festivity unlike any I had done before. read more

Sunsets in Berkeley

Sunsets in Berkeley

Sunset is a magical time of day. There’s a certain loveliness about the golden glow and watching the day greet the night, as the sun dips below the horizon. As an avid sunset enthusiast, I’ve watched hundreds of sunsets in Berkeley, and they’re some of the most beautiful I’ve seen anywhere in the world.

If you’re in Berkeley for an afternoon or evening, I highly recommend watching a sunset! Sunsets here vary in color and intensity throughout the year, but they’re spectacular in all seasons. I promise you that watching the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific Ocean will be an extra special way to remember your visit to Berkeley. read more

Dead Week Blues

The end of the semester brings with it the greatest stress of all: finals.

Finals can be a daunting experience, especially if you haven’t really been keeping up with your classes the way you should be (that’s totally not my case, though…). Berkeley tends to take mercy on us and gives us Dead Week. Dead Week or as it is formally known, Reading and Recitation Week, is the week before finals where there are no classes or instruction. Review sessions and discussion are optional, but in large, campus tends to come to a halt as most people try desperately to use the week to its full advantage. Some perks of Dead Week are that some of our more important libraries stay open 24 hours allowing us to study (or nap) any time we want. Probably the best feature of this perk is that the Free Speech Movement Café is open just as long as the libraries are! This allows you to get your caffeine fix to keep you going, or that wrap you so desperately try to sneak past the library attendants. read more

Is Berkeley Too Competitive?

For campus ambassadors the month of April tends to be pretty hectic. With all the newly admitted students, prospective students on spring break and the international visitors it can be a little busy. One of our duties as ambassadors is to give interested parties tours of the campus (my favorite part of the job). Having given quite a few tours in the past week I noticed that I was often being asked a question that I normally had not encountered on previous tours.

Is Berkeley too cutthroat or competitive? read more

Keeping Up With Berkeley

This Spring Break my best friend came to visit me all the way from Cambridge in the UK. It was interesting because while I had shown my parents around the city before I had yet to share this place with someone similar to me in views and age. When he arrived, he brought with him a preconception of what Berkeley was. Being the 5th most reputable school in the world means that most people have heard about our academic prowess, but it also means that Berkeley has a reputation to uphold in terms of its non-academic culture. Berkeley’s counter culture protests of the 60s, liberal ideologies, and great intellectual movements are all legendary. Berkeley the city should not be held independently of Berkeley the school. The city, while incredibly diverse, revolves around the school and is very much a college town. I personally feel it is a symbiotic relationship where the school gains its vibrancy from the city and vice versa. read more

The Class You Should Not Not Take

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Film 50: Film for Non-Majors.

No, calm down, I am not telling you to take one of those dreary classes that sounds fun but where you actually have to write a lot and give a lot of exams. At least not yet. See Film 50 is a series of lectures offered at the Pacific Film Archive Theater that explore the world of cinema. You can either take it as a 4 unit class with discussions and exams, or leisurely attend one or all the lectures/screenings. It is usually a weekly 3 hour block where the Professor or guest lecturer introduces the film, followed by a screening of the film and finally a discussion. There is generally a theme for the series and it can be extremely interesting to follow the lecture/screening that is only once a week. Anyone can attend the Screening/Lecture regardless of whether they are enrolled at UC Berkeley or simply an intrigued member of the public. The class basically consists of watching a movie and then discussing the feelings you have (and trust me with the excellent film collection they have, there will be feelings) with some very stimulating people. Sometimes the 3 hour lecture/screenings would seem too short and I would return to my dorm, torturing any poor floor-mate who happened to be within earshot, by going on and on about how moved or distraught I was. read more

Eternal Sunshine of the Berkeley Kind!

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If any of you, like me, have most of your friends on the East Coast then you will be familiar with the constant barrage of grumbly Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and Snapchats about the historically freezing weather there. It’s almost surreal seeing them enjoy snow days and layer up in all sorts of bulky sweaters. Sitting here in temperate Berkeley, I just cannot seem to relate to the winter experience I keep hearing about from my friends on the other side of the country.

Yet, I don’t lose sleep over it. At all. It isn’t even the end of February and I have already forgone my usual jacket and pants for the all-too-comfortable t-shirt and shorts. Berkeley residents often describe the weather here as erratic, and while it does fluctuate, the limits (forgive me for using that term, after Math 53 I never want to see it again) are very pleasant. It rarely gets too cold and rarely gets too hot. It’s always relatively pleasant. Granted we have our fare share of foggy days here as we are in the San Francisco Bay Area, after all. However, the fog only lasts for a few hours on average, enough to get your Lana Del Rey fix in before your 8:00 AM lecture.  It seems that winter here is almost nonexistent. For example, this week the toasty sunshine on Memorial Glade beckoned the sunbathers and frisbee enthusiasts back to campus. read more