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.

How I figured out what I didn’t want to do at Berkeley

At college, it seems that it’s essential to know what you want to do in the future, but what’s equally important is knowing what you don’t want to do. Before my freshman year started, I had a variety of interests and potential career goals. After one year at college, my interests and career goals have changed. I discovered new careers and interests and realized which careers and interests are not for me. The most notable of these careers and interests that I’m no longer interested in are consulting and economics. read more

Am I Satisfied with my Berkeley Degree? From a UC Berkeley Alumni

The answer to this question is what every incoming student wants to know. Is a Berkeley Degree worth the investment? And that’s a valid question. As a UC Berkeley alumni, I want to provide my perspective on this. Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you will be able to gain additional insight to your education here at Berkeley. This will also be the last blog that I will write for Bear Talk. If you’d like to read my previous blogs, then please check out my profile here.

First, I want to start off by saying that everyone’s experiences will be different depending on the track and major you go with during your undergrad. A computer science major will be provided with different learning tools compared to a STEM major. And a humanities major will focus on activities that are completely different from a music major. Your experience at UC Berkeley depends on the major you decide to go with as well as the activities that you partake in. read more

Why ALL FIRST-YEARS Should Do Summer Bridge (coming from a former bridgee!)

Hey there! Congratulations on making it to UC Berkeley! You are about to embark on an amazing four-year journey here. Now, you may be wondering… How can I make the most of my summer? Well, I have got the answer for you! Summer 2021, I was exactly in your situation. I was doing Golden Bear Advising (GBA) and wondering what else can I do to get a head start on creating my Berkeley experience. That’s when I signed up for Summer Bridge at the very last minute. Do I regret it? Absolutely not!

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Wait, Wait, Wait. What even is Summer Bridge? Is it… like an actual bridge? No, silly! (Well, metaphorically yes). Summer Bridge is a six-week program where freshman students can enroll in certain classes to get ahead on their college breadth and/or UC Berkeley’s graduation requirements. 

Summer Bridge allows first-year students to “cross” into college by getting a taste of academic life at Cal. You get hands-on experience in college classes, right before your first official semester. This will allow you to also explore different subjects you may not have had a chance to in high school.

 

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Summer Bridge offers certain classes every summer from a wide range of options. Each summer is unique in its own way through the courses being offered. My bridge experience (Summer 2021, shoutout to the second online cohort!) offered a really cool class called “Lives of Struggle: Minorities Within A Majority Culture” (AFRICAM 27AC) which satisfied my American Cultures requirement.

This class LITERALLY changed my life. Professor Rose Wilkerson was our instructor and she is brilliant! This was the first time I ever took a class in African American studies and Ethnic Studies, as a whole. From there, I ended up deciding to major in Ethnic Studies! Summer Bridge really allows you to explore a multitude of subjects through its classes.

Here are some of the classes being offered (or that have been offered):

  • Anthropology 2AC – Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anthropology 3AC – Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • African American Studies 27AC – Lives of Struggle: Minorities Within A Majority Culture
  • Mathematics 32 – Precalculus
  • Statistics 2  – Introduction to Statistics (I took this one too!)
  • Chemistry 32 – Preparation for General Chemistry
  • Art and Humanities C132 – Archiving for Social Justice
  • Theater 5 – Public Speaking
  • Chicano 50 – Introduction to Chicanx History
  • 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

    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