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.
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.