- Class: Freshman
- Major: Other
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student:
One of the most important part of Berkeley is school pride, seen most vividly during football season. The students here are proud of their accomplishments and of other Berkeley students' accomplishments and give their best to the activities in which they're involved. Most of the world does not understand UC Berkeley because of the many misconceptions that have been propagated through the years. Berkeley is not a hippie school; while many students hold liberal values, a sizable population also holds conservative values. With the wide range of activities and events on campus, there is a niche for every student. That said, Berkeley is a large, public university. The first year here can - and often is - overwhelming, not only because of the social and academic adjustments but also because of the lack of support from the school. While the resources are available, you must reach out first - no one will take care of you. You must take care of yourself. In this sense, Berkeley prepares students well for the real world. At Berkeley, you have to do everything for yourself. No one will take you by the hand and guide you through college life. You have to make Berkeley your own. If you're unsatisfied with your learning experience, your grades, the social scene, or even dorm food, you have to take the initiative and make the change. This is why Berkeley students are student activists; we know that success and change won't be handed to us on a silver platter.
Berkeley is competitive and classes, especially in math and the sciences, are notoriously difficult, even after the curve. Unless you introduce yourself, professors won't know your name; however, many professors are truly interested in their students, and office hours are excellent opportunities for one-to-one discussions with professors. Sections, discussions, and labs are taught by Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), who may have teaching methods that better suit students' needs. GSIs often consult their students about a convenient office hour time that would also work for their students. Depending on the college, Berkeley has different academic requirements. The University of California has basic writing, history, and government requirements, which may be fulfilled through AP or IB credits. Berkeley has a campus-wide American Cultures (AC) requirement, which must be fulfilled with a class on campus. A wide variety of AC courses are offered each semester so that students can choose. Each college also has its own individual requiremnts. For the largest college, Letters and Science, a seven-course breadth requirement is designed to expand students' academic horizons. Berkeley has a scheduling system called TeleBears, which is split into two phases to ensure fairness. Each student receives an appointment during the two phases; a unit cap is in effect for the first phase. TeleBears is always a stressful time of the semester. After diligently researching interesting classes and professors and fitting lectures and discussions into a weekly schedule, I have to find out which ones are highly impacted and guess which class would fill up faster. Waitlisting into a course is also nerve-wracking, especially if the course is a prerequisite for another course or for a major. The level of academia here at Berkeley is amazing. We have some of the world's most renowned and most interesting professors and faculty. One of the most interesting classes I've taken is Drugs and the Brain, in which Dr. Presti, the teacher, brought in a preserved human brain to show the class.
Having lived my formative years in largely white suburban neighborhoods, the high ratio of Asian, particularly Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, students was a cultural shift for me. Despite what I feel to be ethnic homogeneity, Berkeley does not lack in experiences and intellectual interests. Most of the students come from relatively well-off, middle or upper middle class backgrounds, and most students are from California. A noticeable rivalry exists between students from Norcal and students from Socal; although all in good fun, the lack of international and out-of-state students has been disappointing to me personally, as I come from an international background and thrive in a multicultural environment. Students from the same background tend to be drawn to each other. Overall, Berkeley students are a curious, intelligent bunch. For the most part, Berkeley students encourage and celebrate differences.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
Lack of social life just for the fun of it