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93 things the Clog wished we knew as freshmen

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MARCH 27, 2014

The Clog wants you to be as prepared as possible for coming to UC Berkeley. So we asked ourselves what we wish we knew coming in freshman year. From the minuscule knowledge that everyone loses his or her ID card to the real possibility that your floormates won’t be your best friends, we’ve curated all the advice we could.

1. Some lectures are webcasted.

2. Learning to cook is not overrated.

3. Take classes that you’re actually interested in, not just because people say they’re easy.

4. Don’t eat everything you possibly can at Crossroads just because it’s there.

5. There’s a cafe in Dwinelle Hall.

6. Join lots of clubs you’re actually interested in. Don’t make excuses. Starting early is better because then you can figure out what you actually enjoy and what you want to be involved in for the rest of college.

7. Do everything you love, but try not to spread yourself too thin. (This involves making sacrifices.)

8. Using weekends to catch up on work is extremely useful.

9. Figuring out what you want to major in early is actually really, really helpful in the long run and will prevent a lot of stress.

10. Put the fruit from the dining halls in your backpack when no one’s looking.

11. FOMO is real, but it doesn’t mean you need to go out every night.

12.  It won’t kill you to not do the reading before class.

13. Berkeley isn’t just the Southside. Explore!

14. Befriend your classmates early in the semester. You’ll be thankful when midterms and problem sets roll around.

15. Midterm season only ends when finals season begins.

16. (Follow up to No. 12) But it very nearly will kill you to try to finish a semester’s worth of reading the night before the final.

17. Qualcomm Cafe takes meal points.

18. Meet and talk to as many people as possible. Make connections. You don’t know how much you’ll benefit from knowing a certain someone later on.

19. Advocate what excites you, what you’re passionate about. If it isn’t provided for you through some sort of group/club/class already, CREATE IT.

20. Take lots of pictures. Every day. All the time. Document it. Life is worth documenting.

21. Break out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just to say hi to that cutie who lives next door to you in the dorms.

22. INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS. They like that, and in a class of 100 or so, they won’t get the chance to know you on a personal level unless you make the effort. And if you need their help with something later, they are super nice the majority of the time. P.S.: GSIs are pretty cool and approachable, for the most part. Teachers may look funny, but they want you to succeed just as much as you want to.

23. Don’t hide your scooter in a bush hoping the parking Nazis won’t find it and give you a ticket just so you don’t need to walk those few extra feet to class — it doesn’t work.

24. Don’t go home every weekend  you’ll miss out on some really cool college experiences.

25. When your parents come to visit, take advantage and explore the restaurant options. Eating at the Cheese Board Collective every time gets lame, and you’ll soon realize everywhere you go to eat in Berkeley is GOOD.

26. Cherish your time as a freshman because in the years to come, you’ll wish you joined more clubs/socialized/explored more your freshman year.

27. And cherish your time in the dorms. You probably won’t live that close to all your friends again.

28. Hoard the toilet paper from the dorms. It’s simple things like that that you’ll realize you don’t want to pay for once you move out.

29. Don’t buy a Mac if you want to stand out.

30. Go to San Francisco and explore  it’s an amazing city, and we’re lucky to live so close to it.

31. Don’t go home every weekend, but also don’t be afraid to go home if you need it.

32. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask your parents for help and advice when you need it. You’re in college and you’re an adult, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own.

33. A little effort with professors goes a long way.

34. Never buy all your books, and if you must, buy them used.

35. Take plastic forks and spoons from the Asian Ghetto and napkins from Golden Bear Cafe, etc.

36. Go to events that are “free.” Especially the Sexual Health Education Program’s table during National Condom Week — take, like, $50 worth of condoms!

37. There are more opportunities to make your move on that cute guy/girl in lower-division courses than in upper divs.

38. Watch out for cops when jaywalking.

39. Cal Dining is a luxury. Embrace it while you can.

40. If you’re falling behind in a class and too lazy to catch up on hundreds of pages of assigned reading for an upcoming exam, go to the midterm review. If there isn’t one, go to office hours.

41. Parking is a bitch. But if you must park, beware the cops who frequently patrol Southside (Durant Avenue, Channing Way, Haste Street, etc.)

41. Use your resources at UC Berkeley to look for summer internships — early!

42. Make an effort. If you see something you like, go for it. If you meet someone you like, text him or her.

43. You will spend more money than you’ve ever spent before during your first semester. Make sure you save up beforehand, but don’t be afraid to pay for experiences.

45. Don’t be too afraid of upperclassmen. You can make friends with them too, and you probably should!

46. If you’re in the dorms, try to meet everyone on your floor. You don’t have to be best friends, but at least know their names and majors. You might be able to help each other out with homework or something.

47. If you have an issue with your roommate, speak up. Letting it sit and getting passive-aggressive about it later is far worse than any minor drama you may cause now.

48. Get a good backpack! You will be lugging it around all day.

49. Have friends come visit, and go visit friends. Sometimes, it’s fun when worlds collide.

50. Have some good stories from high school to tell, and always be willing to make new ones.

51. If you already bought a to-go box, you can sneak it in your bag, eat a meal at the dining halls and THEN pack the to-go box. You can get about four meals for the price of one.

52. Don’t just eat Chipotle. Branch out.

53. Learn how to deal with your roommate crying. Offering her a beer isn’t the best solution.

54. Eat at the Brazil Cafe at least once. It’s the best sandwich you will ever have.

55. Follow through with the clubs you sign up for, but don’t sign up for every club.

56. Have a resume and cover letter already set coming into college. This will save you a ton of time when you apply for internships.

57. You don’t need to try to “get rid of” all of your breadth courses within your first year. The classes you end up taking for your major will probably take care of some of them.

58. The yogurt parfaits at GBC are amazing.

59. Look presentable during summer orientation. At some point, you’re going to take the picture that goes on your ID card. And the card is forever.

60. People expect you to cross the street when there are no cars around, despite the fact that the crosswalk light is telling you not to cross.

61. Group exercise classes at the RSF are really fun. Take a dance class, and don’t be afraid to look silly.

62. Always carry a little bit of cash. A lot of cafes and restaurants accept cash only. You’ll need it to get boba.

63. Use Google Maps. Don’t accidentally bus to Oakland.

64. At some point, you will come to welcome Bs.

65. Try to avoid “floorcest” for as long as possible, but if it happens, remember that it’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal.

66. Do birthday celebrations!

67. Own rain boots.

68. You can never have too many Cal sweatshirts!

69. Remember to keep in touch with your parents … don’t just call them when you need money.

70. Explore campus.

71. Hike or run the Berkeley Fire Trails, and take in the amazing views!

72. You will come to dread walking through Sproul Plaza.

73. You will lose your Cal 1 Card — maybe more than once.

74. Sleep is for the weak.

75. You think UC Berkeley is huge until second semester when you start recognizing everyone on campus.

76. Avoid GBC at noon. Otherwise, you’ll end up waiting 30 minutes to pay for a soda.

77. Befriend someone with a car.

78. Losing dorm keys will cost you $50.

79. Your RA is your RA, not your friend (but he or she can be).

80. Your study habits won’t change overnight — you’re going to have to work hard to fix them.

81. You will miss eating good fruit.

82. You will have to say your name/major/year many, many, many times. It’s how you will first define yourself.

83. If you don’t learn shorter ways to get to your classes, you’re only hurting yourself.

84. There’s a difference between people who are good with small talk and people who would actually be good friends.

85. Don’t waste time with people who always say “we should hang out!” and never follow up.

86. The people you talk to one semester might be completely different from the people you talk to the next.

87. Maintaining a B is pretty easy, but getting that A will require extra, genuine work from you.

88. You will begin to see what kind of person you’re developing into your freshman year.

89. Don’t be friends with people who only have fun when they’re drinking alcohol.

90. There’s a good chance you won’t end up keeping in touch with many of your “best friends” in high school.

91. It’s OK if you find yourself changing as a person. It’s good to change.

92. People are very competitive at UC Berkeley. But you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people — just strive to do the best you can do. If you’re right for that position, you’ll get it.

93. Taking a DeCal is a great way to get an extra unit and take a fun class.

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MARCH 27, 2014