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Fall Orientation 2023: The Daily Cal survival guide

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AUGUST 30, 2023

When you first come to UC Berkeley, it may seem like everyone has it together. Campus teems with students on the go, and all of a sudden everyone wants to tell you about their startup. But allow us to let you in on a little secret: We’re all still trying to figure it out. 

Attending the top public university in the country comes with its challenges, from the rigorous academics to the fickle weather. Being a student means making mistakes and sometimes embarrassing yourself, but these writers have been there and they’ve got you covered.

Consider this fall orientation special issue your unofficial “survival guide” to life in Berkeley. Open it up, and you’ll be back at Golden Bear Orientation, revisiting how a student first met their best friend. Turn the page, and you’ll discover what it’s like to be a humanities major at a STEM-dominated school. Keep reading, and you’ll be reminded, quite visually, that it’s okay to cry sometimes. 

At the end of it all, we hope you realize that “surviving” at UC Berkeley isn’t as daunting as it may seem. 

– Lauren Harvey and Maya Jimenez

To Eric, from Emma

Photo of Emma Solomon

In the midst of growing pains, we found each other, and rediscovered the feeling of home that got us through that first onerous week alone.

– Emma Solomon

Photo essay: Falling in love with Berkeley

Photo of UC Berkeley.

This photo essay is a thank you letter to the beautiful campus that became my second home, commemorating a two-day, 24,000 step journey around campus reliving special moments and places.

– Jun Oh

Sophomore slump

Mug of Lucia Umeki-Martinez.

It’s the lull where you aren’t new anymore, but the end still isn’t in sight. There’s quite a ways to go before graduation, but you already feel as though you’ve matured.

– Lucía Umeki-Martínez

Photo essay: Crying at Cal

Photo of a person crying.

Life at UC Berkeley can be hard, and this photo essay is a reminder that it is okay to cry.

– Kyle Garcia Takata

A tale of two majors

Photo of Michael Temprano

Society inspires literature, and literature inspires society. The union of my English and sociology majors constantly reminds me of this beautiful dynamic.

– Michael Temprano

Where you should grind this semester, according to the stars

Illustration of Zodiac Signs, by Georgia Sisco

If you’re any true Cal student, you probably already have your favorite study spots for grinding it out. But beyond comfort and familiarity, have you ever factored the stars into your study session decision?

-Emily Hamill

‘At war with itself’: Studying humanities at UC Berkeley

Photo of Adriana Temprano.

The reality is that STEM seems to dictate our careers, our livelihoods and therefore our academics as well. Without these disciplines, I can’t imagine how any of us would exist. But without humanities, arts and social sciences, I don’t think our chances of existence would be any higher.

– Adriana Temprano

‘We’re here to serve: Berkeley Public Library acts as valuable community resource

Photo of the Berkeley Public Library.

Whether scrambling for a book last minute, joining a community-based chess club or just needing a place to recharge devices, UC Berkeley students see the Berkeley Public Library as a valuable resource.

-Matthew Yoshimoto

Calling all music lovers: The Bay Area’s hottest concerts this fall 

Photo of a concert.

With so many venues, it can be daunting to try and find concerts and live music events of interest to you. But, never fear! Let this be your guide.

– Anna Armstrong

Best small music venues in Bay Area

Photo of a concert.

These three small venues are pillars of the Bay Area music scene and manifest the power of intimacy in performance and audience engagement.

-Kelsey McIvor

Best late-night food in Berkeley

Infographic of late night food, by Sunyu Jung

One of my favorite things about Berkeley as a college town is that there are so many places open around or past midnight.

-Caitlin Wang

5 things to say when a tech bro corners you about their startup

Illustration of Startup Culture, by Fifi Berman

Welcome to Berkeley! Here, you can expect to discover academic disciplines, friends for life and, of course, thousands of crypto-tech-EECS-finance bros who want nothing more than to tell YOU about their latest and greatest startup.

-Miriam Klaczynska

Cal club culture: You won’t get into every crypto-consulting club

Mug of Miriam Klaczynska.

No, you might not get into the most posh consulting club your first semester on campus, but it won’t be the end of the world.

-Miriam Klaczynska

Where to get pierced or tattooed in Berkeley

Photo of a store.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to express yourself in the way you want to. Here’s where you can obtain a coveted tattoo or piercing in Berkeley.

-Chrissa Olson

Jumping around at Berkeley: My favorite ways to exercise

Photo of gym equipment.

Classes are hard. No one can sit in Moffitt eight hours a day for months. We get it. We all need to jump around sometimes.

– Jingxing Wang

Photo essay: The repose of nature

Photo of a hillside.

I owe any trace of a relatively stable mental health to the beaten paths of Strawberry Creek and the Fire Trails, and I hope these photos capture my gratitude for all that nature offers so bountifully.

– Elena Hsieh

Contact Lauren Harvey at 


SEPTEMBER 01, 2023