An open letter to a student trying to fit a semester’s reading into 2 weeks

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Crystal Zhong/File

Dear poor soul,

Let’s just start out by saying we’re rooting for you. We really are. While some might chastise you for starting your readings so late and your GSIs might tell you that you’re screwed, we truly believe in you. The sheer willpower and adrenaline that hit right as classes end and dead week begins can help a student achieve the impossible. So don’t lose hope (yet).

And honestly, we’ve been in the same position as you. We know what it’s like to be so slammed with work that your readings get pushed to the backseat. We also know what it’s like to have no work except “optional” readings, so the fact that you don’t have a pressing deadline means you have nothing to do. And, therefore, no readings ever actually get done. We could go on and on with excuses for why our readings don’t get done, but we know the biggest one: Laziness with a capital L. We apologize for calling you out on this, but the first step towards healing is acceptance, so the sooner you accept the fact that you’ve screwed yourself over, the better. We here at the Clog have learned from experience that being realistic about your abilities and accepting your foolish mistakes for what they are is an important part of being a student here at UC Berkeley.

But enough of the negative stuff. We’re here to encourage you! You probably hear this a lot, but your GPA or success on a test doesn’t measure your intelligence or worth. And we mean this in the least cliché and overdone way possible. We aren’t unrealistic, and we realize this stuff matters on applications for grad school, jobs and other things, but we want you to realize that in the long run, you’ll be fine. There will be other semesters, experiences and opportunities for you to pick yourself back up. And besides, you’re here at UC Berkeley! You managed to get in somehow, so use that same motivation that got you in here to get through all the finals prep you haven’t done yet.

We have some tips to help you with your readings as well! We’d definitely say don’t try to overextend yourself by taking lengthy notes or trying to understand what every sentence is saying. Focus on the topic sentences, titles, thesis statements and main points of the readings. You probably won’t be expected to know every little detail, so focus on the larger concepts. As talented and brilliant as we know you are, no one’s Superman/woman, so don’t try to do the most this late in the semester.

So to make a long story short, you’ve got this. We wish we could write more but we — er — have a lot of reading to catch up on as well, so we’ve got to go. But don’t worry about us — worry about yourself! Go read! If we can’t motivate you with some kind words and a nice open letter, put the fear of failing and the face of your disappointed parent(s) in you instead. Whatever works for you, we won’t judge. So happy dead week, and go Bears!

With lots of love and support,

The Clog

Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].