How to be a cool incoming freshman at UC Berkeley

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Linyan Tian/File

Welcome to UC Berkeley! This will be your new home for the next four years, so now is the perfect chance to reinvent yourself. The Clog has some tips on how you can finally be “that cool freshman” who everyone in your class will want to hang out with during the school year.

Turns out, we were joking. There was a reason you clicked this article, and it was likely because you’re eager to be the person who your fellow freshmen will rely on. The truth is that no one is really that cool to begin with here. (That was also a joke.)

Yes, it’s true. When you come to UC Berkeley, you have the marvelous opportunity to experience new things and take on new perspectives that you weren’t offered in your hometown. In our opinion, that makes you cool. We’re sure that you’re sick of standards, whether it be standardized tests or a style of clothing, so why look forward to following a new set of rules and guidelines?

Don’t make “being cool” or “popular” your focus as a freshman. You’ll have plenty on your plate when you start studying for your first round of midterms or when your roommate pukes on the floor of your dorm room after a long night out. Figure yourself out. Take the time to join a club that genuinely matches your interests and isn’t something that you feel obligated to join.

Be realistic. Cool people are also chill people. They know when they’re feeling overwhelmed and when to step back. Don’t feel ashamed or bad for doing less than what other freshmen in your department are doing. Move at your own pace! Learn how to control your stress and own your first semester.

Don’t take prerequisites for granted. Yes, you’ll probably hear many groaning sophomores and, yikes, juniors, complaining about prerequisites, but if you want to be a cool freshman, show some interest! You’ve earned the privilege to study at UC Berkeley, so take advantage of every resource and experience. The more open-minded you are, the more you’ll learn about yourself and the less you’ll compare yourself to others. That’s pretty cool. One thing I will say is that taking Computer Science 61A will guarantee your status as the coolest freshman.

Our last bit of advice is to learn to have fun and appreciate the companionship of people you may not usually talk to. At UC Berkeley, there are so many wonderful people from so many different backgrounds who are ready to relate with you or share a laugh with you. Learn to see the beauty in others instead of their differences. It sounds easier than it is, but once you let go of preconceived notions, you’ll have a much more rewarding experience at UC Berkeley in general.

Congratulations for getting into UC Berkeley! You’re going to do great! 

Contact Malvika Singhal at [email protected].