Looking for DeCals to take at UC Berkeley this year? Try this list!

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Jessica Doojphibulpol/Senior Staff

There’s a lot to love about UC Berkeley. As the No. 1 public university in the nation, UC Berkeley offers a multitude of unparalleled opportunities, one of which is the amazing DeCal program, which provides students with the chance to facilitate their own courses. With more than 150 DeCals covering a range of specialties, there are so many courses to explore, and don’t forget about getting the chance to be immersed in an environment with peers who share the same interests as you. DeCals battle the traditional perception of undergraduate learning by allowing students to teach and learn from one another to make for some of the most memorable experiences you’ll have in the classroom.

For the passionate music lover …

“Brain Like Berkeley: An Insight Into the Artistry of Frank Ocean” is one of the newest DeCals to arrive this upcoming fall and has already gained widespread notoriety across the internet, with even Frank Ocean’s own family taking notice. The DeCal focuses on the exploration of the underlying meanings behind the R&B artist’s lyrics and visuals. Surrounded by the hypermasculinity of the rap industry, Ocean challenges the expected norm of aggressiveness with personal reflective lyrics over soothing guitar melodies. For those wishing to gain a deeper appreciation for the wonderful artistry of Ocean while still receiving two units of course credit, there’s no better class on campus than “Brain Like Berkeley”!

For the calculated gamer …

While the technology of the GameCube console is rendered pretty much obsolete, the legacy of the ever-so-popular “Super Smash Bros. Melee” game lives on through its fervent fan base. In the hopes of inspiring the creation of a future game series just as impactful to the modern-day culture, the “Smash Bros: Anatomy of a Video Game Success” DeCal analyzes the long-lasting success of the game by taking a closer look at the marketing tactics deployed, the history of the game and the intentions of the video game designers. If you’ve never played “Super Smash Bros. Melee,” there’s no need to fret! All types of gamers are welcomed to provide their various insights to discussions, and time at the end is reserved for playing the actual game itself. If you’re interested to learn what it takes to acquire deep-rooted success, looking to gain a newfound respect for a video gaming classic or really love playing with characters from across the Nintendo franchise, this is the DeCal for you!

For the aspiring pastry chef …

“Life Skills: Intro to Baking” is the most enjoyable way to receive credit from the campus for attempting to adult. Once you’ve opted to no longer continue your Cal Dining meal plan, the task of cooking for yourself on a daily basis becomes a real challenge. However, this DeCal will show you the techniques and skills needed to make a handful of baked goods and prevent the embarrassing and all-too-real possibility of burning everything you make. Make your Food Network dreams a reality by learning to make scrumptious apple pies and fresh loaves of bread. If you’re in search of the perfect way to impress your friends or that special someone in your life, don’t hesitate to sign up for this DeCal to become the Cake Boss of your household.

For the future lifesaving doctor …

More than 15.5 million people living in America today have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. With about 1.7 million expected diagnoses to occur this year alone, cancer remains one of the biggest killers of the 21st century. “Cancer 101” is a DeCal that strives to educate the UC Berkeley student body about the impacts of this life-threatening disease and elucidate the many misconceptions that surround it. The beginning portion of the course focuses on introducing the fundamentals of human cancer, while the latter part touches upon more contentious issues and developments in the field. Whether you’re looking to become an oncologist later on in life or are just curious about the malady, “Cancer 101” is sure to be a fascinating addition to your course load.

For those looking to improve their outlook …

If you’re in search for a means to alter your current perspective of things, “Happiness Advantage” is a DeCal that allows you to do so by testing proven strategies for a habit-forming period of 21 consecutive days. With the responsibilities that come with school, jobs and clubs, it’s easy to sacrifice our own personal well-being in favor of trying to attain success. There exists a common misconception that success leads to happiness, which the doctrine of the course (“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor) stresses that we should disbelieve. By focusing on the themes of mindfulness, gratitude and kindness, “Happiness Advantage” brings the goal of maintaining a genuine state of happiness in your life to the forefront.

For those who think outside the box …

The “Human-Centered {Design.}” DeCal teaches the methodology behind human-centered design by incorporating its empathetic mission of fabricating designs that are tailored to the needs of the people. Students get a firsthand understanding of the creative approach through several in-class projects and homework assignments. With companies aimed toward human-centered design, such as Airbnb, on the rise, the criticality of focusing on a satisfying user experience has become continuously more prominent in modern-day business structures. This DeCal is the prime solution for those who are interested in constructing prototypes to answer questions on how to bring even the slightest improvement into someone’s day-to-day routine.

For the wizard at heart …

Does the thought of being a student at Hogwarts completely marvel you? Enter the magical world of “Harry Potter” — UC Berkeley style — and take the “UC Hogwarts: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” DeCal to learn more about the best-selling book series that continuously captivates readers across the world. From exploring the social hierarchies to discovering the role of love, the class revolves around discussing the deeper, more pertinent themes woven throughout the seven books. While the heroic epic of Harry Potter is a fascinating one, the latter half of the class puts the focus on you by incorporating activities based on the readings that give you the chance to win points for your own house as decided by the Sorting Hat. Put a little magic into your life and earn two units while doing so.

From self-proclaimed Frank Ocean connoisseur to star baking champion and everyone in between, there’s an equally unique course available for any student! At a campus as special as UC Berkeley, be sure to take advantage of the DeCal program throughout your four years here. When you find yourself in desperation for one more unit to fulfill your required number for the semester, check out the DeCal site for an abundance of courses that will truly bring joy to your school year.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .