Life hacks for surviving UC Berkeley this fall semester

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Priya Sundaresan/Staff

No one said the transition from being a juvenile high schooler bombarded by your parents’ unconditional love to becoming a mature college student would be without its challenges. UC Berkeley, with its feared grade deflation and internationally renowned curriculum, poses many of said challenges. Here are seven tips to help ensure smooth sailing here at UC Berkeley until graduation.

Don’t make a habit of skipping lectures

It may seem fairly straightforward that attending each and every one of your classes is a given, but when the contagious midsemester slump comes around, it’s easy to think one or two lectures won’t make a significant difference. However, you’ll be giving yourself a huge pat on the back during finals week when you have all the class notes and don’t need to spend your days frantically cramming all the material you can find online.

Eat outside the dining halls every once in a while

Café 3 and Crossroads are huge money-saving options, but it’s nice to give your taste buds a break from the routine pizza slices and chocolate chip cookies. Head to Asian Ghetto for a quick bite or go to one of the many hip restaurants located Downtown. There are tons of great food options constantly popping up for you to try that won’t break the bank.

Join at least one club or organization that you’re passionate about

College is the optimal time in your life to explore a wide range of interests and find people who share them with you. While devoting time to your studies is important, it’s good to invest in a hobby or two to free your mind from back-to-back classes and the list of homework assignments waiting for you on bCourses.

Make friends you can count on

Infamous for its rigor, UC Berkeley’s academic journey becomes instantly more bearable when you have a friend to accompany you along the way. No one understands your current ups and downs better than your fellow peers who’ll be there to power through finals season with you — and celebrate afterward.

Have a four-year plan for your major

Every major has its prerequisite courses that must be completed in order to declare, as well as required courses thereafter. Stay organized by creating a spreadsheet of the classes you plan to take each year at school to ensure that you graduate on time and complete all necessary courses. You’ll be a pro when it comes to knowing which classes to choose in Phase I and Phase II.

Attend your GSI’s office hours

If your textbook material, problem sets or lectures have left you puzzled beyond belief, go to your GSI’s office hours to find immediate clarification waiting for you. From providing essay advice to answering homework questions, your GSI is there to help you, so be sure to utilize their allocated time intended for solely helping all students, from the confused to the curious.

Stay active

Make exercise a part of your college lifestyle. Gone is the trite image of a college student lounging on the couch with a pizza box within range. Heading to the RSF is not for everyone, but even walking instead of taking the bus through the huge, hilly UC Berkeley campus to go to all of your classes is a great way to stay active without even realizing it.  

Find a club where you can unleash your hidden talents, make friendships that’ll last a lifetime and elucidate your academic toils with your GSI. When you feel overwhelmed by college life, remind yourself of all the amazing outlets that you can count on for a great time and to add some much-needed rest and relaxation into your busy schedule.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .