Dear Berzerkeley newbies

Off the Beat

Oh, hey there, Spring 2012 admits. Welcome to Cal. I hope you had a safe trip getting here and that you were able to fit all your stuff into your tiny dorm room (Clark Kerr kids: yes, I know, you have huge rooms). As someone who was in your shoes back in the day, I know how you feel. Now, let me help you out.

Are you freaking you because you don’t really know anyone? If that’s you, I’ve got one word for you: elevators. You spend time waiting for them and riding in them, so use that time to talk to random building-mates. I swear I’ve had some of my best convos in elevators my freshman year — funny drunk conversations, flirting with the cutie from the fourth floor, low-down on the night’s frat parties, what’s for lunch/dinner at the dining halls and much more.  Actually, the bathrooms on your floor are also a great place for random conversations and getting to know people. Nothing better than a spontaneous pow-wow around the sinks with toothbrushing and floor gossip.

Speaking of dorms, you’re probably also not super stoked about the fact that you finally got to college, away from parental supervision, yet now are being watched by those Resident Assistant people. Don’t worry; this can be managed. Make friends with them. Why? So you can learn to work their system — learn what violations they care about, what time they make their rounds, etc. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Another source of discontent may be that you are finding yourself a resident of an all-girls floor. Do not fret. Everything will be OK — I can say this from experience. I know you unhappy ladies were looking forward to being around college dudes all the time, including in the dorms. Let me remind you that they live above and below you, and you will definitely get to buddy up, flirt, hook up, fight and whatever else you were looking forward to doing with them.

Plus, there are perks to living on a girls’ floor: clean bathrooms — clean everything. I often found girls from other floors in our bathrooms because their male floormates had rendered theirs unbearably filthy.  Also, if you happen to be self-conscious and don’t want guys to see you looking frazzled in the morning, feel free to walk around your floor in all your uncombed, sweatpants-wearing, four-eyed glory without a worry.

Since I’m on the topic of the opposite sex, I should also encourage you to hook up in the dorms – and get creative and adventurous with it. A dorm experience is nothing without the thrill, slight paranoia and required creativity of the dorm hook up. There are plenty of great places — laundry rooms, kitchenettes and stairwells were some of my personal favorites. Don’t forget that you only have a semester, so get going!

While you get started on your quest for dorm hookup buddies and locations, start thinking about your living arrangements for next semester. I know, you just barely got here and have yet to do your first load of college laundry, and I am telling you to already look for future roommates and dwelling! Unfortunately, such is life, and you need to get going if you don’t want to live in a cardboard box next year. Also, buy yourself some rain boots and an umbrella now. In case you haven’t noticed, it rains here — a lot. This rain we’ve been having is not a little fluke. It will happen again, and again, and again.  Trust me.

But now, I am turning my attention to you, dear Haas hopefuls. My advice is to plan for it. You need to play your cards right (college apps style), and having a plan now is the key. I messed up big time by taking Statistics 21 (without any statistics background whatsoever) during my first semester at Cal and definitely paid for that mistake. In the end, I was just glad I passed it so I wouldn’t have to go through it again! Oh, and get involved. Find activities you like, and do them.  They like applicants with interests other than Jersey Shore and eating Cheeseboard pizza (you’ll soon find out about this delicious Berkeley delicatessen).

What’s that, young new Berkeleyan? You’re sad you missed all exciting events and protests we enjoyed in the fall? Take a deep breath and rest assured: This is Berkeley, so there is more to come.  Although I missed the Berkeley celebration of Obama’s election, I had the honor of having my class canceled the following fall because of the occupation of Wheeler Hall. Berkeley is nowhere near done producing thrilling protests, demonstrations, occupations, retaliations, celebrations and many other worthy events!

So there you have it, Berzerkeley newbies. Now go on and immerse yourself in your college years!