So you’re a smart UC Berkeley freshman who’s ready to make the most out of your college experience, but what things should you do during your first year? UC Berkeley is a huge school, and sometimes it’s hard to know which resources to take advantage of, but the Daily Clog is here to help you figure out which things at UC Berkeley will make your life awesome.
1. Recreational Sports Facility
The Recreational Sports Facility is one of the best parts of being a student here at UC Berkeley. Even if you’re not an NCAA athlete, you can enjoy the Olympic-sized swimming pool, basketball courts, treadmills, martial arts rooms and weight rooms. Membership is only $10 per semester, which is ridiculously cheap considering how many resources are at your disposal. Plus, there are other swimming pools, tennis courts and fields spread around campus for student use.
Caltopia is a college lifestyle festival hosted by Cal Recreational Sports at the beginning of the year where more than 100 sponsors gather in the RSF to advertise, as well as to hand out free merchandise and food. Join thousands of students to rake in free stuff like bags, sunglasses and phone cases. You’ll also get enough pens to last your entire college career. This year, Caltopia takes place August 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
Calapalooza is the UC Berkeley club fair, so if you’re looking for an interesting organization to join, make sure you check this out. Enjoy amazing performances throughout the day from student groups while collecting a hoard of flyers with new information. Put your name down on lots of clubs’ email lists and go to a general meeting or two — try to experience the diversity as much as possible! Calapalooza takes place September 3 and 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sproul, Wheeler and Dwinelle plazas, but go to both days, because different clubs table each day.
4. Welcome Week activities
Getting Your Bearings is Berkeley’s welcome program for freshmen. It includes Calapalooza, but apart from that, it also offers activities such as academic orientations and tours. The Residence Hall Assembly, an elected student government in the dorms, also organizes activities like trips to CREAM and San Francisco throughout the year and a boat dance in the spring. Go to those events and hang out with the people you live with! Your floormates are an automatic network of friends, because you see them every day. You might not be #besties with the person who sings off-key in the shower, but many people find their lifelong friends in the dorms. Also, keep your door open and welcome your floormates in, have a stash of Cheetos and candy to share, and play games like Cards Against Humanity, Settlers of Catan and Never Have I Ever.
5. Free tutoring
Both the Academic Services Centers in the dorms and the Student Learning Center on campus provide free tutoring for common freshmen classes in areas such as chemistry, physics, math and writing. The SLC also has one-unit adjunct courses that give you homework problems and practice midterms to supplement lecture material. Tutoring can turn a B grade into an A, so it’s definitely worth it! Even if you’re not struggling in a class, these tutoring sessions will help you review and consolidate what you learned.
DeCals are one- or two-unit legitimate classes taught by student facilitators, and they cover almost every topic imaginable. The award for Best DeCal last year was given to Game of Thrones — Alliances, Power, and Strategies. There were also DeCals on League of Legends, Naruto, Harry Potter, playing the bells in the Campanile, Taiwanese language and pornography (for educational purposes). The list of DeCals for fall 2014 hasn’t been finalized, but there will be a DeCal Expo showcasing different DeCals sometime at the beginning of the year.
Although 71 percent of new UC Berkeley students don’t drink, if you choose to do so, do it intelligently. Parties are fun, but throwing up and blacking out aren’t. Always go with a group of close friends and don’t leave without them, know your drinking limit and eat before you drink. Check out Cal Party Tips for real stories and tips on how to party, and get more information at the official [email protected] website at the Tang Center.
8. Night Safety Services
The lifesaver of anyone who’s out late, Night Safety Services include BearWALK, Night Safety Shuttles and Door-to-Door Service. Call BearWALK at 510-642-9255 between dusk and 4 a.m., and a student community service officer will meet you and walk you home. Alternatively, you can catch the night shuttles that come every 15 to 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. If it’s after 4 a.m., call the door-to-door service at 510-642-9255 from 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., and a shuttle will come pick you up. All services are free, so don’t hesitate to call if you’ve been “studying” at a friend’s house until 3 a.m.
Contact Katy Yuan at [email protected].