Doing it all in half the time: Making the most of life as a transfer student

Karen Chow/Staff

Two falls. Two springs. One or two summers. That’s all the time that transfer students have to get everything done as undergraduates at UC Berkeley. Is it really possible?

For those of us older Bears, we sometimes feel the pressure to hurry up and get things done more than our younger friends. Even for those of us on track to graduate at the more traditional ages of 21 or 22, it can still feel like a massive competition to finish at the same time as former high school classmates. But the truth is, no matter what age we are when we make it to UC Berkeley, our attendance is something to be proud of. We may have a limited time to get situated and get things done, but transfers are always up for the task.

Going “clubbing”

The sheer number of student organizations at UC Berkeley can sometimes feel a bit daunting. With all our upper-division coursework, we often question if we really have time to get involved in extracurriculars. But we make it work. It’s important, for our emotional and mental health, to find an outlet, whether creative or physical or anything in between. Why not give that club you’ve been wanting to check out a try? There are plenty of musical and dance groups on campus, as well as yoga classes and more at the Recreational Sports Facility. There are also tons of fun, nonacademic DeCals to get involved in.

School spirit

Cal has so many sports teams to follow and cheer on that you’ll never miss out on good old-fashioned spectator sportsmanship. Football season is the perfect excuse to be as aggressively school-spirited as you can be. Put on a little blue and yellow and come on down to a game! Even if football isn’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty more than athleticism to look forward to during the games. Performances by the incredible Cal Band and spirit teams are bound to be entertaining. We promise that you’ll quickly learn all of the great chants in a matter of minutes. Come for the spectacle and stay for the spirit.

Bears abroad

Coming in with such limited time can leave many transfer students under the impression that studying abroad isn’t an option. But thanks to school partnerships with programs such as the University of California Education Abroad Program and the Berkeley Global Internships programs, you can study at numerous locations around the world for the same cost you would expect to pay at UC Berkeley. For students getting aid, you can expect to get the same amount of financial aid, too!

Internships and more

One of the first steps in the internship hustle is to get on Handshake. Using this tool for finding internships, part-time jobs and more will help you turn your goals into reality. There’s also plenty of volunteering experience to be had around campus and through resources such as the UC Berkeley Public Service Center. Don’t wait until graduation to take advantage of these amazing resources.

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all that you feel like you could, or even should, be doing when you transfer. The great thing about being a student at UC Berkeley is that you get to customize your experience. There’s so much more learning to be had than what’s just within the classroom walls. Our time is what we make of it, so take advantage of it, transfers!

Contact Lauren West at [email protected].