50 things we at the Clog learned as freshmen at UC Berkeley

Alice Langford/File

Congratulations! You’ve just been accepted into the No. 1 public university in the world (something we like to call ourselves a lot), but you’re probably nervous about what to expect during your freshman year at UC Berkeley. Fear not, though, because we at the Clog were once in your very shoes. Yes, believe it or not, we were once freshmen too! We want to pass on our wisdom to you, so read on to hear what we learned during our freshmen years at UC Berkeley so you can bypass some of the bumps in the road early on and get a head start on your classmates.

  1. Wearing your lanyard around your neck 24/7 is not, in fact, cool.
  2. Don’t forget to call home every once in a while.
  3. Take a break and get out of the Berkeley bubble every so often.
  4. Put yourself out there and apply to as many campus clubs as you’re interested in. It doesn’t hurt to try! You may just find your new home on campus before you even know it.
  5. Sometimes classes known to be “life-changing” or “GPA boosters” can actually do the utter opposite and tank your GPA. Astro C10, we’re looking at you…
  6. You will get sick. Especially if you’re living in the dorms. Get your flu shot, wash your hands and keep your room clean. It’s common sense, but once you get to college sometimes common sense flies right out the window when you need it most.
  7. At the same time, don’t feel pressured to find your “lifelong” friend during GBO or even within the first month or two of school. It will come with time, but you will find your people and place on campus.
  8. Watching Netflix while you bike or use the elliptical at the gym is a great way to kill two birds with one stone — without feeling totally guilty about not doing your work.
  9. You will probably form a love-hate relationship with UC Berkeley, but when you leave it, you will miss it and all of its quirks.
  10. Literally nobody wears heels to frat parties.
  11. The Bear Transit Night Safety Shuttle is a lifesaver if you’re going home late at night, so it’s definitely good to learn how to use.
  12. Go to the football games — you’ll never get a chance to do that kind of thing with your friends after you leave college.
  13. You’ll never wait more than five minutes in line at Caffe Strada.
  14. You haven’t felt true regret until you’ve stumbled into Artichoke’s at 2 a.m. and chowed down a fat slice of their signature artichoke pizza only to find out about it from your Venmo history the next morning.
  15. Professors usually love it when you visit them in office hours.
  16. Shower shoes are NOT optional.
  17. Green books are infinitely better than blue books.
  18. No one cares about your SAT scores or your 5 on the AP Calculus exam.
  19. Students can go up Sather Tower for free with a Cal ID. It’s a great way to take a break between classes.
  20. If you join a campus organization there’s a 90 percent chance you’ll have to table/flyer on Sproul at some point.
  21. Always talk things out with your roommate instead of letting things fester.
  22. You’ll have to make an effort to make friends. People won’t always come to you.
  23. GBC burritos and burrito bowls are life.
  24. It’s okay to be alone!
  25. Actually read your syllabus for every class. Thoroughly. Write down or put important dates into your calendar as soon as you get ahold of them. You can thank us later.
  26. You’re not the only one struggling with the academics at UC Berkeley.
  27. Don’t feel bad about not being in enough clubs on campus.
  28. Do a little more research past just the class title when you’re signing up for classes.
  29. If you walk through Sproul, you WILL get flyered.
  30. The Cal Student Store usually has discounts on Mondays after football games.
  31. It might be painfully awkward but it’s always worth it to make friends or exchange numbers with at least one person in each of your classes, so they can share notes and study guides with you when you need them.
  32. In classes with group or partner projects, it’s best to always assume you’ll have to do all of the work yourself.
  33. Be friends with your GSIs, because you might just get a research opportunity out of it.
  34. Try out a variety of classes your first semester, don’t settle for a specific major! You might end up finding your passion in another major and not the one you initially thought you wanted to pursue.
  35. You don’t have to be BFFs with your roommates, so don’t force a friendship because it won’t be #sicko #mode.
  36. You will meet people you disagree with. This is okay. Try to be respectful and rise above it, because you have three years left!
  37. There are many on-campus food places that take meal points, so venture outside of just the dining halls. The walk to Pat Brown’s is WORTH it!
  38. Remember that when you get to college, everyone is in the same boat as you, so don’t be afraid to be friendly and spark up a conversation with a classmate in your discussion or someone you keep running into who lives a couple floors above you in your building. They might just be your new best friend.
  39. Take DeCals — these are Pass/No Pass classes taught by fellow students on a variety of subjects from chocolate to Drake’s career to cardiology!
  40. Don’t be afraid of cold emailing to find research/intern opportunities. Your major advisers and the Career Center are great for helping you with this!
  41. Go to Coffee Lab under the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library for $2.50 lattes; they’re cash only! They also have amazing donuts.
  42. When you get your first bad grade (chances are you will sooner than later) don’t let it get you down. It happens to everyone. Just remember that you are going to school with the brightest students in the country, give yourself some time to lick your wounds and then try again!
  43. Go to the Student Learning Center and go to office hours.
  44. Take the bus up to the beautiful UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens for a breather — admission is free and the garden is huge!
  45. If you want to take a day trip, Cal has partnered with Enterprise Rent-a-Car so that you can rent a car if you are over the age of 18! 
  46. If you like your laptop, don’t take it to Caffe Strada. There are too many Nixle alerts about laptops getting stolen there. 
  47. Berkeley Time is a lifesaver for looking up class averages, grade distributions and professors. Also, look up your professors on RateMyProfessor.com before you sign up for their class to get some perspective on their teaching styles, but take the reviews with a pinch of salt.
  48. Spotify Premium for students is only $4.99 per month. You also get Hulu and Showtime when you sign up. What a steal! 
  49. Sometimes, you just need to grab a Frisbee and a pair of sunglasses and get out to Memorial Glade for some R&R with friends.
  50. You should read The Daily Clog every day because it’s awesome!

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