Brain boot camp: How to branch out and expand your knowledge!

Maya Valluru/Staff

In college, it’s normal to feel intimidated by the intellectual prowess of both your peers and professors. With summer quickly approaching, the next couple of months are the perfect opportunity for you to branch out and expand your knowledge! If you’re interested, but don’t know where to start, keep reading for a few helpful ideas!

Use the iPhone News app

This is one of our favorites because it’s such an easy way to learn new things and become more informed! Simply go to the “News” app that’s predownloaded on your iPhone and mark topics that you’re interested in such as health, science, business, technology and politics. Then, the News app will curate hundreds of recent articles for you based on your interests, and, within a couple of minutes, you have the world at your fingertips! Android also offers a variety of news apps for you to explore, such as SmartNews, Flipboard and Feedly. You can also turn notifications on in your phone’s settings to get updated on current events in real time.

Listen to podcasts/radio/audiobooks

The rising trend among the young, busy crowd is to get your news delivered via audio. Whether it’s listening to audiobooks during your morning jog or playing NPR segments while you brush your teeth, the possibilities are endless. We recommend downloading the NPR app on your phone so that you can listen to three- to four-minute segments of programs such as NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” while taking a break from your work or waiting for your coffee.

Watch intellectually driven comedy shows

With younger generations increasingly expressing interest in politics and world news, comedy shows such as “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and Netflix’s “Patriot Act” with Hasan Minhaj are a great, fun way to learn about what’s going on in the world around you. These shows are hosted by hybrid-comedians who have amassed impressive knowledge about current events. Their teams do extensive research, and the shows then inform audiences in a humorous and enjoyable way. Check these shows out for a more informative break-time activity!

Practice and learn new languages on Duolingo

Many students around the world use apps such as Duolingo to learn and practice new languages. Duolingo is a fantastic way to improve your language skills for about 32 different languages all in the comfort of your own home. You can play fun games to increase your memorization skills and improve your pronunciations at the touch of a button!

Read journal articles

Make use of UC Berkeley-sponsored databases, such as OskiCat and Google Scholar to stay up-to-date on discoveries in academia. UC Berkeley is one of the world’s top research institutes, so you may even discover articles published by your professors in top research journals! NASA recently published an investigation of the effects on human physiology during space flight by comparing two identical twins — one on Earth and one in space. You can develop a deeper understanding of topics you are interested in by doing a simple Google search!

Audit or pass/no pass a class

Want to take a class at UC Berkeley for your own interest, but worried about taking on additional stress? Talk to a professor about auditing a class, or fall back on the Pass/No Pass option, so you can learn about new topics without having the added pressure of a grading system. The world is your oyster!

Attend professor office hours

UC Berkeley’s faculty are among the world’s leading experts in a plethora of topics, so if you’re interested in a particular professor’s work, attend their office hours to ask them questions! Even if you aren’t in their class, most professors will be more than happy to share their insight and experiences with students who share their passion for a given topic. This is also an excellent way to get to know professors on campus and get involved with research opportunities!

We hope these tips give you a few ideas to jump-start your quest for knowledge! Don’t forget, knowledge is power, and the possibilities are endless! Good luck from all of us at the Clog. You got this!

Contact Pariswi Tewari at [email protected].