4 Berkeley-specific pointers for new students

Illustration of people studying in Moffitt Library
Vivian Du/Staff

Related Posts

When one first goes to college, there are pieces of advice that they’ll hear constantly. “Always go to class,” “always bring a pen or pencil,” “join clubs to make friends” — these are some of the more common recommendations older students and post-graduation adults will make.

But there are usually quite a few pointers that are missed in these typical advice lists, and it can be hard to find college-specific advice. In order to fill that knowledge gap, here are four Berkeley-centric things you should definitely remember when going about your first year as a Bear.

Think about what you’re bringing to campus

What you pack to bring to your new living situation, if you’re moving at all, is pretty important, and it’s easy to forget to get office supplies and plan what you should pack in your bag every day for class. Having an organizational style that works for you is paramount to making sure you bring all of your notebooks and folders to your classes on the right days of the week. Whether it be a three-ring binder or the ancient art of stuffing the right papers straight into your backpack, as long as you know where to find things, you’re good to go.

Some important things to absolutely not forget are your note-taking supplies — a laptop or a notebook, keeping in mind that some teachers don’t allow laptops to be out during lecture — a pen, some kind of paper-keeping folder or binder thing and a reusable water bottle. It’s always good to save the environment while you stay hydrated.

Book study rooms on Moffitt Library’s fifth floor a week in advance 

This tip can extend to any library, especially during finals week and RRR week (the week before finals, when classes aren’t held). If you want a nice private space to blast some music while you study, or maybe you have a group project due and just need a room to hash out ideas with your cohort in, keep in mind that it’s likely that some of the other thousands of students on this campus have had the same idea. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to book study rooms. Do it as soon as the room reservation times open up, which would be a week in advance for Moffitt Library’s fifth floor and most other study rooms, or at midnight on the day before for Moffitt Library’s fourth floor. Check beforehand when your desired room’s reservations open so you don’t get stuck without a study spot!

Study with a buddy so they can protect your belongings

Laptop theft is a rampant problem in Berkeley, and the less-serious seat theft is always just around the corner. Asking the random person next to you to watch your belongings if you have to step away can be scary, and you might not trust them. Let’s face facts: We don’t usually trust random strangers as much as we trust people we know, especially our friends. So you’re going to need someone to study with who you know will protect all of your belongings and your empty seat with diligence and strength.

Forming study groups with classmates is a great way to study, of course, but it’s also a great way to have a guaranteed computer defender when you need to take the inevitable bathroom break. 

Use a planner system that works for you

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey, I’m pretty good at remembering things,” and maybe you are. But rest assured, as the midterms, essays and projects pile up, UC Berkeley has a way of making you forget what you need to do. The only real way to make sure you don’t is to start using a calendar or reminder system early on in your collegiate career so you don’t accidentally forget that big project is due tomorrow.

Google Calendar is commonly used, but if you prefer physically writing things down, then a physical planner is best. Better yet, use both Google Calendar and a planner, so you can cross-reference your events and have double the reminders. It’s the best of both worlds!

Contact Sakura Cannestra at [email protected].