My transformation into a proud UC Berkeley Golden Bear

Illustration of UC Berkeley's Campanile silhouetted against a sunset
Caragh McErlean/File

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Welcome, class of 2024 freshmen! We hope you’ve had a great first week.

Recently, I was reminiscing my journey from receiving my college acceptance to my initial days at UC Berkeley exactly a year ago. For those of you who are not aware, UC Berkeley is jokingly called the school where Stanford rejects go. In my case, I was an Ivy reject. But what became clear from the first moment I stepped foot on campus is that UC Berkeley was the far superior school for me.

Back in March 2019, during college acceptance season, my spirits were dampened when I realized I was wait-listed at my dream school. Even though I committed to UC Berkeley by the May 1 deadline, I was deeply hoping that my Columbia University waitlist status would turn into an acceptance. I spent many hours that summer contemplating why I didn’t get in and what I could’ve done differently instead of celebrating my UC Berkeley acceptance. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Many of my peers and I have also been in your shoes.

However, all of those feelings instantly vanished the moment I arrived on campus. Being an international student visiting California for the first time, I decided to attend UC Berkeley’s college tour with my family before orientation week. As I walked around campus and listened to the tour guide proudly explain its traditions, I felt right at home. By the time orientation ended and the first week of classes had passed by, it felt like I had been there for ages even though I was learning new things about UC Berkeley each day.

I was in awe of the wonderful, passionate professors, whose classes were beyond engaging; the supportive learning environment, which allowed me to cultivate my interests; and most importantly, all my amazing peers, who were so enthusiastic and driven in everything they did. We at the Clog agree that there truly is something for everyone here. Studying at a large public school, you’re sure to find peers for anything and everything you are interested in and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

No matter what you might have seen on UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens or Overheard at UC Berkeley, at the end of the day, we all love this place. Today, I feel a great sense of pride to say I am a student at UC Berkeley. It has been more than anything any of us ever imagined. Even if I could go back and change something, I wouldn’t.

Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected]