UC Berkeley survival guide for newer students

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UC Berkeley can be an intimidating place to get used to, and living away from home for the first time can be pretty overwhelming. Although you’ll get the hang of things as you begin to live in Berkeley, it’s so much easier to have a guide to cover all your basic needs and more. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, also known as “the pyramid of happiness,” there are five levels of human needs that make us happy. Here are the different ways campus can provide for your needs for each step of the pyramid.

Level 1: Physiological needs

In Berkeley, fulfilling your physiological needs means finding all the best food places to go to. You can find a myriad of food places both on and around campus. There are grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and Berkeley Bowl, as well as plenty of restaurants and coffee and boba shops that many find essential and psychologically fulfilling. Although the Bay Area cost of living is high, take advantage of student discounts and promotion events. In addition to food, check out these great places on campus to take a break and rest, including the nap pods in Moffitt Library, Memorial Glade and the benches around campus.

Level 2: Safety needs

UC Berkeley is in the middle of a city, and the area surrounding campus doesn’t always feel the safest, especially at night. However, there are resources you can utilize to keep yourself safe. Call BearWalk for a walking buddy, take the night safety shuttle that runs until 3 a.m., sign up for a door-to-door shuttle service and sign up to receive WarnMe crime alerts to stay updated on which areas to avoid.

Level 3: Belongingness and love needs

It’s easy to feel lost and alone at a huge school such as UC Berkeley. It helps to find a smaller community on campus with members who share your interests. Check out various student organizations at campus’s semesterly club fair “Calapalooza,” visit CalLink or pick up a few flyers at Sproul Plaza. Many also find their family here through residence halls, community housing and Greek life.

Level 4: Esteem needs

Need a boost in self-esteem? On top of Berkeley’s rigorous classes, there are many ways you can go the extra mile to feel more accomplished. Physically, challenge yourself to go to the Recreational Sports Facility, hike the Fire Trails or wake up to watch the sunrise every day — Berkeley has amazing sunrises and sunsets. Academically, you can earn an honors degree, earn certificates in entrepreneurship and design, obtain multiple degrees or apply to scholarships. However, even if you don’t partake in any of these activities, don’t forget that you are at UC Berkeley and that you are healthy and well; that is already an important accomplishment.

Level 5: Self-actualization

Once you have achieved the previous four levels, your next step in happiness is to discover your passions and creative outlets. UC Berkeley offers hundreds of opportunities to do so — there are student organizations focusing on diverse hobbies such as dance, art, music, coding and languages, not to mention various professional opportunities to explore career paths. Even by simply walking around campus, you can see dancers and skateboarders on Lower Sproul, weekly a cappella concerts at Sather Gate, art murals near the Berkeley Art Studio and flyers advertising culture-specific events and networking job fairs. Furthermore, don’t forget to observe Berkeley’s beautiful nature for awe and inspiration, including views from the Big C, Sather Tower and Lawrence Hall of Science, as well as the Berkeley Rose Garden and the UC Botanical Garden.

There you have it, your comprehensive guide to happiness at UC Berkeley. We at the Clog hope that you are happy here at Berkeley; sometimes all you need is a small reminder and a reflection of the things you already have! 

Contact Euna Jo at [email protected].