Life hacks for growing up at UC Berkeley

infographic depicting ways to prepare for adulthood at UC Berkeley
Mai Chiamthamachinda/Staff

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Are you prepared to be an adult? If you answered this question in any way that resembles panic or concern, welcome to the journey of adulting! While growing up can feel liberating, the path to finessing adulthood proves cumbersome when you don’t even know where to begin. For this reason, it’s important to utilize the resources readily available to you. When the going gets tough and the adulting gets rough, UC Berkeley has just the right tips and tricks for anyone preparing to tackle the world of adulthood.

DeCal Courses

If you’re going to learn how to function as an adult, why not earn a few course units along the way? UC Berkeley’s DeCal program includes more than 150 courses each semester that provide students the power to decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. For the aspiring adult, the DeCal on adulting can be a helpful way to form a community with others also coming to terms with the responsibilities of growing up. It covers everything from personal finance to relationships, mental health, nutrition and more.

If you didn’t learn how to do your taxes in high school, never fear! The DeCal centered around volunteer income tax assistance equips students with the skills required to file taxes while also addressing the income inequality crisis in the United States. A personal finances course can further enlighten you on smart ways to approach debt, investments and insurance. If the COVID-19 pandemic has left you feeling especially uncertain, the DeCal Program also offers a course on understanding healthcare fundamentals and policies

Finally, if you frequently find yourself wondering how to make sense of food items other than cereal and grilled cheese, the “Introduction to Cooking” and  “Life Skills: Intro to Baking” courses can help you maximize nutrients in your diet and use those eggs in your fridge before their expiration date. 

Discovery Courses and Berkeley Connect 

A great way to fulfill course breadth requirements while also learning some practical skills that will help you in the adult world is to take one of UC Berkeley’s Discovery Courses offered through the College of Letters & Science. L&S C60W, titled “Big Words in Politics,” is offered to help students feel better prepared for the inevitable spicy dinner conversation on all things politics. If you’re passionate about combating the impacts of climate change in the future, L&S C70V on “Physics for Future Presidents” provides insight regarding how to ecologically mitigate technological advancements from a position of power. L&S C70Y on “Earthquakes in Your Backyard” discusses how to approach solutions for natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis like a responsible, leading adult. Though the add/drop deadline has already passed for this semester, it’s good to keep these options in mind as you navigate your schedule planning in the future.

For mentorship and group support, enrolling in Berkeley Connect provides undergraduate students with a graduate student mentor specializing in each student’s area of interest. You don’t even need to major in the department of the specific program you’re enrolling in to participate! Whether you want to dive deeper into the social construct of race or develop your ear for classical music, Berkeley Connect has many programs to help bring students together in shared common interests. 

Graduate school resources

Does your adulting process include graduate studies? UC Berkeley’s Office for Graduate Diversity and its Graduate Assembly teamed up to form a partnership known as Getting into Grad School, or GiGS. This program allows graduate students to mentor undergraduate students in the pursuit of furthering their education and careers. GiGS also aims to provide more resources for interested first-generation and underrepresented students. Through this opportunity, you can begin the process of searching for graduate schools, completing application materials and planning for a career path as an adult.

If you’re looking for further information, UC Berkeley’s Step by Step resource specifically walks you through the process of applying to graduate school and offers ways to build your networking options. Whether you are a freshman, senior or transfer student, this guide helps you stay on top of advising opportunities that can assist you in adulting with your studies. 

The Career Center

For information on ways to find the career for you, UC Berkeley Career Center’s First Destination Survey analyzes the postgraduate pathways of recent undergraduates. Through this resource, you can glean perspective on potential professional opportunities that have been pursued by students in specific majors. The site allows you to filter for specific graduation years, colleges, divisions and majors, as well as provides a list of which exact positions graduates have entered into.

When things get tough 

Even though you may grimace at the struggles that increase in your life as you grow, these challenges serve as proof that you are adulting. If you find yourself needing extra support during such times, Berkeley Connect’s webpage, titled “When Things Get Tough: Resources,” can provide many different hotlines, services and counseling opportunities to lift you up and keep you going. Counseling and Psychological Services through UC Berkeley also provides self-help tools, wellness workshops and individual or couples counseling that are free and accessible to students regardless of their insurance plans.

No matter what adulting looks like for you, always remember that everyone else is trying to figure it out too! Each of these resources represents both a reminder of the difficulty involved in the process as well as a guide for solutions on your continual journey of adulting. 

Adriana Temprano is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair. Contact her at [email protected].