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Reflecting back on my semester so far

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FEBRUARY 09, 2023

While spring semester began just three weeks ago, so much has happened at UC Berkeley, and my particular experience has been a mixed bag of good and bad. The year didn’t start off on the right foot and has been riddled with misfortune, but there’s also a few things I’m immensely grateful for. So, before the semester zooms by in a blur and I forget the special moments I’ve had, here’s a list of things I’m thankful for thus far.

My professors and GSIs

First, I must mention how incredible my GSIs and professors are this semester. I look forward to my classes no matter what time of the day they are. Being able to hold casual conversations with my GSIs reminds me of high school, when I was much closer to my teachers. Getting to know my educators beyond the classroom is one of my favorite parts of school, and I’m very grateful to be taught by my GSIs this semester.


Although this is not a rare occurrence per se, spontaneous car rides with my floormates always put a smile on my face. These always start off with a group of us hanging out in a room. Then, someone will chime in to the conversation: “I’m hungry. Are any of you guys hungry?” We’re teenagers. Of course we’re hungry. It’s just a rhetorical question at that point.

Last week, my friends and I made a spur of the moment trip to In-N-Out on a weekday night, where we also celebrated our friend’s birthday when the clock struck twelve. There’s just something so magical about spontaneity. The adrenaline, the lack of planning and the thrill of the unknown. Of course we screamed our lungs out on the drive through the tunnel, blasted bass-boosted music and rolled the windows all the way down. It’s not every day you can be a teenager, you know.

Nachos… in the dining hall!

This semester, I’ve been eating in the dining halls more often. That’s how I happened upon Foothill’s nachos one night after my chemistry lab. The line was long, but was thankfully still inside the building. After all, it was already 8:30 p.m. To my surprise, the nachos were not bad! A couple chips were stale, the cheese was tasteless, but overall still pretty good for Cal Dining.

Trader Joe’s

So I know I said I’ve been going to the dining halls more often this semester, but my definition of “more often” is about six meal swipes a week. The rest? Trader Joe’s. I had my first grocery run this semester, where I got a bag of mochi rice nuggets, oat milk, honey and a couple more items. For the rest of the week, I was able to make iced matcha latte, my favorite drink in the whole wide world. I consider that a win.

Berkeley may not always be my happy place, but there are still things to be grateful for. When I look back on my freshman year in the future, I will remember the questionable dining hall food and the even more questionable dorms. But I will also remember the special memories I’ve created with my friends and the inspiring conversations I’ve shared with my instructors. Because if there’s anything that Berkeley has taught me, it’s how to find my own happiness. And that’s a powerful lesson.

Contact Josephine Ng at 


FEBRUARY 09, 2023