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My last first day of undergrad

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AUGUST 25, 2023

It’s almost unbelievable to think that nearly a year ago, I came to UC Berkeley to finish the rest of my undergraduate experience. It never feels like there’s enough time to take all of it in, and sometimes I wonder if I did enough my first year to alleviate the anxiousness I reminisce about. Until it’s officially over, long live these lasting moments that I’m excited to cherish. 

Over the summer, I’ve had the time to create a bucket list and think about my last year of undergrad. I want to win one student store giveaway on Instagram. (I’ve been persistent and I’ve yet to win.) I want to climb up to the Big C again and capture the overhead view of Berkeley — just to feel on top of the world (corny, I know). I want to study in the libraries that aren’t Moffitt or Doe, and maybe I’ll finally land a study space that better suits my comfort. Perhaps I’ll be bold enough to count my blessings one day and step on the seal intentionally. 

I’m feeling happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way — it’s been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to cross that stage to receive the diploma that seals the excitement and hard work I’ve exhausted in the past four years. It’s an achievement I look forward to, but I’ll admit that it can sometimes feel daunting to think about. 

I’ve avoided the pressing question of “What are your plans post-grad?” from friends and family. Truthfully, I don’t know. The pressure and intensity sits in the back of mind, poking my conscience every now and then to figure out what’s next. This is one of the most challenging questions we’ve all faced at one time or another, and I don’t have a concrete answer detailing the next five years — but maybe that’s okay. 

Spontaneity has always been my thing, and it’s not that I don’t love my Google Calendar, but the adrenaline rush from spontaneity is what I’m used to. I’ve almost always figured out my next move in the moment, as the answer usually becomes clearer to me that way. 

In the coming weeks, I’m continuing experiences beyond the lecture hall to figure out my post-grad plans — starting a marketing internship, writing and implementing ideas for The Clog and perhaps finally picking up an LSAT test prep book — but for now, I look forward to making the most fun out of it. 

With the first day of the 2023-24 school year gearing up for its return, I can’t help but feel excited. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to happen the first day, week or even in the month of August — but I’m eager to return to the Bay Area breeze and be fully unprepared to get lost in the (new) memories of another academic year at Cal.  

Contact Deric Lai at 


AUGUST 25, 2023