Off the beat: Pursuing a Cal education

It’s finally here — my senior year. As I waited in line for L&S advising in Evans Hall to triple-check my graduation requirements, I came into a conversation with a freshman girl from Vietnam. “Do you have a green card?“ she asked. The question took me back for a minute
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Don’t be a zooplankton

As the new school year begins, so does the onslaught of freshmen with the complex mixture of emotions so many of us may recall — a mixture of idealistic hope for success-filled college years and agonizing terror of getting lost in the crowd. Just a few years ago, I remember
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Off the beat: That tingly feeling

I’m sitting in a restaurant in Lisbon waiting for lunch. I’m weary from wandering the city with a friend, and a Fado band is playing on the television by the door. In the corner of the screen, I notice a woman translating every lyric into sign language. Her hands move
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Off the beat: Confessions of a humanities major

When I first told my family that I would be double majoring in rhetoric and French, I faced confused and baffled responses. My parents expected me to follow my childhood passion for mathematics while in college, but sometimes, things just don’t work out. Throughout my academic career, I have been
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Off the beat: Finding my way home

Sometimes I am realistic to a fault. That’s not to say I never daydream or that I’m not adventurous, but I never seem to allow myself to make serious plans for the future, to avoid disappointment. Much of what I do is basically a last-minute decision — a combination of
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Off the beat: Figures and self-fulfillment

I have always been enamored of the human body and all that makes us human. It’s the variation in the human experience that intrigues me. It’s the stories we yearn to tell, the values we have fought to keep or learned to let go and the insights we have gained from
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Off the beat: The science of passing a class

That I’ve never outright failed a class must be some kind of minor miracle. However, that statement should be accompanied by a footnote indicating that while I’ve never failed a class, I have indeed received a “no pass” in three. To not pass a class is a gray area of
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Off the beat: Share every second

“The miraculous is everywhere … in our homes, in our minds,” a recent Sprint commercial circling the airwaves begins. The statement is made in a tone of awe by a deep-voiced male narrator while a series of images cut in after each other in rapid succession: hugely magnified blood cells rushing
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Off the beat: Israel, the salad bowl?

I still remember that day in fifth grade like it was yesterday. “America is not a melting pot — it’s a salad bowl,” my teacher told us. “We have lots of different cultures — carrots, cucumbers, lettuce — but they don’t mix.” Ten-year-old me, eyes full of tears, rushed home to
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