30 April 2008

need assistance?

In order to ensure that a class you want to take this summer at a community college or any school other than Berkeley, checking assist.org is the fastest and safest way to do so. Assist.org will give you the classes in Berkeley and what their equivalence are at other colleges in which Berkeley has made agreements with. So, if you take a certain class (like english R1A for instance) at a community college, all you have to do is transfer your transcript at the end of the summer and the register office will automatically match that class to the Berkeley's r1A and give you the credit for it. This is a great option if you want to go home for the summer or just take an easier load to take care of some general classes. Even if you don't see a class you want to take on assist.org that matches anything in Berkeley, you can take the description of the class and talk to your councilor to get it approved. For instance, the community college in my hometown offers a physics class for science/non-engineering students that was not on assit, I showed the class to my major advisor and he put a note on my transcript approving the class so now I will be taking my physics class in Sacramento as I do medical research at Kaiser. If you have any questions about the process, let me know and I'll be glad to help.

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Posted by Rola Abduljabar Rabah at 3:22 | Permalink

28 April 2008

super smash brothers!

Well, I don't know about all you readers out there, but I can say that ever since my arrival here at UC Berkeley, I've spent more time playing super smash brothers than I have in the rest of my life combined. If you play smash, you might understand these next few paragraphs, but if you don't then you probably wont get a lot of the terminology I'm going to throw at you. Anyway, here's my take on the subject: It started out last September, when my RA invited me and a few floormates over to his room for a good ol' game of classic smash on his old-school n64. I used to play every once in a while back home, so I figured "oh hey, this sounds like fun. I can try to play Kirby again!" So i grabbed a controller, sat myself down on his couch with a few friends, and played my first collegiate game of smash. Little did I know that within only a few weeks, the game would take over an unprecedented amount of time in my waking hours. After that first game of smash, I began to play whenever I was bored in the dorms. I was terrible at first, but as I kept playing, I kept improving, and as I improved, I became determined to play more. Before I knew it, i was playing smash three times a day; it even took priority over my schoolwork at times! And to make matters worse, my roommate decided to bring over her gamecube, and with a game counsel in our hands, all our studious endeavors were lost.

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Posted by Angela Hsu at 2:51 | Permalink

28 April 2008


If I were you, I'd get me some Sockbaby. It's a trilogy of short films made by some Modesto community college students. These have everything you've ever wanted in a quality film experience: a 1960's kungfu guy imbued with the power of James Brown, a sock-puppet messiah, some fedora wearing aliens and a cyborg named "Burger." It will change your life... perhaps not meaningfully or for the better, but still.

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Posted by Eric Thurston at 4:46 | Permalink

26 April 2008


Don't worry. You're not alone. Even though the second wave of midterms is over, finals are looming just around the corner. Just perfect. On top of that, everyone probably has a paper due sometime in the next few weeks. I have a paper due in about a week. Whenever I write papers, I always feel like I'm trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle. First, I write random paragraphs, or parts of paragraphs, to just get down all my ideas. Then I have to fit all the pieces together and smooth it all out. Papers take such a long time for me to write. I've always been envious of those people who can crank out an A paper the night before it's due. No wonder I'm a science major. Besides the paper, I keep getting this feeling that I really should start studying for my Chemistry 3A final. Chemistry 3A is the first part of Organic Chemistry. A few days ago, I read over the notes I took since the last midterm and my head literally hurt after an hour.

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 8:35 | Permalink

26 April 2008


CNR is a great college to be in. The advisors are very supportive, have great answers and resources to any questions that you have, especially during telebears time! Most of my friends who are in Letters and Science are clueless when it comes to scheduling- what classes, which classes are needed to fullfill their major, and such. I mean, ratemyprofessor.com can only help a little in terms of which professors to choose, but it all comes down to what classes you actually need. For instance, since I am a NS/ intended Motox major, I need to take Bio 1A. Most of peers say that Bio 1B is the easier bio so taking that first would be better. However, after going to talk with my advisor, I realized that I can't do that. For Motox and NS majors, in order to take one of the upper div class for spring 2009, Bio 1A is a prerequisite. So, if I had taken Bio 1B for the fall, I would not have been able to be on track towards my major. I am also taking MCB 32. It usually comes with the lab part, but due to the budget cut, there isn't one. One alternative is to take an upper div lab, or just take an upper div physiology class later. However, CNR may waive that requirement later on if MCB 32L is still not available. MAY! Anyway, when you are scheduling, make sure to balance out science classes and other varieties of subjects- english, ac class, social science class,etc. Otherwise, you will definitly feel very stressed during the semester, especially if you are going to have 5 hours of lab for every science class you take.

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Posted by Casey Wang at 3:10 | Permalink

25 April 2008

Temptations, temptations... part 2

Chapter 2: Control, or Get Controlled As I mentioned in Chapter 1, I was controlled by video games. That was two years ago. Now is time to strike back.

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Posted by John Cortez at 1:43 | Permalink

25 April 2008

Temptations, temptations... part 1

Chapter 1 : Video Game Addiction Midterms were over last week (at least for me), about time I caught up with all my readings (10 minutes ago, finally), and now I'm deciding what to do. It feels great that I have more time again, but I'm sure this won't last long; my final paper in College Writing R4B is due in three weeks and finals are up that same week. Again, like always, I'm facing against the temptation to slack off and not do my homework in advance.

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Posted by John Cortez at 8:34 | Permalink

25 April 2008

Being a Transfer Student and Research

Here's my experience with doing research at Cal as a transfer student. I applied to SPUR to find a faculty project. I got the position but I definitely felt at a disadvantage while being interviewed. The first question: What research projects have you worked on at Cal? I'm thinking, well I've only been here for 4 months and they expect me to have a vast list of skills? Yes they do, fortunate for me I had experience doing a research class at DVC (the jc I went to). The next question: Could we get an email address to ask for a letter of recommendation? I'm thinking, in four months I'm expected to be buddy buddy enough with a professor to be asking him/her to take out of their busy schedule to write me a letter or rec? Yes they do. Fortunately for me again, I spent a lot of time in one of my professor’s office hours. The bottom line: If you're going to do research when you get to Berkeley you better spend that first semester doing all you can to boost your resume. Some things you can do: volunteer in a professor’s research and get to know at least one of your professors so you can ask them for a letter of recommendation.

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Posted by Marissa Ponder at 1:16 | Permalink

24 April 2008

Berkeley Parkour Club

So yesterday I took my first parkour lesson. For those of you who don't know, parkour is a French sport which combines running and gymnastics in urban environments. The underlying idea is that our bodies can do much more than just walk around on a horozontal plane as we do everyday. Instead those who practice parkour, called "traceurs" try to find the most efficent way to interact with their physical environments. This video shows David Belle - the founder of the sport - performing some really advanced and showy parkour for a BBC commercial:

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Posted by Eric Thurston at 5:55 | Permalink

24 April 2008

Theo Jansen's Biomechanical Sculptures

So there's this guy in the Netherlands named Theo Jansen. He's a kinetic sculptor which means that he builds huge moving pieces of art. His sculptures are strange mechanical interpretations of the biological world. Watch this video to see an example of his work in action:

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Posted by Eric Thurston at 5:32 | Permalink

24 April 2008

Ice Cream Day

So today was the ESPM Ice Cream Social. I was planning on making an announcement here sooner, but I totally blanked on it yesterday. Sorry about that. For today, the ESPM department was giving away free cones of Ben & Jerry's ice cream to anyone who stopped by outside of Mulford. Some of the professors were scooping cones for people; it was pretty cool get a cone from Keith Gilless, acting dean of CNR. I wasn't able to stay for too long (I had to go to class), but just getting the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather and talk with some friends was great. The Strawberry Kiwi sorbet was pretty good, too. This event reminds me of why the ESPM department is pretty cool (and CNR as a whole). Yeah, CNR is a pretty chill place to be.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 5:02 | Permalink

24 April 2008

to every college student shaking their head

To every hard-working college student shaking their head in the wee hours of the night, rock on. Rock on :) To every college college student procrastinating while shaking their head in the wee hours of the night, get busy :) I everyone who slept tonight: I envy you. www.pandora.com -- Free internet radio from the Music Genome Project.

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Posted by Tay Feder at 2:06 | Permalink

23 April 2008

some tips for incoming freshies :)

It's nearing the end of April, which means for me, it's almost time to sign up for classes via telebears -.- It's a pain in the butt for a lot of people, especially those who have no idea what to sign up for when that vital 24 hour period comes around- the one they call "phase 1." I remember people telling me "don't worry about what classes you take your first year. it doesn't really matter as long as you get your prerequisites them done eventually." And to those people, i say BOLOGNA!! Of course there's some breathe room to take some "just for fun" classes, but I recommend by all means to figure out some sort of plan to figure out when to take your prerequisites. I'm an undeclared student, and for the last 2 telebears appointments I've had (fall 07 and spring 08), I've ripped out a lot of hair when the stressful time comes around to choose what classes to take. After a (almost) a full year here at berkeley, I highly recommend you to check out your college advising center.

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Posted by Angela Hsu at 8:39 | Permalink

22 April 2008

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Tom and I visited the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park last weekend, and we had a great time! Admission is only $3 with your student ID. Definitely worth a trip out - to take a break from studies. They currently have a special children-friendly display on butterflies, called "The Butterfly Zone" As always, you'll see... breathtaking orchids: Spunky bromeliads: Enchanting Gingers & Heliconia: And even the understated beauty of Penjing landscapes: *Tom took all of the photographs in this entry.

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Posted by Christina at 7:06 | Permalink

22 April 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Hey folks! Happy Earth Day! National Arbor Day is this Friday - so get ready to hug some trees.

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Posted by Christina at 7:01 | Permalink

22 April 2008

Fun ways to de-stress

You ever feel like there just isn't enough time to just sit down and relax, especially when finals are coming up so soon? On top of that, you are apartment hunting for next semester, which isn't easy, trying to still keep in contact with your friends, trying to go to lecture and STAY AWAKE when you've had 4 hours of sleep, and other random unneeded friend drama that always seems to pop up in the most untimely fashion? yes. Well, I figured out my way of de-stressing! obvious, one is writing in this blog, but other ways, little ways that help me, since I have 3 more years to go, are : chewing gum( to keep awake), go to the library( you can concentrate more), eating at least 2 meals a day( so you aren't' preoccupied with hunger when you are supposed to be studying), and dinner appointments with friends from time to time, study groups( help each other and maintain a balanced social life), walking around Berkeley at 7 am( quite peaceful), going to the Big C or botanical gardens. Other than that, i'm doing fine. Feel free to reply back or share your methods of de-stressing in Cal!

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Posted by Casey Wang at 6:18 | Permalink

20 April 2008

Apartment Hunting

Everyone's starting to look for apartments and it's getting really competitive. My potential roommates and I walked all over Berkeley today to look at apartments. We did that last weekend, too. Advice Check out Craigslist for Apartment showings! The website lists the number of bedrooms, rent, and other features included with the apartment. Even if it looks good on the website, you really need to go see the apartment itself. My friends and I saw this one on craigslist and it seemed pretty good...

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 2:15 | Permalink

17 April 2008

Warnings before Studying Abroad as a Science Major

As well as you try to prepare, you can never be prepared enough. I like to think that I'm a pretty well prepared person. Before I went abroad, I tried ensure my own graduation safety. I made sure that I finished my freshman to junior courses all in my first two years. That way, when I went abroad, I wouldn't have to worry about getting credits for my major. I thought that that kind of preparation would be a worst case scenario. Thank goodness I did though, because that was just what happened. I was unable to take a single course towards my major. One of the issues upon returning from abroad is unit conversion. As you know, eight of the UCs are on a quarter system. Thus, the Educational Abroad System uses a quarter unit system. These quarter units are converted to semester units for Berkeley (and I suppose Merced). If the school abroad you are at is a quarter system, then you mostly don't have any complaints. The issue comes in when the school abroad is a semester system. Instead of direct semester to semester transfer, it is from semester to quarter to semester units transfer. For example. I'm taking a 2 unit Organic Chemistry I class here. This becomes 2.5 quarter UC units. This will finally become a 1.6 semester Berkeley units. That missing 0.4 units is a painful thing and can often mean the difference between a course being accepted as equivalent and not. Another issue is the course schedule. Before coming, I had planned on taking a dozen or so courses in international studies, humanities, and Japanese. Yet, all Japanese courses are 2nd and 3rd period every day of the week. Most of the classes I was interested in fell into 2nd and 3rd period. Unlike Berkeley where one may sign up for time conflict classes, you may not do so at ICU, nor is there any way to override the system. Thus, while I enjoy studying abroad, don't expect to get any major or requirements done while abroad. The only thing you may be able to get fulfilled are your breadths, and you may not even be able to do that unless you have advanced level Japanese. If you have beginner to low intermediate level language skills, the course and scheduling restrictions will keep you from doing so. But note, I would still study abroad again if I had to do it all over. The experiences you gain here are worth more than the difficulty in getting credits.

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Posted by K. Lee at 2:45 | Permalink

16 April 2008

Masai run London Marathon

What interesting news! I just had to share. A group of 6 Masai warriors ran the London marathon earlier this week, to raise money for a new well for their village. They ran the marathon in traditional attire, chanting, dancing, and walking all the way - and they raised nearly $120,000! You can read a blog from this group's leader here: http://sport.guardian.co.uk/athletics/story/0,,2273114,00.html Here's a link to a CNN article about the warriors and their cause: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/10/maasi.marathon/index.html#cnnSTCText Here's a fun little article about it from the London Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/02/nmasai102.xml The Masai warriors' guide to England By Andrew Pierce Last Updated: 1:47am BST 03/04/2008 Six Masai warriors, who are so fierce they kill male lions with their bare hands, have been warned that surviving the perils of the African bush will be child's play compared to what they can expect on their first trip to England. The warriors, who are leaving their remote Tanzanian village to run in the London Marathon, have been given a detailed four-page guide on how to contend with the most curmudgeonly species they may ever encounter: the English office worker. The visiting Masai will run the London marathon to raise money for water supplies back home "You may be surprised by the number of people that there are and they all seem to be rushing around everywhere," the guide says. "Even though some may look like they have a frown on their face, they are very friendly people - many of them just work in offices, jobs they don't enjoy, and so they do not smile as much as they should." The warriors, who are leaving their village of Eluai in northern Tanzania for the first time, will run the 26.2-mile course in their traditional red robes, complete with shields and sticks, to raise money for life-saving water supplies back home.

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Posted by Christina at 6:48 | Permalink

16 April 2008

Textbook Pain

We all know that we get ripped off on our textbooks. Looking at that lovely organic chemistry textbook of Vollhardt's that costs $163.95 on Amazon is painful. Salt is just poured on the wound when I realize that I can get the same book new on Japan Amazon for $100. What's with this difference? (Not that we use Vollhardt's book here at International Christian University. We use Solomons where there is a $100 price gap.) It's the exact same book being published in the exact same location. It's not even an "international edition" that is marked "not for sale in North America." Science and education subject books are cheaper in Japan. On the other hand, literature, law, and history books seem to be more expensive in Japan. What's with this disparity? Hum....

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Posted by K. Lee at 6:02 | Permalink

14 April 2008

Berkeley Weather

2 days of sunshine turned on its head and now the fog has rolled through town. Clouds rule the sky and the air is cool. Some may be thrilled. I hold out hope to see the sun by noon.

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Posted by Christina at 8:31 | Permalink

12 April 2008

Dealing with Berkeley's Academic Reputation

"Berkeley's reputation as a hard school really intimidates me, so I'm not entirely sure I'm enrolling yet." -Kim, high school senior Actually during Senior Weekend I was talking to a student and she told me something similar. I faced this problem too when I was admitted to Berkeley. I imagined myself going to class with 4.0GPA, perfect SAT scores, and super bright students that I'm going to get C's and D's. But after my first semester, I realized that was not the case. There's actually more than just being bright to survive Berkeley.

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Posted by John Cortez at 9:59 | Permalink

08 April 2008

Graduate School Decision

I'm going to Miami University! It's a little school in Ohio, with a well-established, thriving Botany department. Fall 2008, I'll start on my Master's degree. I'll be working with Dr. John Kiss. Check out my previous entries for more information on Dr. Kiss and rest of the faculty I was able to meet in January.

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Posted by Christina at 6:54 | Permalink

06 April 2008

Apartments 101

Here's what I learned when it comes to scrounging around for apartments in Berkeley- rumors and facts!!!: 1. begin 4 to 6 weeks in advance of your target move date. 2. if you rent a place in may or early june and then sublet it over the summer, be wary of the following: a) you need your landlord's permission to sublet b) if you don't find a subtenant, you might be stuck paying rent over the whole summer 3. if you are planning to live in berkeley during the summer, begin housing search in early mid-april wiht targeted moving day in late may or june. 4. try going on Craig's list or cal rentals to look for apartments 5. when looking at apartment, bring: roomates, safety issues, resume, transcripts, camera ( all explained below). a) bring resume and transcripts since it will be very competitive when trying to get apartment from other people too. You want to look convincing, responsible, persuasive. b) questions to ask: when to pay security deposit? utilities? sublet possible? How many people allowed? lease? payments? neighborhood? transportation- is there a bus stop nearby, etc? c) bring a camera so when you get to the apartment, take pics of all furnishings before move in to check condition. This prevents difficulties when moving out of apartment and having potential extra charges...... d) meet the landlord to see what kind of person he/she is- nice, roud, etc. e) if decide to get apartment, quickly sign lease to avoid missing your target. hope this helps because I know as a freshman, apartment hunting can be a huge, unecessary headache !!!

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Posted by Casey Wang at 2:07 | Permalink

05 April 2008

Spring Break

Can you believe that this will be the only break we have until the end of the semester!!?? It's ridiculous. Now, we have 5 more weeks until finals.... time sure does fly. Spring break was fun- I went to San Francisco and it was actually WARM! My friends and I went to City Light Bookstore and it was really cool because we got to read books written by the owner of the bookstore! I never knew I would love poetry so much until I went here. Then, I went to Pier 39 and walked around looking at all the shops there. Oh my gosh!!! There was this cute musical box store that had hand made italian made music boxes that were so lavish and intricate and beautiful!! but everything in it was like 800 to 1000 dollars!!!! It was mental anguish i tell you...:(

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Posted by Casey Wang at 1:47 | Permalink

04 April 2008

Schedule Planning

I went to talk to the MEB advisor this afternoon since I really need some advice on planning for my upper division curriculum. I guess some students would probably roll their eyes and like: “it is just continuing in a bunch of science classes as the introductory ones we have been taking.” But trust me, the upper division requirements are quite different! In lower division, you would take Chem 1A, Chem 3A/3AL and Chem 3B/3BL to fulfill the chemistry requirement. For the biology requirement, it is Bio 1A/1AL and Bio 1B. For the physics requirement, it is Physics 8A and Physics 8B… You know all those mandatory, huge and competitive courses… However, you have a variety of courses to choose from for the upper division requirements. For example, I am majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology, and there is the Upper Division Biology Requirement where I am going to take a course from each of the seven categories. In addition, I would have to choose an area of concentration and take another 12 units from a list of approved course.

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Posted by Yang Cao at 1:41 | Permalink

02 April 2008

april fools!

i know it's a day late, but i was reading online some april fools jokes that made me laugh. so, i decided to share them with you :). it's amazing how clever people can be, and wow you'd be surprised of how big-scale some of the pranks are...check out the website: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/ Here are a few of my favorites: #1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest spaghetti harvest In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best." #4: The Taco Liberty Bell Taco Liberty BellIn 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the 'Biblical value' of 3.0. Before long the article had made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly made its way around the world, forwarded by people in their email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by a physicist named Mark Boslough.

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Posted by Angela Hsu at 0:12 | Permalink

02 April 2008

John's Guide to Choosing a College!

So most college admission decisions are out already! Having problems deciding where to go for the next 4 years of your college life? or 5... or 6... but let's not hope for that :) . If you want to learn more of how I dealt with this same problem, the first part my story is found on my first blog "Introduction". Now I am going through some things you may want to consider before deciding for a school.

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Posted by John Cortez at 0:06 | Permalink

01 April 2008

The GSI myth

When considering where I wanted to go one of the things people told me about Cal, was that professors rarely teach, most classes are taught by grad students. This in my experience is not true. I've had a GSI (grad student instructor), give a lecture once sometimes twice a semester but it usually was planned for a professors absence. I know many high school students are deciding about which college to go to. Don't let silly rumors about different colleges shape your decision, I'm glad I didn't. I highly recommend taking a tour of campus and asking the tour guides about them, they'll have a better idea of what classes are really like instead of your high school counselor. Here is the link for information on free tours of Berkeley so you can come check it out for yourself. http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/free_tours.html

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Posted by Marissa Ponder at 5:57 | Permalink