Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

31 October 2006

My favorite place at Cal

Have been studying at the university for nearly three years, I have passed the well known landmarks of our university every day. However, I have never checked them out. This semester, I finally got the chance to go up to the top of the Campanile! I had a great time up there and I am highly recommend you all should go and visit before you graduate! The Campanile (“Camp-a-knee-ly”), “bell tower” in Italian, is the most well known building at Berkeley. The tower was completed in 1914 by campus architect John Galen Howard. It is the tallest building on campus soaring 307 feet. The bells ring hourly from 8pm to 10pm. There is music by the University carillonist and other bell ringers at 7:50am, noon, and 6pm everyday, and a longer concert at 2pm every Sunday. The campanile also contains many Paleontology museum’s fossils. If you are a student, faculty or staff, you can go up the Campanile free with you Cal 1 Card, or a small fee ($2) during open hours. (M-F, 10-5pm; Sat 10-5pm; Su 10-1:30pm and 3-5pm) This semester, it was my first time to ascend the tower with my friend. It is very beautiful up there and all the Bay Area is under your feet! I could see students walking on campus underneath while enjoying the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The first ring of the bells was slightly loud, and then you would get used to the following bells. Remember to bring your camera with you! I took a lot of pictures and I wish you will enjoy it, too! Here is a link if you would like to view some of the movies of the tower:

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Posted by Jelyn A. Evangelista at 4:17 | Permalink

31 October 2006

I hart Cal

I love Berkeley. And not just for our great academic programs. There are tons of places on and off campus where I love to hang out, relax, or even study. On campus: The Dwinelle court: It's a little hard to find (go to the bottom floor of Dwinelle and find your way into the maze of the 1000s faculty rooms) but it's very peaceful and a great place to do work. Random benches: Our campus has tons of cute little benches surrounded by trees and shrubbery. Great for us Natural Resources people! Plop yourself down on a bench and do some reading. North and East Reading Rooms: It's quiet and has a grand, university feeling to it, so it'll inspire you to get some serious work done! In Berkeley: College Avenue: I'm a sucker for cute coffee shops and little restaurants. La Mediteranee and Filippo's are great places to have a nice weekend lunch or dinner, and you can do some shopping at Jeremy's while you're there. Botanical Gardens: It's a beautiful place where you can enjoy nature and take a break from studying. Rose Garden: another naturey place where you can enjoy the scenery and let out your romantic side. 99 Ranch (actually in El Cerrito): It's kind of hard to get there (take the 43, or better yet, get someone to drive you), but everything there is so much cheaper than Safeway! It's a good place to get some cheap vegetables and stock up on groceries. Go out and explore our wonderful city and find your own little favorite corners where you can escape from school!

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Posted by Wendy Chen at 2:59 | Permalink

31 October 2006

Mulford Hall is the Best Hall of them All!

My favorite place on campus is Walter Mulford Hall. Through these halls walked forestry students before me. And in these classrooms they did learn. Legendary professors inspired students to shape the world. Now here I am, preparing to shape the world with all of you. I can smell the pastimes as I walk down the exotic wood-paneled hallways. The layers of dust caked upon each stair in the stairways have probably been collecting there since the building's completion in 1948. Why is our beloved home of CNR so neglected? Some interesting facts about your home away from home: Formerly known as "The Forestry Building" from 1948-1956. 70,600 square feet Funded by state appropriation Resource Center formerly the forestry library Named after Walter Mulford, first professor of forestry at Cal (1914-1948), who was the first dean of the School of Forestry (1947-1948).

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Posted by Gina Lopez at 2:42 | Permalink

31 October 2006

Where Do I Like to Chill?

Honestly, my favorite place to be is home. I love being around my family, hanging out with my niece and nephews, spending time with my boyfriend, and just chill-axing at home. But, being at home is very distracting because I find so many other things that I would rather do than study, which I really should be doing instead. So I try to stay on campus or at my uncle's house in Oakland so I can get things done. On campus I like to study at the VLSB library, the Public Health library, or the Physics library. I usually study alone, so it's nice and quiet. If I need to check my email or print stuff out those libraries are good too. Sometimes when I'm hungry and I also need to study I'll go to Lucky Thai House on University or Le Petite Cheval on Bancroft. They both have such good food and nice environments.

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Posted by Gina Lopez at 1:21 | Permalink

30 October 2006

My Favorite Places (mostly for eating)

Since I’ve been at Berkeley, there are a few places I love going to for studying, eating, napping, and relaxing. Here’s the breakdown: Eating around Campus: Indian food: try House of Curry right across the Asian Ghetto on Durant. It’s part of the Beau Sky Hotel, and the food there is a bit more expensive than Naan ‘n Curry but worth it. Chinese food: Little Hunan on Shattuck in between Center and Addison. It’s a great little-known-about restaurant with very reasonable prices and some kick-butt hot and sour soup (yummy for cold Berkeley nights). Japanese food: Kirala at the corner of Shattuck and Ward. Liked by many others too but more on the expensive side and I would suggest reserving for the weekends. Mexican food: the soon-to-be Chipotle on Telegraph right near campus. I usually drive to the one on San Pablo for their chicken burritos (with white rice!).

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Posted by Adrienne Doi at 0:24 | Permalink

27 October 2006

Favorite Places On and Around Cal

Every so often when I walk to class, I look around me and can’t believe I’m actually here. It’s strange because this is my second year, but it’s just a wonderful feeling to be part of this campus with its history and prestige. The beauty of the campus (although some of my friends in UCLA would argue otherwise) is just incredible, from the seemingly everlasting towering redwoods to the London Plane trees at the Campanile that indicate the changing of seasons.

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Posted by Irene Liao at 1:39 | Permalink

27 October 2006

The Inside Scoop on Berkeley Cafes

By now, most of you have had plenty of experience studying, and many see the library as the ideal spot for curling up with that G-chem textbook or Ralph Ellison novel as midterms and paper deadlines approach. However, there are other environments that you can study in, and one of my favorites is the cafe. Not only is food and drink allowed, but you can engage in light conversation with your study buddies. Also, the atmosphere of a coffee shop tends to be less tense than the ultra-quiet Main Stacks. It can serve not only as a study spot, but also a place to meet up with friends or reading a book at leisure. Many people head straight for Strada, on the intersection of College and Bancroft. It has a nice outdoor area, and chances are, you've met up there at least once for a GSI office hour or study group. It tends to get quite crowded however, so here are a few less well known cafes that are quite superb: Espresso Experience: Located on Bancroft directly across from Eschelman, it's a tiny mom and pop shop that can whip up an intense brew of Americano or Espresso. The cafe can get a little crowded during lunchtime, mainly because of their exquisite Korean Bulgogi sandwiches. Yummm, they're awesome, and actually a rare cuisine that you can't find anywhere else in Berkeley. Great for a light lunch. This cafe is closed on Sundays. Brewed Awakening: for Northside residents, this is the place to be. It's located on Euclid, near North Gate, and serves the traditional espresso and lattes that other coffee shops. On weekdays, they serve Aram sandwiches and baked potatoes for lunch, along with fruit salads, spinach pies, and delicious pastries. Many of their patrons are actually locals who live in the Northside suburbs. Quieter than most other cafes, so good for studying. Also has many electrical outlets for laptops. Cafe Milano: convenience is this cafe's greatest asset; it's located right on Bancroft across from Sproul Hall, and right between the new Carvel shop and Bancroft Clothing. With two levels of seating, it's usually not too difficult to find a table. Moreover, pastries, sandwiches, and salads are served throughout the day, so you can have a full meal while studying or chatting with friends. Other options include the International House Cafe, Cafe Zeb at Boalt, Espresso Roma on College and Ashby, and the ubiquitous & crowded FSM cafe. Enjoy the cafe hopping!

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Posted by Alex Lau at 9:08 | Permalink

26 October 2006

Where's Your Favorite Hangout Spot?

I remember when I first got my official tour of the UC Berkeley campus during Cal-So and the campus seemed so huge. It's funny to look back on those days because now that I'm coming up upon my graduation the campus actually seems small. After exploring various parts of the campus and the general campus vicinity, I have come to find my favorite sites to study, hangout, and relax during my down time. Rather than just having one place to study, I have many. Where I have chosen to study has seemed to change each year. Freshman year I liked to study in my dorm room and the common study areas. Sophomore year was my year of intense library studying - 4th floor Moffit, by the windows was my designated spot. Junior year I branched out to various cafes (I suggest finding one that allows customers to use their restroom because after hours of studying and a large coffee/tea to keep you going, having access to a restroom is a must). Lastly, senior year has been a mix of studying at my house, outside, and at cafes - depending on my mood. I think it's important to change up the atmosphere you study in so it's not so monotonous. I like to go places where I'm not confined in a dark room with no natural sunlight, this seems too depressing to me. If you find that the place that you choose to study isn't working for you I urge you to try one of my suggested places. Now, let's get to the good stuff, places I like to go NOT to study. I like to go anywhere with a good view - the top of the fire trails is amazing! In my free time I like to be outdoors; whether it's on campus, in my backyard, or tanning and relaxing at Strawberry Canyon, as long as I'm outdoors and the sun is shinning, I'm happy. Speaking of "good views", one of my favorite places on campus to hangout and kill time in between classes are the Dwinelle benches. Last semester my best friend and I would have our people watching routine every Wednesday during our lunchtime break. We would grab a coffee or Jamba Juice, sit on the Dwinelle benches, chat and do some people watching (lunchtime = prime people watching time!). If you enjoy people watching every now and then, I suggest the Dwinelle benches - it's always a lively area. Although the UC Berkeley campus may seem large at first and it may be hard to find places that best suit you, over time you will find what works best with you. I suggest that you take the time to explore our campus and find new and exciting places. Even though I don't think the campus is quite as large as I first did, there's still many places for me to check out. Just yesterday a fellow PAL told me that the top of Barrows Hall has a fantastic view of the bay on a clear day, this is definitely something I must see. I would love to hear about you're favorite hangout places, so feel free to post a comment on my blog!

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Posted by Jennifer Powers at 1:05 | Permalink

23 October 2006

Getting the midterms back~

How did you do on the midterms? Are you happy with the scores? If so, congratulations! Keep up the good work and maintain the good grades! Remember how your study style matches with the testing style of your professors, so you’ll have an easier time studying for the second midterm! Also, note if the next midterm or final is cumulative. Keep the notes, keep the tests. If you’re not happy with the midterm scores, first ask yourself if you really studied hard enough. Did you try your best but you’re just not getting the score you want? Maybe it’s your studying habit or studying style. Or maybe you didn’t focus on what was considered “important”. Sign up for professor’s or GSI’s office hours and talk to them about how you are preparing for their tests. Ask them what they value as the most important information in their courses and what they expect their students to gain from taking the class. If they say midterms are lecture based, then focus more on lecture material and use textbook as a supplement. If the parts you got wrong on midterms are problems that require you to get the big picture and integrate different concepts, ask professors or GSI’s better ways to memorize, understand, or solve the problems. Do they recommend any helpful study resources (website/books/videos) or can they give out extra problems for you to practice? Also, think about other resources such as the Student Learning Center, study groups, review sessions, residential academic centers, private tutoring, etc. In addition, reflect on your study habits and study environments. Maybe studying with other classmates helps with doing problems. Other people might have a better or faster solution to solving a problem. Teaching other people what you’ve already know will definitely help with your understanding of material. Maybe doing extra textbook problems would help. Maybe you spent too much time doing community services or hanging out with friends that you simply need more time to study. Maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep so you couldn’t concentrate while studying or while taking the midterms. Maybe… What if you think the class is just really really really too hard for you? Since it’s before the 10th week, take it P/NP. Did you miss out its prerequisites or do you just not get it? Talk to your advisors and professors about it. Maybe you aren’t in the right class. Maybe you aren’t in the right major. All in all, the main thing is: NEVER GIVE UP! You still have plenty of time to turn that unhappy score to a happier one. Give yourself a chance. Prove to yourself that you can do it!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 2:56 | Permalink

23 October 2006

Bummed About Midterm Scores?

Getting midterms and papers back can be one of the most relieving or the most disappointing moments of the semester. I know that after working hard to get an assignment turned in or studying all night for a midterm, I immediately want to know how that's going to affect my grade in the class. I've taken some extreme hits in my day as far as bad scores go, though... and I'm here to tell you that there is hope. After getting my first Environmental Science midterm back as a freshman and realizing I hadn't done nearly as well as I had hoped, I panicked. I thought my grade would be reduced for the entire semester based on this terrible midterm score, and could almost see my GPA falling to below AP level. I went and talked to my GSI about it and she consoled me a little by letting me know my options. First, knowing how much each assignment is worth is infinitely helpful because it lets you know which tests you should study weeks in advance for and which ones (if any) can be studied for in a day. It also helps you calculate your grade if you're really worried, and most of the time this information is on the course syllabus, or you can ask your professor. Sometimes a course or professor offers extra credit that can help ease the burden of a bad midterm score. Just meet with them in office hours or check the syllabus to see if this is possible. And sometimes, bad paper or midterm scores really help me focus in on what I need to do for the semester. It lets me know how to change my study habits or analytical skills, and ultimately I end up doing better on later tests. A bad midterm score isn't the end of the world; for my ES10 class I got C's on both midterms and ended up getting an A- in the class. Just make sure that you work hard on the rest of your assignments and you can bounce back from any yucky grades!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 5:19 | Permalink

23 October 2006

Stressed Out?

It's that time of year again... midterms and papers are suddenly all happening at once, and I can feel the tension on campus as students are starting to get more and more stressed about grades and time management. Never fear! There are things you can do to beat stress and have a happy and healthy midterm season, without all the hair-pulling and nail-biting. Of course, the number one thing we students can do to beat stress is STUDY! Sounds a little obvious, but it works, I promise. But if you're like me, you may not be totally 100% prepared in advance for those midterms and exams. I recognize that I can't do it all, but I try to prioritize my workload so I get the important stuff finished on time. Usually I try to keep track of when assignments are due so I can start working on the ones that need to be finished sooner before.. you know... watching more Family Guy episodes or something. Another thing to remember about stress is that it isn't that great for your body. Too much anxiety and stress can affect your diet, sleeping habits, and behavior negatively. I try to stop and smell the roses every once in a while to ensure that I don't go crazy thinking about tests and papers... but within reason. For example, going to the gym for a workout is a great way to relieve stress and get your mind off of school for a while. Spending a little time away from your computer and work can rejuvenate you and re-motivate you into doing your academic best, so take breaks every once in a while! And above all, remember that it won't last forever. You may have to sacrifice a few nights of sleep for that ESPM paper, but as long as you put as much time as you can into current projects, you'll have time later to recover from the stress of midterms. So GOOD LUCK and remember to study hard!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 5:00 | Permalink

17 October 2006

After the Midterm...

By this time, you are probably done with the first round of midterms (or even preparing for the second round, especially for those Chem 1A people – hope you did well!). Some of you may have done extremely well on your midterms (Good Job!) while others, not as well as you thought. It is during those moments that you feel like admitting defeat, wanting to quit college, forgetting about your plans for being a doctor…

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Posted by Irene Liao at 3:29 | Permalink

17 October 2006

Coping with Midterms

So you got your midterms back and they weren’t as great as you thought? Don’t panic—many others are going through the same disappointment as well. I certainly experienced lows throughout the two years I’ve been at Cal. How do you cope? There is no exact answer…but I suggest going over your exam to see what you did wrong. I know you don’t want to even be reminded of your potential low score, but finding out why you got the grade you did—whether it was because you didn’t study the most recent material as much as you should have, or if you misread the question—is very helpful for future midterms and finals.

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Posted by Adrienne Doi at 2:04 | Permalink

17 October 2006

The Midterm Aftertaste

Studying for midterms is difficult, but sometimes, dealing with midterm scores is an even greater challenge. This affects Cal students at every level--even upper division students will get a case of the midterm blues. Staying positive under such situations is easier said than done, but here's a tip from a science major who's had his fair share of unsatisfying midterm scores. Don't: Spend too much time despairing over disappointing scores. A bit of sulking will help relieve some anxiety, but don't overdo it. Many students develop an "it's all over, and I'll never make up for this score" mentality that can really affect performance on future exams. They despair over how most of their floormates did better on an exam, and adopt a resigned attitude that's sometimes the equivalent of giving up. If you feel extremely upset about your first midterms, keep in mind that you still have at least one other midterm and a final exam, both of which make up significant chunks of your grade. Which brings me to my next point... DO: Focus on how you can tackle your future exams. This begins by evaluating current study habits and how one can study more effectively. Are the dorms too distracting? Consider the library, as well as study rooms, cafes, any place where you'd feel comfortable curling up with that textbook. Did you study too much for one midterm and not the other? Look up your next midterm and final dates, plan ahead, and allot sufficient time for all exams. Did you leave too much material to study at the last minute? Work out a study schedule from now until the exam dates. Or is the material simply too difficult to understand? Consider the SLC services, or forming your own study groups. Working with informed classmates can really help you get through assignments and interpreting concepts. See your future exams as a way to prove that you can really tackle your courses. Professors often like to see improvements in test scores, and may give a tip-up (e.g. B- to a B) if test scores rise up. It is very, very common for students to "totally bomb" one midterm, but excel on the others, resulting in a satisfying grade. So go on, look through those first midterms, set them aside, then start prepping for the next ones. You still have more opportunities to shine in your classes. Go and tackle them.

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Posted by Alex Lau at 1:24 | Permalink

17 October 2006

Dealing with Midterms

When midterms come around I'm super stressed out, but after they pass it's such a relief! Once I take it, I try not to think about it anymore because there's nothing I can do about it. I just try to look forward and see what I can do to improve my score on the next one. I know my study habits won't change that much, but I really try to do a little more. If I did really bad on it, I would probably go see my GSI or my instructor to get some tips on how I can be more prepared. I would also try and look into finding some people to study with (if you can study well with others). I try not to stress too much off the first midterm of the semester because there is still room for improvement! Just keep looking towards the next one, and do good on that!!

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Posted by Alex Lau at 3:51 | Permalink

17 October 2006

Midterms got you down?

By now, many of you should have already completed at least one midterm and gotten back the results as well. Hopefully, you're happy with your scores, but if not, don't worry! It's not the end of the world. We all know what it feels like to get back a midterm that we didn't do so well on. And if you're feeling discouraged, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for future exams. First of all, look over your test and see what you did wrong. I know it seems very basic, but sometimes we can neglect to do this out of our repulsion of the exam and the grade we received for it ( I know I tend to have an "out of sight out of mind" view of midterms..). Knowing the kind of mistakes you made can help you understand what you need to study as well as the type of questions that stump you. Then you can focus on how you can better prepare for the next exam and work on your test-taking skills. Also, it doesn't hurt to go to office hours and talk to your GSI and professor. They can show you what you did wrong as well as give you a better idea of what their expectations are. They'll most likely also tell you what you should study more for. And most importantly, don't be too discouraged! There are always more chances to improve your grade and to do better on upcoming midterms. Many classes are curved, and for the most part, you end up doing better than you would expect. Things always even out in the end!

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Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:42 | Permalink

17 October 2006

Getting Your Midterms Back

"How did you do in your midterm?", "......". Are you familiar with this situation? Are you the person not knowing how to answer the question? Or you just want to avoid the question? You are not alone. Nearly everyone have this experience in his life. The first round of the midterms is coming back to you. How do you feel towards it? If you did well, congratulations! If not, how do you cope with it? Evaluate and never give up. Being in a top university is not easy. It does not mean you are not going to success at Cal. In stead, you need to find out what and why you did not do well in the midterm. A reason may be you are not familiar with how the professor tests you the material. May be you were too stressful with work and study at the same time, you did not have enough sleep before the test, or you did not spare enough time preparing for the exam. Do evaluate how you prepared the test and find out the possible factors that affect your performance on your midterms. Never give up and move on to the next step! There are more midterms coming up and try your best to improve your study strategies for the next test. When you revise your study strategies, are there ways you can improve your studying style to become more effective? You need to think about what methods fit your learning style the best. Studying in groups and having discussion are good for some students, but not all of them. You may want to find a quiet place for your own study without any television or friends distracting you. If you have work, or a busy schedule, try to arrange your time best for your studying. Best study time also varies depending on the individual. Some people prefer day time while others prefer night time. If you work and do not have enough time to study, you may want to consider reducing either your work load or study load. At CNR, you can reduce your study load (number of units) if you work for 15 hours a week or more. (Note: starting this semester, Fall 2006, 12 units is the unit requirement for classifying a student as a full time financial aid recipient) Look for resources and help. Besides working on yourself, you may want to utilize more of your GSI, professor’s office hours, your classmates forming study groups. The more you use the material, higher the chance you would understand and remember it. Make the learning fun and interactive through discussions. Good luck in preparing your next midterm, and wish you will feel confident answering the “How did you do?” question!

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Posted by Jelyn A. Evangelista at 2:04 | Permalink

16 October 2006

"how were midterms?"

You've probably heard this phrase numerous times in these past few weeks:) And whether the results from those midterms were satisfactory or not, the good news is that there is always room to improve. I've had my share of good and bad midterm grades and the most important thing that i've garnered is that it's not the end of the world. And there are lots of things to be done after that initial shock and dimay to a grade on the paper. Because as interesting as it may sound, grades are not indelible~ First, you could start with reviewing your exam and learn from the mistakes. This way, you will have a better idea of the professor's style of testing and what type of questions he likes to ask. Because a lot of times, the exam is not a comprehensive assessment of how much you know. Rather, it more accurately reflects how well your test taking strategies are. In order to score better next time, you might think about going to office hours and professors will often give you hints to what they emphasize. So, buckle up your belts and start working hard! Although they may not be a guarantee to an A in the class, you will have at least gained much knowledge from the process. And even if you end up with an undesirable grade at the end of the semester, you could retake it and have it replaced in your overall GPA if it was a D or below. So believe in yourselves and cheer up~

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Posted by Simo Yao at 2:13 | Permalink

16 October 2006

Midterm Blues?

Now that you have been through round one of midterms (why they are called MIDterms, don't ask me) you may be relieved that you are done but also a little worried to get back your grades. If you did well then that is great, but if you did not do quite as well as you would have liked there is no need to panic. We have all been there before and it's important to remember that this is normal. UC Berkeley is a very competitive school and getting straight A's like you may have in high school is very tough. I would first like to say that after being at Cal for a little over three years now I have come to realize that all we students can do is put forth our best effort and hope for the best. However, if you do not do as well as you would like, you have a lot of options. First, if you feel that the test did not measure your capabilities and you know you were well prepared and could have done better it never hurts to talk to your professor or GSI. Explain to them that this test does not represent your abilities and ask for advice about how to do better next time. Sometimes professors are even willing to make an exception to their grading scheme and will allow the remaining tests to count for a larger portion of your grade if you feel you will do better in the future. Second, make sure to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Find where you experienced problems on the test and try to come up with some solutions to do better next time. For example, if you know you don't do well with multiple choice, rather than picking the right answer from the list, come up with your own answer and see which choice best matches your own. After getting a taste of you professor’s testing style, you will have a better understanding of how to properly prepare for you next exam. Third, if you know that your grade on this test will be too hard to recover from and you need to do well in that course, consider changing your grade to pass no pass (if it is before the deadline) and retake it for a grade, or drop the class (once again, prior to the drop deadline) and take it over again either the following semester or even over the summer so you will have more time to dedicate to doing well in the class. Just remember that one poor grade is not the end of the world nor does it mean that you are a poor student - it is only one obstacle in life that you can make the best of and learn from. You have many options and speaking from some experience, it always seems to workout just fine in the end (sometimes professors say classes aren’t curved in the beginning of the semester but end up curving the class after all; however, don’t depend it). Sometimes just talking about a bad test can make you feel better, so if you ever need someone to vent to I am always willing to listen and offer my assistance. Come by my office hours, Thursdays 9:30-11:30 am, if you have any questions or just feel like chatting.

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Posted by Jennifer Powers at 7:47 | Permalink

13 October 2006

Ready for the midterm?

Midterm season~ Midterm stress huh! So I just had my physics 8b midterm this Wednesday and 3 more midterms next week! 3 midterms… how do I handle that? The best way to reduce midterm stress is to study bits and pieces when you don’t have midterms. Don’t pile up studying until 3 days before midterm. Summarizing weekly lecture notes and key concepts in textbook is important! What I usually do during midterm weeks is to have a more regular schedule, which is sleeping, eating, studying, relaxing, and waking up on regular and normal basis. The one thing you don’t want to do is sleeping so little to study that you are totally exhausted on the day of midterm. You need to be healthy to study! Save energy for that big day! Eat well! Sleep well! Also, list out the total amount of chapters, pages, papers, problem sets, and reviews you need to go over, about 2 weeks before the midterm. Plan out your study timeline and really do follow your agenda. Be realistic of course. Listing out all the things you need to do and crossing out items on the list will decrease the freaking out level. After some hardcore studying, be sure to give yourself a little reward, or some break. Break is important but not too much. You need to recharge your energy and motivation before reading another 100 pages. Moreover, alternate studying with 2-3 subjects prevent you from getting too bored with just one topic. Don’t set your goal to be something like > study chem3a from 9am – 9 pm. I mean, it’s doable, but might not be as efficient after the first 5 hours, right? And don’t be antisocial~ the right amount of hanging out with friends is always good! Hopefully I’ve given some helpful tips! It’s Preparing for a midterm is like finishing a 400m run. Keep your pace in the first 300m and save energy for that final 100m and dash your till the finishing line. You want to have a strong and powerful ending. Good luck studying!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 3:53 | Permalink

11 October 2006

Say No to Stress

It's midterm season. That means that on top of all the other things you already have to do, you're also pulling all-nighters studying for Chem 3b and MCB 102. All this stress can really drag you down. But there are some things you can do to minimize the pressure you're feeling. One thing is time management, which was the topic of the last blog. Managing your time well and organizing your tasks can help reduce stress because it gives you a concrete way to tackle your responsibilities one by one. And planning out your work load in advance may prevent you from having to cram for a test or feeling unprepared. Another thing is to do something that helps you to relax. This can include exercising, singing, watching TV, or even screaming into a pillow. It's important to find ways to let out the tension that you're feeling. Personally, I find it helpful to talk to my friends about things. Once I vent and get things off my chest, I feel much more relieved and optimistic. And if none of this works, just take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Things seem bigger and immensely important because they're happening right now. But chances are that a bad grade on an exam is not going to matter in a year or even a month. Harder to do than to say, I know, especially for Cal students. But don't forget to invest in things that you enjoy and that are more meaningful (like friendships! )

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Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:00 | Permalink

10 October 2006

Stress Stinks!

Perhaps one of the most difficult problems students have is stress, especially here at Berkeley. Our lives are seemingly plagued with never-ending midterms, papers, meetings, and readings. But wait! There is a way to handle it. In fact, there are many ways to handle it, depending on which works best for you. When I spoke with my friends about how they manage their stress, their responses ranged from watching TV for an hour (but no more!) to going to the gym. I personally like to take a short nap (20-40 minutes). When I wake up, this leaves me feeling refreshed and reenergized—after all, what use is studying when your brain is swimming with everything you have to do for that week?

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Posted by Adrienne Doi at 9:09 | Permalink

10 October 2006

Stress... How I deal....

Well, everybody has stress. It's unavoidable you just have to deal with it. Am I stressed? Oh YEAH! Currently, I have a lot on my plate. But the best way for me to deal with it, is to vent to my friends and boyfriend about what's going on. I just need to get it out there and hear myself say it out loud. Once that calms me down, I just try to take one thing at a time. If it has to do with school work or getting things done, I try to utilize time management strategies. But when it's just emotional stress, venting about the problem is the best way for me to deal. I not only release all the emotion I'm feeling, but I also am able to get someone else's point of view on the situation. Their POV helps me put the situation into perspective and makes me understand the other side of it. Most importantly... SUPPORT from others is a great way to deal with stress. This way there are others who either know what you are going through or can at least be there for you during this stressful time. HEY... and if you need someone to talk to about your stress... the PALs are here for you!! Come to our office hours or shoot us an email at!!

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Posted by Adrienne Doi at 3:37 | Permalink

10 October 2006

Coping with Stress

The college life at Cal can be super stressful. Probably we all have gone through our first round of midterms this semester. How stressful was it to you? You might have 3 midterms in a week, which two was on the same day! After that week, some of you might catch a cold. Second midterms may be coming in a month. It is important to know how we can cope with the stress from school, family, and your social life. To strike a balance among all of these and having a balanced life style, the following points below may help you in addition to the time management. Having breaks between studying and do not wait until the last minute to study! It is better to plan ahead for studying a bit everyday and not piling up the night before the exam. While you are studying for your class, having breaks would help to relax and memorization. Having a break can also allow your eyes to relax from reading a close distance from the book or your computer screen. Going for a jog or exercise for 30 minutes a day can help you to clear your mind and stretch your muscle. During exercise, you can relieve your negative energy and better manage your emotions. It can also give your brain a rest and reduce your muscle tension from your studying position! Having physical activity for more than 20 minute a day would help increase the secretion of the hormones, Endorphins, which provides an analgesic (pain relieving) effect and promote a sense of euphoria. Playing badminton and going to the gym are the great ways for me to relieve my stress. I find myself to relax more after exercise! Forming study groups and sharing the questions and concerns is a great way to reduce your stress! While studying together, you would not feel like you are the only person having the same questions. Also, you can find each other helpful in explaining the material you are dealing with. It makes studying fun at the same time. I hope these ways would help you to cope with your stress. Start studying regularly and having time for relaxation, and forming your social support can to reduce your stress at Cal!

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Posted by Jelyn A. Evangelista at 3:05 | Permalink

09 October 2006

Feeling Stressed?

People deal with stress differently, some better than others. If you are someone who does not deal with stress very well, don’t worry because it is something that you can work on and improve. I know from first hand experience how hard it is to deal with stress at times, but the important thing to remember is that stress comes and goes. Looking back on all the times you were stressed in the past, just like then, you will get through it again and be stronger for it. Since we can’t completely get rid of stress, especially since we do go to UC Berkeley, we need to learn to manage it. Hopefully after reading this blog, you will learn some new techniques to deal with any stress you experience in your life. The first step in managing your stress is realizing what is causing it. Identifying what causes stress in your life allows you to take some control. Once you identify your stressors start finding ways to decrease the stress that they cause. If midterms stress you out, start studying for them earlier than you normally would. Sometimes just managing your time better will help to reduce stress (see time management blogs). Or if you are having family or relationship problems talk to your loved ones about it. Sometimes just talking to someone who cares and will listen can lift a huge weight of your shoulders. In fact, that’s exactly what we PALs are here for, anytime you need to talk we would love to listen. Besides taking control of what is causing stress in you life it is also important to do things that you know make you happy and less stressed. If you are feeling weighed down with stress, put on a song that you know always pumps you up and lifts your spirits or find another way to get rid of the negative energy caused by stress. If you feel overwhelmed take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that everything will work out, just like it always does. Personally, I like to turn up my iPOD and go for a run to clear my mind. I highly recommend getting outside and releasing some stress by getting some exercise, there’s nothing like endorphins to boost your mood. When it comes down to it, there is no way to eliminate all stress in our lives. If we did that life wouldn’t be as interesting and we would have fewer opportunities to grow and become stronger. Remember that you are not the only one dealing with stress; we all do at one time or another. I know sometimes it may feel that it all comes at once, but once you have overcome the obstacles causing you stress you will feel very accomplished and everything will be great again.

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Posted by Jennifer Powers at 3:55 | Permalink

07 October 2006

Handling and Overcoming Stress

Did you know that stress is the leading cause of aging? Well, I don’t know much about that, but I remember watching the 20/20 on the myths concerning health, and they mentioned that stress, not the sun, ages you faster. Also, stress slows down the time it takes you to heal. Check this site a bit more for that little factoid: '20/20' Busts 10 Body Myths. It’s something to consider whenever you feel stressed.

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Posted by Irene Liao at 0:01 | Permalink

06 October 2006

Dealing With Stress

Now that the first wave of midterms has rolled by, you've all experienced the phenomenon of stress at Cal. This past week has been especially brutal for some, with multiple exams and papers to write. It's times like these where being able to handle stress and pressure are crucial, as it does affect your performance in your classes. Since you've been through this first "exam season," you'll have a better idea of what to expect when midterm #2 comes around. Here are some pointers to keep in mind: Plan ahead. Professors and tutors always tell us to not fall behind on the material. Seems like advice that's easy to follow, but even the most organized students have trouble keeping up. This is partly due to the fact that we simply don't feel an urge to study until the exam date is just a few days away, and as luck would have it, exams tend to be clustered together at around the same time. So look up the dates for your second midterms NOW and figure out how many weeks you have until then. And plan out a reading and study schedule based on the syllabi you have for each class. Keep in mind weekends or days that you'll be participating in activities(e.g. Cal vs. Stanford game or weekend trip to Tahoe) and plan around. You don't have to follow this schedule religiously, but try your best not to fall behind. If you study early, "midterm season" won't seem as bad, as you have already learned much of the material during the semester. Make sure you have fun, but plan accordingly. As you may have heard too many times before, thiis college, and you're supposed to enjoy it. Leave room in your schedule for 'chilling out,' whether that means exercising, hanging out in SF with friends, or hitting up a party. in moderation. Use it to destress after a series of exams and papers, but don't let your desire to have fun consume your life. Be active at Cal, but study as well. While it's definitely essential that you become involved on campus, don't let activities overpower your studying. As any college advisor would tell you, it's better to be actively involved in two or three organizations rather than somewhat involved in five or six. Also keep in mind that activities can take up study time, free time, and energy. Pick and choose activities wisely, and get involved in those that'll you'll love to be in and help you achieve your career goals. Hope some of this twosense helps. Feel free to drop by any of our office hours in 260 Mulford to chat it up.

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Posted by Alex Lau at 9:18 | Permalink

05 October 2006

How to keep your stress level to a minimum?

Hi everyone~I'm sure after the first wave of midterms, you are all quite stressed out and somewhat relieved. Midterm seasons at Berkeley come and go but no one can deny that they can get quite tulmultous. I remember how i used to get so worked up right before a midterm when I was a freshman. And I still get nervous, but from my past three years of exam preparation experience, I now know how to prevent my stress level from exploding and spiralling away. My most sincere piece of advice to everyone is to be diligent and look over your lecture notes EVERY week instead of the day before the midterm. Although it has been emphasized to the point of being hackneyed, preparation is really one of the main components to academic success at Cal. And it is very important to discover what type of studying strategies work for you. For example, I sometimes study better in cafes rather than at the library and I can concentrate better at night. Also, I find that studying with my friends and classmates relieves pressure and gives me a chance to interact and learn from them. But if you ever find yourself stressed from too much studying and in desperate need for an outlet, you could try the RSF..^^..or simply take a long walk on campus. You might even discover how graceful and pretty the campus can be around autumn. Finally, I suggest that within the immediate hours before each midterm, you take a deep breath and have confidance in yourself! Because hard work and tenacity always pays off ~_~ I hope these suggestions will help you in your next round of midterms....good luck!!

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Posted by Simo Yao at 1:45 | Permalink

03 October 2006

Need more time?

Have you ever woke up on a Sunday morning and wished that your freedom Friday was just about to begin? What if you utilize those last 24 hours as 72 hours, would your weekend come back again? Sometimes… Here comes the importance of time management~ I found these tips useful 1. While studying, minimize the amount of online chatting time. Better to turn off your Instant messengers unless you need to discuss online ( Yahoo! MSN. AIM. ICQ. Skype…) 2. If you have an hour break in between class and have nothing to do, chill or study in library. 3. It’s good to have dinner with friends, but on a weekday or midterm season, limit down the eating time. 4. Keep track of your daily cell phone minutes. Talk less. Think about what you are going to do more. 5. Keep a planer! List out everything you want to do! 6. Reward yourself with some “fun time” after serious studying. However, limit the relaxing time and always count in the time you need to drag yourself back to the state of concentrating again. 7. Study with a friend is always good. But don’t talk too much. I recommend going over your notes after class even you think you got everything in lecture. Most of the time, I study in library without my laptop so I don’t chat online. I carry around a planer, in which I list out everything I plan to do, and I cross each item out as I finish them. Listing out a schedule is always good, however, you must be realistic. Think about the time you have in a day and the most important item on your list!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 4:26 | Permalink

02 October 2006

Time Management, or: How I Learned to Stop Facebooking and Get My Stuff Done.

Time management is one of the most important things you can master in college. I remember my first year here was a whirlwind of activities, of which class was a lower priority. There were people to meet, trips to San Francisco to take, concerts to go to, parties to attend, clubs to get involved with... and I couldn't seem to juggle my academic and social life. But I've learned a couple of tricks here at Berkeley that have gotten me by and although I still have trouble with procrastination, I've definitely improved on my methods over the past two years... 1. PRIORITIZE -- the oldest trick in the book, but I swear it works. Figure out which assignments are most important and which ones will take longer to complete. Tell yourself you'll go out to that party with your friends... but only after you get your chem reading done. 2. GET OUT -- your dorm room, living room, bedroom, bathroom, etc. may not ever be totally conducive to studying. I always get distracted by my computer, my phone, or basically anything in my apartment that could possibly prevent me at all from having to read another chapter of my biology book. I find that going to the library for a couple of hours a week will help you get your work done faster, with no distractions. You can even go in between classes instead of going back home. 3. GET A PLANNER -- when I first moved into Unit 1 and they gave me a free planner, I gave it away. I thought I would never need that dorky thing... wrong. Having a planner gives you a visual of when projects are due and when you have upcoming events. That way you won't forget about any event you have coming up. 4. GET OFF OF FACEBOOK -- i know... gasp! I cancelled my facebook for a couple of months during midterms and finals and it was great. That thing sucks your life away and is not that important in the grand scheme of things. Try to balance the time you spend on the internet with getting other stuff done and you'll be a pro time manager in no time. 5. TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS -- if at all possible, do something right when it is assigned. This way you won't put a lot of your assignments or responsibilities off until the last minute and you'll avoid situations like having to study for three midterms at the same time because you procrastinated all semester ;) 6. HAVE FUN -- your schedule should be a healthy mix of social and academic activities. Join a club, head to the gym, or plan a weekend trip so that you aren't overwhelmed by academic pressures. It can relieve a lot of stress and help you be more focused when it comes to school.

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Posted by Amy Lin at 6:31 | Permalink

02 October 2006

My life outside of PAL...

It may be hard to believe that being a flawlessly radical peer advisor isn't my only extracurricular activity, but while PAL has become a very rewarding part of this semester for me, my time outside of class is consumed with many more activities that have really enriched my time here and helped me educate myself beyond the classroom setting. My absolute favorite extracurricular, and the one that takes up most of my time, is being the co-director of the ASUC Sustainability Team. The purpose of STeam (as we affectionately call it) is to implement projects that make the Berkeley campus and community a greener and more environmentally friendly place. Our current projects this semester range from starting an organic farmer's market on campus to converting the campus fleet to biodiesel, and from hosting a climate change fair and raising awareness about global warming to creating ASUC legislation to prevent excess flyering and paper waste on campus. We are an environmentally-minded and extremely motivated team and we get a lot of projects done on campus! For more information, you can check out our website at Another club I'm involved with here at Cal is the Cal Hiking and Outdoor Society (CHAOS). I love getting out to camp, backpack, hike, swim, paddle, or basically anything that involves the outdoors, and CHAOS is a really great organization to help me do just that. Some of the advantages are access to a fully-stocked gear library, club hiking and snowboarding trips, and meeting 50 new people who all love getting outside as much as I do! I also love to write, and work with the Cal Literary Arts Magazine (CLAM) and the Berkeley Poetry Review to publish my poems and help them edit their yearly publications. As I mentioned in my last blog, I was also a CalSO (Cal Student Orientation) Counselor this summer, and I still work for them to help recruit new counselors to the CalSO Team. CalSO was a really great opportunity for me to get involved outside of classes, meet a lot of really great people, and make connections with college and campus officials. It still remains one of the most intense and rewarding jobs I think I've ever had, and the most fun 8 weeks I've had in a while. I also work at the Newspapers and Microforms Library in 40 Doe of the Main Stacks. Gotta make some money to pay my rent somehow, right? I work about 11 hours a week on top of my other school activities, but it's a great chance for me to listen to my iPod while shelving microfiche and processing periodicals... When I'm not busy with the rest of this stuff (which doesn't leave too much leftover time..) I like backpacking, hiking, spending time with friends, reading, listening to music, going to yoga classes, painting, and SLEEPING! I'm pretty sure I love that last one most of all... it's the one I do the least ;)

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Posted by Amy Lin at 6:04 | Permalink

02 October 2006

Why Become a PAL?

I first learned about the PAL program while working this summer as a CalSO counselor. Through my experience with advising new students in CalSO, I really acquired some great knowledge and skills about schedule, college, and basic major advising in CNR, and loved helping incoming students by sharing my experiences with them. I decided to become a PAL after CalSO to continue being a help to students in the best college on campus, and to be able to share my experiences with them past summer orientation programs. I have had such a positive experience in the College of Natural Resources and my major of CRS that I'd like to be here to make sure everyone else has an awesome experience too!

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Posted by Amy Lin at 5:58 | Permalink



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