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

17 March 2008

After Graduation...

I'm in my third year now in Environmental Sciences. And what do I want to do with my B.S. once I graduate? Become a librarian. Yes, I know it sounds completely random and unrelated, but that's my master plan. Right now I'm preparing for all those crazy grad school applications that I'll be sending in next fall. (Yes, librarians actually have to have a Master's degree in Library Science!) So how did I come to this decision? I started to realize my sophomore year that I didn't want to pursue a career in Environmental Science. Not to say that I don't enjoy my major. I do. But I began to see that I just wasn't cut out for a science-related or even policy-related career. It's just not me. My strengths and interest don't really correspond to what I'm studying, and this was obvious whenever I got my grades back. I did the worse in my major's core courses and my best grades were in humanities classes. I knew that I enjoyed working with people, especially children, and I hoped that I would be able to incorporate that into my career. But I also knew that I wasn't cut out to be a teacher from a lot of previous teaching experience. I began thinking about what kind of skills I have and what kind of jobs would complement my natural interests. I've thought about becoming a librarian dozens of times growing up but for some strange reason, I never took it seriously. But it popped back into my mind as I was contemplating all this. So I began to do some research and I also talked to a lot of family and friends. It's crazy because everyone I shared with gave me a lot of affirmation and encouragement about pursuing it! I especially wanted to focus on children's and youth services as a librarian because of my passion for kids, and I decided that minoring in education would be a helpful and practical step. And that basically brings me to where I am right now. I'm almost done with my education minor and I love it. And now I'm in the process of preparing to apply for grad school. If there's anything you can get out of my strange journey I hope it's the comfort and reassurance that you don't always have to know what you want to do in the near future. And it's okay to change majors or even pursue a major that may not necessarily be related to your future career. You should enjoy what you're studying. But also seek after what you really love (whether it's major-related or not) and what brings out your best :)

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Posted by Wendy Chen at 8:03 | Permalink

17 March 2008

How I picked my future career....

Wow, this is my last semester here; time has flown by so quickly! As I look forward to finishing my undergrad time at Cal, I also can’t wait to start my new plans after I graduate. First thing on my to-do list: SLEEP!!!! (Yes, this merits four exclamation marks.) I’m actually going to take a year off before heading to optometry school in order to enjoy what precious time I have before another four years of school. So how did I decide upon optometry school? That’s a great question….my story goes like this: As a freshman, I needed a few more units to add to my schedule so I decided to take a vision science freshman seminar (Vis. Sci. 24). We would just sit with the professor and dispel eye/vision myths that we all thought were true. Like, sitting too close to the TV, lasik = perfect vision, etc. –very casual and fun. This sparked my interest in vision and eyes. Then, a series of events took place that sealed my interest tight. My mother was bordering on being diagnosed with glaucoma, but by working with her optometrist, she was able to prevent the disease. I started thinking to myself, “Wow, this person was able to catch certain signs that prevented my mother from potentially losing her vision—that’s pretty amazing.” I hadn’t thought about my vision and how precious I value it until someone I knew could have had it taken away. Then, I started going to some Foresight (pre-optometry club on campus) meetings and different representatives would come and try to “sell” their campus to us. After researching optometry as an occupation, I started to understand how valuable optometry is to a community and how interesting their job is. Then, I started shadowing/interning at an optometry office. This was the best-I learned (and still learning) what it takes to be a great optometrist, and how rewarding it is to run an office. Now, I’m actually working at that office and having a blast. I look forward to work every week, and have a blast when I get there. Next year, I will be studying for the OATs (optometry admission test) and applying to different optometry schools throughout the nation, and hopefully get into a normal sleeping cycle! Is optometry for you? Want more info? Come share your career plans with us during the PAL office hours! I would love to hear about your future plans!

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Posted by Julie Ching at 5:49 | Permalink

16 March 2008

Activities, Student Groups...So Many to Choose From!

When I first came to Berkeley, there seemed to be soooo many options. Welcome Week was overwhelming, especially with Calapalooza and all the student groups that seemed like they would be so much fun to join. I was over-ambitious, and I soon realized that I would never be going to a different meeting each night of the week. But after a while, I found what suited me best and kept with that. Recently, I've been trying to attempt new things and join new student groups, and I hope that they will continue in with my normal weekly schedule.

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Posted by Jena Riggert at 9:36 | Permalink

16 March 2008

Events, Seminars, Performances Galore

With your busy schedule, who has time to go attend events, performances, or lectures? Well, first of all, these events are usually a once in a lifetime event. I mean, when are you ever going to be able to see Richard Dawkins? Or be able to watch a ballet for 50% of the ticket price? Take advantage of these events that come to Berkeley! Take a break, have fun, and be amazed (or disappointed). Either way, these events will enrich your life. One of the best resources for events coming up is the events page on the Berkeley website. They have a pretty good listing of everything happening at Cal from lectures to exhibits and performances. Sometimes, you have to find out by ear or e-mail. Just last week, I listened to Michael Pollan talk about his most recent book, In Defense of Food, which was a very good and interesting talk just about food in general. Later that week, listened to Richard Dawkins talk about his new book The God Delusion, which was quite enlightening given that I never heard of him before, given that I research the evolutionary relationships of plants. As for seminars, I encourage any student who is really interested in a particular topic and has time in his/her class schedule to attend seminars. Some of these are actual class seminars that you can sign up for units, but there are other ones that usually happen once every week at a certain time. Here are some websites that might interest you. I actually try to attend Botany Lunches every week, and if given the chance, the IB ones. Most of them are quite interesting, even if you don't understand what they are talking about. Listing of Biology Seminars Microbial Biology Seminars PMB Seminars Listing of Environmental Seminars ESPM Colloquium Seminars Wildlife & Conservation Biology Seminars

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Posted by Irene Liao at 2:48 | Permalink

15 March 2008

What to do in Berkeley?

There are so many events and things to do around Berkeley, that I could be writing pages and pages before I am finished writing about everything there is to do. Instead, I will just point you in the right direction by giving you websites or other information so that you can find what is suitable to your own interests. The events around Berkeley range from art shows, to concerts, to comedy shows, to movie screenings, and much more.

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Posted by Samantha Bell at 3:28 | Permalink

14 March 2008

Deciding what to do...

...after I graduate. Deciding on postgraduate plans is a continuous process. For me, my plans evolved throughout pretty much all four of my undergrad years. It went something like this: First I entered Cal as a freshman BioE major. I had done some research in high school, loved it, and thought for sure that'd I'd do that as a career. Maybe a PhD? Then I took Chem 3A spring semester of my freshman year and hated it. This was a turning point for me, as I really began questioning whether I wanted to be in the sciences. At the same time, I took NST 10 and really like the course. Summer after freshman year, I transferred into CNR as an NST major, emphasis in physiology and metabolism. Fall semester, I started working at an IB lab at Berkeley. Then I took an English R1B course sophomore year on Cultural Studies, which really piqued my interest in writing. By the end of the spring semester, I was seriously thinking of majoring in English. What ultimately kept me from declaring was the L&S breadth requirement, which I hadn't fulfilled. So I ended up minoring in English instead. The summer after my sophomore year, I interned at a doctor's clinic and developed an interest in medicine. Junior year came and I took the MCAT and worked towards completing my major and minor. Summer after my junior year, I applied to MD/PhD programs. Senior year: I've been going to interviews and finishing up my coursework! So that's my college life story in all its randomness. Ultimately I did figure out what I wanted to do. The best piece of advice I can give is to keep an open mind and pay attention to what piques your academic interests.

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Posted by Alex Lau at 3:14 | Permalink

13 March 2008

Berkeley Events

One of the best things about living in Berkeley is all of the exciting events, talks, and festivals available for us to partake in. It is a good idea to check out the events calendar every week or two to see who is coming into town to talk about their latest book or research, and what kind of performances are happening at Zellerbach and the Greek Theatre. Check out:

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Posted by Liz Dow at 4:53 | Permalink

05 March 2008

Stressing Communication

There are probably a million ways to deal with stress. One way that has helped me the most is communicating with others (friends, family, loved ones, advisors, faculty, etc.). Sometimes I fail to recognize that there are problems that I cannot solve on my own and might need others to help me that find that guiding light. Personally I am a natural introvert and I find it hard sometimes to talk to others about what I feel inside, especially when I get stressed out about life, school, family, etc. but keeping all that stress inside won’t really help either, so venting and talking about it with someone might help because it might provide you with useful feedback and ideas that you may not have thought about yourself. It might not always be easy to find someone to talk to either, so it’s important to try to connect with those you trust and are comfortable with. Other stress management tips: 1. Get sleep. Back in the day I used to do the whole energy drinks thing, try to study all night kinda stuff, but realized all that was bad news- I couldn’t focus and it made me more stressed out. Get a good amount of sleep (whatever works best for you) and you’ll be able to process things better later. 2. Stay positive. This might be hard to do, but keep your head up high and tell yourself that no matter what, you’ll make the best out of your situation and not let your situation get the best of you. 3. Exercise. Physical and mental stress go hand in hand. It’s important to stay active so your body and mind doesn’t fall back, get lazy and start cluttering with stress. I find that a jog or a walk outside helps. 4. Clean your room! Chances are your room is a mess. I bet if you clean it up you’ll feel a lot better. Trust me. When your things are organized, life is a lot better. In the end, find what works best for you. I stress communication as an essential way of coping with stress, so don't ever be afraid to ask for help. If you ever need someone to talk to the Peer Advisors, CNR faculty and staff are here to help you. “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” - Buddha

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Posted by Dale Dualan at 0:35 | Permalink

04 March 2008

Got Stress?

Stress is in the air. With midterms and papers due, it's difficult to avoid it. I remember my first year in college, I got so stressed out when my first set of midterms kicked in. However, I've found ways to manage my stress as the years past. One fellow PAL mentioned excellent ways of managing your stress. I'll try and tackle ways of minimizing it through prevention (if that makes sense).

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Posted by Rebekah Kim at 1:32 | Permalink

04 March 2008

How to Deal

Having been in college for more than 3 years now, one would think that I learned how to deal with stress. Judging by my lack of sleep this past week, it seems that I have much improvement to do in this area. Each new semester brings a different set of challenges and I am constantly trying to juggle my schedule. I’ve seen how increased stress can bring about physical illness, so in order to avoid this, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining a balanced life so that I can enjoy my college experience, without letting it whiz by. So here are some things that I do to deal with stress: 1) Incorporating some sort of work out in my day: whether it’s a short time at the RSF, running on the fire trails near Clark Kerr, or swimming at Hearst Gym, I find that physical activity is a great way to blow off some steam and helping me focus on what really matters. 2) Writing down my schedule: This helps me see everything that I need to accomplish in a day, so it gives me a visual to set long and short term goals. This makes things appear more manageable, so I do not feel overwhelmed by the stress. 3) Talking with Roommates/Friends: Venting can be really great sometimes! Talking to people you trust about certain issues gives me perspective and a chance for feedback. We all need someone to listen. 4) Writing in a journal: This takes a very short time, but reaps a huge amount of benefits. I always start with the word “Yesterday” and debrief the day before. When I write down my problems/struggles, I can clearly see my thought process, identify what the actual stress came from, and why I was feeling that way. Hopefully some of these things might work for you too! And as always, if you’re feeling stressed, especially for academic reasons, please feel free to talk to one of the PALs. We’re here for advice or simply an open ear to listen.

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Posted by Crystal Kwan at 3:23 | Permalink



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After Graduation...

How I picked my future career....

Activities, Student Groups...So Many to Choose From!

Events, Seminars, Performances Galore

What to do in Berkeley?

Deciding what to do...

Berkeley Events

Stressing Communication

Got Stress?

How to Deal

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