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

September 17, 2008 10:00 AM

Fall 2004: My First Semester at Cal

My first semester was quite a memorable one. I remember my first day of class started with Chemistry 1A at 9 in the morning. I waited outside Pimentel Hall around 8:45am (yup, I was a noob and didn’t even know the concept of Berkeley time). Class didn’t even start until 9:15 because there was a class in there beforehand and it took a while for everyone to get out. How many people? So I walked in and so did 550 other students! It was a complete anomaly. However, the class size slowly dwindled after the first few lectures. Chem 1A was one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever taken at Cal. My advice for those of you taking Chem 1A is to 1) form study groups (at the Student Learning Center, the residence halls, etc., quiz each other a lot because it helps reinforce concepts in your brain, 2) attend your GSI’s or Professor’s office hours- I know there may be a lot in the class, but you’d be surprise the huge fraction of people who won’t attend office hours and 3) overall, don’t be afraid to ask for help because it is a challenging class and you want to do well (in any class for that matter). In addition to Chem 1A, I also took Sociology 3AC – Intro to Principles in Sociology, Asian American Studies 20A – Intro to History of Asians in U.S., and Math 16A – Calculus. They weren't so bad...; )

Besides classes I got involved with a singing group on campus- the UC Men’s Chorale. Normally the group has about 30, but when I joined there were only about 10 of us so it made it a bit easier for all of us to get to know each other. I was never really involved with singing, but enjoyed it so much I had to try something new in college. It was here where I met a few of my closest friends whom I’ve kept in touch with over the years. That and the friends I made in the residence halls.

I lived in Unit 1- Cheney Hall in a Triple. The first few days we would sit out in the middle of our hallway late at night to mingle and to get to know each other. Despite our different backgrounds and cultures, we had a lot of similarities and interests when it came to the classes we took, activities/sports we liked (Cal football!!! Wooo!), etc. I had awesome roommates and awesome floormates my freshman year. We did a lot of things together: ate at Crossroads like one happy family, played basketball at the RSF a lot, studied for our Chem midterms together, etc. I ended up living with 4 of my floormates after moving to the apartment life.

I grew up a momma's boy so I did get phone calls from my mom every other day, making sure if I was eating or not, doing my laundry, keeping my room clean, etc. That semester I would say I went home about 2 times a month (I didn't live too far away- Modesto, CA), and back then I would get a little homesick from time to time (even today too I guess). Nonetheless, I was having fun meeting new people, making new friends, singing, and just having a good time.

My old housemate Greg Nishimura (Alum 08’ who’s now in medical school) and my current roommate Edwin Zee (Alum ’08) at the Big Game 2004.

My floormates Amy and Katelyn getting ready for a talent show.

My freshman year floormates, 4th Floor Cheney Hall.

I could say lot more about my first semester experience (year for that matter), but I'll leave by saying that your first semester/year will really set the tone for the experiences you'll have while at Cal. Don't study tooooo hard. College should also be fun because this is your chance to go out and explore the opportunities and resources that this campus and the world has to offer.

"A life well lived is a life without regret." - Dove chocolate candy wrapper

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