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

26 April 2010

Almost time for summer!!!

I don't know about you guys but I am excited for summer!!! I am sick of the continuous rain for the past three month. During the summer Berkeley definitely have better weather. I have have about a month off before coming back to berkeley to take some summer classes. I am currently looking to move into a new apartment and I KNOW that freshmen at this time is wondering what to do about housing. I would say its best to start looking now!! It was pretty hectic for me after I moved out of the dorms...I did not know where to start. Popular places to live is right by the units. You guys might not notice but there are a lot of apartments on College. A lot of apartment buildings are located right behind unit 2. Or some people who like it more quiet they move to the north side. I do not suggest living on Shattuck if you are a science major because it will take a lot of time to walk up to the science buildings. People have also been asking me how are the classes in the summer compared to the classes during the school year. I would say that for science classes they are actually not easier. This is because they cram a lot of materials in a very short amount of time and you will have a midterm every two weeks which is very stressful for classes like organic chemistry. I took chem3B over the summer because somebody suggested to me and it was hard....yes there was slightly less materials to learn and we only had to concentrate on one class instead of three or four but it was very intense and the lab exam was the day before the final for the lecture. I did not think it was easier than o chem in the school year. But I guess it really depends what classes you take. I did here that Reading and composition classes are easier over the summer, you just concentrate in writing essays and proof reading them and a lot of editing, it's easier to concentrate in one writing class during the summer instead of taking three to four classes and writing essays on top of organic chemistry finals. How I try to relax during the stressful months of summer school is that I like to study at different coffee shops. The background noise calms me down so I feel like I am not the only one working hard on a hot summer day. My favorite places are the FSM, cafe milano, and cafe strada. I hope everyone do well on their finals!

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Posted by Julie Zhu at 1:38 | Permalink

21 April 2010

Teaching for America

The last four years flew by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was here for CalSO and I didn't even know what CNR was. Since then, I have learned so much, through classes, extracurricular activities, jobs, internships, and friends. What these experiences taught me was that I am very privileged to have been able to study at Berkeley, and there are still many inequalities that exist in the world and within the U.S., especially with education. Learning about these issues inspired me to apply to the Teach for America program, and thankfully, I was expected. I will be teaching secondary biology in the Mississippi Delta region for the next two years.

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Posted by Jenn Jehnsen at 6:28 | Permalink

21 April 2010

Push to the Finish

With only 2 weeks or so left for instruction the end to this semester is in sight, and with the end of each semester also comes finals. Finals can be stressful mentally and physically so in addition to remembering to study remember to take care of yourself. Most classes offer review sessions, which can be very helpful in preparing for you tests, and be sure to visit your professor or GSI office hours with any questions before their normal office hours end. The most important thing, especially with cumulative finals, is to start early!

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Posted by Kerry Boyle at 5:15 | Permalink

19 April 2010

Field life!

In the midst of Telebears season, I wanted to pass on some advice about one of my favorite classes this semester! Many CNR students have to take Biology 1B to satisfy a lower division requirement, but few are aware of the field section option. I highly recommend this for students who enjoy being outside and want to get a head start with research! Especially for environmental science majors, this class serves as great preparation for your independent senior thesis! Our lab section meets for the same 4-hour discussion/lab period as regular Bio1B sections, but we don't spend the entire time working on the assigned labs for the week. Instead, our research groups get to work on developing our experiment, sampling in the field, and finally analyzing and compiling the data. But *be aware* that this lab is a much bigger time commitment, because you have to do extra work for your research project outside of lab time! Also, we had the opportunity to go on 2 field trips to Point Reyes and the Presidio thus far, and are going on our last field trip to Mt. Diablo this week! These field trips are a great opportunity to supplement lecture material with real-life experiences. Here are some photos from our first trip to Point Reyes! pal%20blog%201.JPG pal%20blog%202.JPG pal%20blog%203.JPG Specifically for my group's research project, we are studying the effects of culverts on water quality and habitat health of Strawberry Creek. We are doing this by analyzing populations of benthic macro invertebrates as bio indicators at locations above and below the 3 culverts nearest to campus. These macro invertebrates can be classified into species that are tolerant, non-tolerant, and semi-tolerant to pollution. From that, we can classify habitats as better or poorer quality based on the tolerance of the organisms living there. Here are some photos we took while collecting samples for our research project! pal%20blog%20benthos%202.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%201.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%203.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%204.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%205.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%206.JPG pal%20blog%20benthos%207.JPG Our group and the rest of the groups in my section will be presenting our projects during RRR week, on Thursday May 6th! These presentations will be open to the public, so feel free to stop by if you are interested in hearing more! For more information and details about applying, check out the official website at http://ib.berkeley.edu/courses/bio1b/field/fs.htm. Happy scheduling! Kelley

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Posted by Kelley Doyle at 2:40 | Permalink

05 April 2010

Avoiding burnout

Burnout, according to the dictionary is the "exhaustion of physical or emotional strength usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration." We've all felt the tip of it, seen signs of it amongst our peers, and almost succumb to it. A student usually a pre-health major goes through an academic slump due to the competitiveness and difficulty of some of the courses at Cal and other external stimuli. This slump usually results to a loss of interest in school and a loss of mental and physical sharpness on oneself. The deal with “academic slump” is that an extended one can have huge negative implications when applying to grad school, med school, pharmacy school, or any professional type school. There is no guarantee that these schools will sympathize with a slump especially when they are bombarded with ideal applicants. What I am trying to say here is that a simple slump can turn into chain reaction of events that could hinder our academic progression. With that said, it is critical to prevent burn outs by identifying some factors that contribute to it. Here are some common factors that contribute to burn out: 1.) Course Load and distribution: Like most of us, scheduling is the key on succeeding at Cal. With that said, I suggest to NOT take classes beyond your capacity. Ask friends and PAL advisers to evaluate your class schedule to have a better idea what to expect in these classes. 2.) External stress: These can be in a form of financial need to drama within friends. I know that these factors are sometimes beyond our reach but these issues if not resolve can discourage and distract you from focusing on your goals. The way to fight this is to NOT give in. I believe that every problem has a solution and if we only stop, think, and assess the situation then we can potentially solve it. 3.) A slump can hurt your GPA: As we all know by now, good GPA is pretty tight to come by. So a simply blemish on one of your classes can drastically hurt your GPA even if you had straight A’s. Remember that your GPA will never be the same again so snap out of the slump and get back on track.

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Posted by Ken Juacalla at 2:11 | Permalink

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