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

April 17, 2011 9:23 PM

The Beginning of the End

So what could a graduating senior possibly have left to share before leaving Cal for the "real world"...

Just having finished taking the MCAT yesterday, I am now free to think of the fast approaching end to my time here at Cal. Unfortunately, or rather luckily, Cal doesn't have a medical school, so I am thus forced to seek higher higher education elsewhere. But before I depart on my tremendous journey in the pursuit of happiness (aka delayed gratification after years in med school), I'd like to help those setting afoot here at Cal for the first time.

1) Take care of yourself. Really. I know that being at Cal will provide some of the most exhilarating times of your life. So many doors will open. So many friends to be made. So many classes to take and keep track of. So many extracurriculars to explore and keep track of. So many opportunities. Period. However, if you're anything like the multi-tasking maniac I can be at some times (well, actually most of my life to be honest), really hear me out when I say, "Take care of yourself," one busy student to another most-probably-busy-and-productive-as-well student. I don't recall ever getting sick as much as I did while in college. I've really pushed myself and am proud of my accomplishments thus far, but looking back, I would not have sacrificed my health so often. Just remember, give yourself some breathing room. Remember to walk bare foot through faculty glade some times. Talk to your professors not just to clarify concepts during office hours, but to also get to know some of the amazing individuals contributing to public higher education excellence. Spending time making these invaluable life-long connections with peers, colleagues, faculty, professors, and mentors have made me so grateful for my privilege to study at Cal. Take advantage of the opportunities that await you rather than lying sick in bed.

2) Keep perspective. And keep your head square on your shoulders. Remember that this is only one chapter in your life. You aren't always going to get what you want. But that doesn't mean you aren't going to leave Cal to face a miserable life. Work through the challenges. Tough classes aren't made to make you unnecessarily sad and angry. All of these critical times exist to make you learn in more than an academic sense. My first two years, I use to joke about flunking out of UC Berkeley to become a bum by Sather Gate (a common joke among my high achieving friends--keep in mind that most people at Cal are high achieving). Now I'm looking forward to convocation ceremony (aka "graduation" even though this is a misnomer for the actual ceremony) to celebrate my achievements during my four college years. And I'll be graduating "with distinction" (honors), something I wasn't very concerned with while battling my way through a year of physics, organic chemistry, and molecular biology. My point is that even when you think you are going to fail, tare your eyes away from the ground and look up. Pick yourself up and rise again. Rise to higher than you were before you fell. As Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently puts it, "The greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail." Take head. Enjoy life at Cal and not. And GO BEARS!


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