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Genetics and Plant Biology major
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Microbial Biology major
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Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
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Molecular Environmental Biology major
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Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
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Environmental Sciences major
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Environmental Sciences major
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February 25, 2009

Got Stress?

Can you believe it? Midterm 1 season has already begun! It seemed just a couple weeks ago that we were all making New Year's Resolutions and settling into the new semester. I am sure that most of you are taking harder courses compared to last semester. But that's okay! Don't stress. I remember being in the same position, faced with the tensions and nerves of taking Introduction to Organic Chemistry. But you'll realize that the challenge is great and will push you to think more critically than before. You'll realize that once you've convinced yourself that your harder courses and material are only going to help you become more intelligent, studying will no longer become a burden.

Continue reading "Got Stress?" »

October 28, 2008

Take some time off..

This semester is going by so quickly for me. The semester is more than halfway over, yet things aren't winding down at all. If you find yourself waking up early and going to bed late, not eating well, spending all your time indoors studying, and feeling a general sense of stress and anxiety, take a break to refresh and recover! Sometimes it's good to have day off just for yourself to re-energize. You can:

-go running (or any other form of exercise)
-go shopping. buy a small treat for yourself, you deserve it.
-watch a movie with friends
-stay at home and read a good book
-explore somewhere in Berkeley you've never been
-take up your hobbies again that you've abandoned since you've come to Berkeley
-go out to eat a nice restaurant
-go home and see the parents who love you
-come talk to the PALS :)

March 5, 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

March 4, 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).

Continue reading "Got Stress?" »

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.

November 28, 2007

Honor: Why you should not enroll in 19 units and work three jobs.

The opportunities made available to me at UC Berkeley are beyond my wildest dreams (although, to be honest, I never dreamt about them ^_^). This May, I got injured and had to stop competing in the martial arts until I healed. Shortly thereafter, I got in a bit of a car accident while on a new scooter (read: don’t get one). While training 24 hours a week, in order to stay on top of my competition in the ring and class, I had to say no to all of those exciting academic and extra-curricular opportunities that pop up. So, once I had healed, I realized I could say YES, YES, YES!

Somehow, this has resulted in me taking 19 units this semester, auditing two additional classes, taking on three jobs, and being involved in numerous other programs. Beyond that, I’m taking the GRE next weekend, applying to four very special graduate programs and interviewing for two full-time jobs that would start next year. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to fulfill my commitments thus far in the semester. Unfortunately, as the semester’s end nears, the cumulative requirements of my involvement seems to be peaking, ACK!

Here is where my blog title, honor, gets involved. Wikipedia has a nice long article on honor. I was taught, however, a more simple definition: the ability to recognize and fulfill my obligations – both to others and oneself. Additionally, my capability to do this is most important when times are at their toughest – it means the most to come through for people when my life is at its hardest. To everyone stressing out – remember this. If we can follow through at our best now, during the semester’s peak, we will surely be ready to handle life under lower levels of stress. This is our time to shine!

Continue reading "Honor: Why you should not enroll in 19 units and work three jobs." »

April 3, 2007

The Inevitable Stress… How to Deal

Stress… there is no avoiding it. Whether it’s positive stress or negative stress, we are all going to have to deal with it at one point or another. The best way to handle stress is to realize that it will pass and it is really not all that bad if you know how to handle it.

Since it is my senior year and I am currently deciding my future while dealing with the regular stressors in my life, I have come to realize two important aspects of managing stress. First and foremost, stay positive! It may be hard to stay upbeat when you have a lot on your shoulders, but I guarantee you will be able to handle a lot more and be more efficient if you stay positive. Often when I’m stressed I can tell by the kind of mood I’m in. When I feel I’m not in the best mood I’ll try to change it. For me spending sometime outdoors or exercising gives me that boost I need. This may sound cheesy, but I have even put up a smiley face post-it on my door before leaving my house for a long, stressful day. When I came home I saw it and it really did put a smile on my face.

Almost as important as staying positive is realizing that you don’t have to deal with your stress all alone. Like I said, often you can tell someone is stressed by the kind of mood their in; my friends will catch on and ask me if I want to talk about it. I find that talking with my friends and family about what is stressing me out helps a great deal; sometimes just hearing it out loud helps you resolve a huge chunk of your stress. Everyone deals with stress, so talking to someone who has been through it can help too. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your friends or family, remember you can always talk to a PAL. Please come to office hours if you need someone to talk to.

For more detailed tips on stress management, check out my previous blog called “Feeling Stressed.”

October 13, 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!

October 11, 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! )

October 10, 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?

Continue reading "Stress Stinks!" »

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 pal@berkeley.edu!!

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!

October 9, 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.

October 7, 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.

Continue reading "Handling and Overcoming Stress" »

October 6, 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. But...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.