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September 17, 2008

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...; )

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September 14, 2008

Making New Friends

Making new friends can be hard. Making new friends on a campus as big as Berkeley can be even harder. Coming in as a freshman from a small school in New Jersey, one of my biggest fears was not being able to make friends. It seemed like eveyrone knew at least a couple of people from their high schools, and it seemed like people already had their little groups that they hung out with. Since I didn't hit it off with my floormates, and I didn't know any other people in my building, I was desperate for other ways to find new friends, but I didn't know where to start.

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September 18, 2007

Freshman year

Freshman year was a memorable year for me. Everything was exciting. Everyday was like a field trip. Classes were interesting. People were friendly. I quickly fell in love with Berkeley.

I loved walking amongst the crowd in upper Sproul and taking all the flyers that was handed to me. In addition, I signed up for numerous mailing lists by the Career Center, social clubs, pre-med clubs, RSF, Cal Performances, Cal Corp, etc etc. I actually took time to look at these emails and flyers and wrote in my planner the events I could go to. My spare time after classes was saturated with these events. Since I had not decided what activity I was more interested in, attending all these events, forums, and socials gave me a glimpse of what Berkeley has to offer.

After the fourth week of school, I joined the Taiwanese Student Association (TSA) and became one of the interns. My weekends were then obligated to hosting its social events like BBQ, ice skating, karaoke nights, potluck, beach day, and movie nights. Besides TSA, I attended premed info sessions by the career center to learn more about the whole med school process. I found these info sessions really helpful. Career center also offers a myriad of other events for other career fields and majors. Attending forums and info sessions not only makes you more prepared for future plans but also gives you the opportunity to meet friends who are interested in these same topics.

In your first year, you should discover spots that you can study. Depending on your study habit, you might want to try different cafes, the memorial glade with sun glasses and sun block (UV lights are harmful), different libraries (Berkeley has over 30 libraries), study centers in residential halls, or the OCF lounge.

All in all, freshman year is the year to discover as much as you can and have fun! Don’t forget to go to classes and study for the coming midterms!