A Day in the Life
The CNR Peer Advisor Experience
Level 3
Visit the PAL Program Website!
Irene Liao
Genetics and Plant Biology major
Samantha Bell
Microbial Biology major
Jena Riggert
Forestry and Natural Resources major
Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
Stephen Kwan
Molecular Environmental Biology major
Kay Jiaqi Yang
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
Jenn Jehnsen
Environmental Sciences major
Wendy Chen
Environmental Sciences major
Jessica LeBeau
Environmental Sciences major

September 19, 2007

My 1st Year

I remember my freshman year fairly well. I was somewhat overwhelmed, and I attended many different club meetings. I took Chem 1A, Math 1A, an ESPM seminar, and ESPM 11 (forestry). I went to a lot of the Career Center's workshops on balancing extracurriculars, how to get involved in research, becoming a doctor, and other health career options. I was involved with AMSA (a premed club on campus that's really cool about giving you an introduction to the premed field) and I attended ABSK, what's now known as Koinonia, a Christian fellowship on campus. I met very friendly people there and I got to learn more about the Bible and how it applies to everyday, college life. It was an awesome experience. I didn't start participating in volunteering until my sophomore year, just because I wanted to concentrate on my classes my first year. It depends on the individual and how much you are able to handle! I had a difficult time being away from home, and I felt somewhat overwhelmed with trying to decide my career as a freshman, which was something I shouldn't have worried and stressed so much over (now that I am a senior). So, my advice to you if you are a freshman is to focus on your major and think about what classes you want to take, and find clubs that you are interested in and will stick with for the next few years. Explore areas around campus that you could volunteer or work in. Talk to your professors, and go to office hours. Join IM sports or casual-for-fun sport clubs. Be active!

September 17, 2007

My Life as a Freshman

My first semester as a freshman had its share of ups and downs. I lived in Unit 1 with a friend from high school, so the transition to living with a roommate wasn’t so intimidating. I remember feeling a little bit homesick when my parents left after helping me settle in. But I found that the great array of welcome week activities helped me forget those initial feelings.
Beginning my first week of classes was also a bit overwhelming, since my first chemistry class consisted of 500 people. I can recall the panicked feeling I felt when I incorrectly answered the automated chemistry questions (you know, the ones with that remote control thingy). At one point I even called my older brother to say that I would never be able to get through this class and would subsequently fail all other classes at Berkeley.
Thankfully, things got better. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. There were many tutoring services available to help me academically and studying with others helped me see that I didn’t need to struggle alone.
Looking beyond my experience with Chem 1A, every other aspect of college life was great. Some of the best memories come from late nights spent with floor mates and venturing out to the Asian ghetto to grab food at 1 am in the morning. I also got plugged in with a Christian fellowship on campus and am amazed at the strong friendships that I have been able to form.
Berkeley certainly has character, with its unique selection of restaurants and shops. Whenever I got tired of eating at Crossroads, I would explore the restaurants along Telegraph, or make a late night run over to McDonalds on University whenever I had a craving for French fries (yes…even nutritional science majors can splurge once in a while).
While my experience as a freshman may have had a rough start, it turned out to be an unforgettable experience filled with its share of mediocre midterms, visits to Yogurt Park and endless rounds of Texas hold’em.

September 10, 2007

Back in the day...

...when I was a wee freshman, my first few weeks of Cal were pretty intimidating. I had heard most of the stereotypes involving Berkeley--the hippies, large classes, bell curves, hangovers, bookworms, football, and even Berkeley time! I was one informed new kid on the block.

No matter how prepared you are for college, it'll still throw you a few curveballs. For me, adjusting to such a large school was probably the most challenging aspect. Coming from a senior class of about 315 (which is probably pretty standard for many suburban high schools), I felt like I was suddenly thrown into a vast pool of anonymity. Yes, that rumor about UC's turning students into numbers became especially true when I enrolled in Chem 1A. That nifty radar what-cha-ma-callit effectively turned my name into DC14953 on the overhead projector. On the flipside, Lonnie's demonstrations were pretty freakin' cool.

Meeting new people also became a daily affair, and I'm sure most new freshman can relate to that. Very few people from my socal high school actually came to Berkeley back in '04, so socially, I had to pretty much start over. In a way that is good, because you can pick and choose who you want to associate. Don't just limit yourself to people on your dorm floor or suite (although they can be cool people); carve out your own niche on campus! If there's one cliche that really rings true, it's the one that proclaims "there is no stereotypical Berkeley experience." The friends you make, the classes you take, the profs you actually talk to, and the activities you pursue will all culminate into a surprisingly cohesive collegiate experience by senior year.

Lastly, you'll have to learn to balance work with play. This may be the hardest to carry out, and many freshmen swing too far towards one side when they first arrive. Some flip out and study like there's no tomorrow. Other's forget that colleges are degree granting institutions. Set schedules for yourself that include both study and free time. Get involved in clubs and community service, but don't let activities take up too much of your time. If you find that you really can't be involved in tutoring children, coaching basketball, and building homes for the poor all at once, make a choice and focus fewer extracurriculars.

Hope this gives some two-sense. If you have any questions about college life, CNR, or anything at all, drop by our office hours on the second floor of Mulford, right outside of room 260! We'll be happy to give advice or simply chat. You can also e-mail us at pal@berkeley.edu