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

19 September 2011

If I could be a freshman or sophomore again…

I still find it hard to believe that I am at the halfway point in college. If I could be a freshman or sophomore again I would make sure that I do the following from the start
  1. Know what you can handle.
  2. Make use of your summer
  3. Plan ahead

Continue reading "If I could be a freshman or sophomore again…" »


Posted by Yanna Chen at 2:44 | Permalink

25 October 2010

Making the most of office hours

Lots of resources are available to you outside of what is presented in lecture. Many students get caught up in just finishing the weekly homework assignments or cramming for exams that they lose sight of why you’re actually at Cal – to learn and challenge yourself! Your GSIs and professors are worth getting to know for many reasons: whether you’re struggling in a class, in love with the topic that is being covered, hoping to get letters of recommendation, or looking for additional opportunities, it is definitely worth your extra effort to make the most out of office hours! 1. Go with questions - Write down questions that you have during lecture while taking notes - If something is unclear, circle it and write it in a different color so you can easily come back to it - Or, if you want to know more about a topic they didn’t cover in detail - Write down questions as you do the assigned readings - Do extra practice problems if provided (check the end of the chapter in your textbook) and ask if you could go through the problem with them to check your methods 2. Do background research about your professor or GSI’s interests - Read some of their papers - Look up faculty websites - Search faculty research expertise: http://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/faculty-expertise - Use the library databases to search for publications from your professor/GSI - Ask questions about some of their work they may have presented during lecture 3. Don’t just ask for answers - Good students want to really understand what the problem is asking and the concepts behind it. Going to office hours should be more than just to getting the answers out of your professor or GSI! - Reflects poorly on you as a student 4. Don’t just go the week of the exam - As you all know, this is when office hours are most hectic! - To get the most out of the class, try to go to office hours regularly (every week or every other week) to make sure that you’re staying on top of the material and getting to know your professor or GSI outside of exam weeks 5. Ask for advice! - They were undergrads once too… It may be valuable to ask how they got involved in research, if they have any recommendations for summer programs or internships 6. For bigger lectures (especially lower division classes like Chem1A, Bio1B, Bio1A, etc.) you can go to the professor’s office hours just to listen to what other students are asking - Almost acts as an additional, supplemental hour of lecture - Good way to meet fellow students in your class and form study groups 7. If you can’t go to their scheduled office hours, don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with them! - That being said, make sure that you’re prepared to meet with them. There won’t be other students asking questions, most likely, so it’s all on you to make the meeting worth both of your time. It's never too late to start going to office hours, so don't get discouraged that we only have a little over a month left of the semester. Good luck!

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Posted by Kelley Doyle at 0:48 | Permalink

21 September 2010

Classes have begun

Fall '10 has begun and I hope everyone was able to enroll in their desired classes. If you didn't get a class of your choice, please drop by 260 Mulford to get advice from your major adviser on a substitute course. Just a friendly reminder that Sept 24 is the last day to add courses with a $5 fee and drop courses with a $10 fee. Classes added/dropped after this deadline will need the Dean's approval.

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Posted by Rezwana Abed at 2:34 | Permalink

14 October 2009

Tips for planning out your best fit spring schedule

Wow it's amazing how telebears phase 1 is here yet we are in the middle of getting through this fall semester!! For this reason it is important that we start looking into classes and start asking our friends about classes they recommend. Something that I have learned from planning out my schedule (for the past 4 years) is that we should not set our schedule in stone early on but have some options to decide on the first week of classes. Although those classes may seem very interesting to us, during the first week we may realize that two of our most challenging classes will have midterms on the same day. If you have other class options you can have the choice of taking another class (this happened to me for PH162A- Microbiology and MCB 102 and I had a horrible semester even though the classes were interesting I was not able to study as well as I would have liked to because both of the midterms were back to back from one another). This brings me to another very important point that when choosing classes it is important to understand that everybody can handle different levels of courses and that you need to realize what would be a good fit for YOU!!!! Just because your roommate was able to take a combination of classes it doesn't make it a good fit for you and vice versa. Especially for the lower division classes like chem 1a, chem 3a/b, the math 16 series, the bio's etc, it is important to understand that these classes take up a lot of time to study and people can handle certain combination of classes better than others. It does not make you inferior if you need to make a preparation course for chem 1a or need to start with precalculus (I needed to), if it will help you in the long run than you should definitely go for it. The truth of the matter is that people come to Cal with different levels of preparation based on what their high schools offered -it is not a fair playing field :-( The best we can do is acknowledge it and take classes that we can handle. Obviously we are stressed to graduate on time, but if you have the flexibility to spread out some of your core science classes (you know the classes that you need to really super dedicate yourself to), then why not. After all the classes have to be a good fit for you!!!!

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Posted by Liz Pelayo at 0:10 | Permalink

25 February 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.

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Posted by Jenny Zhang at 9:40 | Permalink

24 September 2008

Study Tips

Midterms can be hectic and stressful for students, especially the first midterms of the semester when you are still getting used to a class and a Professor’s teaching style. So to better prepare you for upcoming exams here are some study tips to help you succeed in your classes.

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Posted by Olga at 2:36 | Permalink

19 February 2008

Dealing with Challenging Classes

There are many difficult classes at Berkeley that we all have to struggle through. It is almost a right of passage for the science majors to take Organic Chemistry and Bio 1A, but it wasn't until I took my Environmental Modeling requirement, Energy and Resources 102, that I really met a challenge. Some people went through this class very easily, but I had never taken a subject where I had to draw on all of my knowledge gained from the big Chemistry and Calculus classes. I had to answer questions such as: “What would the pH of rain be in the absence of anthropogenic sources of sulfuric and nitric acids?” and “If the burning of fossil fuels were to cause the CO2 concentration in Earth’s atmosphere to become twice what it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution, how would Earth’s surface temperature be affected?” The problem sets became my third job as I began to spend and average of ten or more hours a week on them. So how did I deal with this difficult material? Here are some tips!

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Posted by Liz Dow at 1:21 | Permalink

07 February 2008

Pulling Through

The most difficult class for me at CAL was MCB 102. I took that course my first semester and it really hit me. Personally, I didn't know what to expect when I transferred here. Although it might have been wiser to take a lighter/"easier" course load that semester, taking MCB 102 was a great learning experience. The class was fast paced with the amount of material I had to learn and to what level the professors wanted me to understand the material via exams. I initially didn't worry much until I took the first midterm. I was so devastated when I saw the grade. It was even more depressing when I saw the class distribution and noticed that my score was near the end of the scale. To make it worse, my second midterm score wasn't any better. I begin to question my intelligence and whether I was worthy of coming to Berkeley.

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Posted by Rebekah Kim at 2:48 | Permalink

06 February 2008

Tips for Success in Classes

To all of those celebrating new years, Happy New Year! So classes officially began two weeks ago, and it has been busy since. Here’s a few tips to keep up in those general chemistry, biology, and physics classes, all of which were difficult to conquer, but I did survive my first two years of college. 1. Attend lectures, whether in person or via webcast. Webcast is such a great tool (except it’s on Real Player, but the EST people are working on it), but you have to have enough discipline to watch them. Watch it with a friend or try setting a specific time in the day to watch them. Just try not to cram it into the final hours before an exam, but if that works for you, go for it.

Continue reading "Tips for Success in Classes" »


Posted by Irene Liao at 3:58 | Permalink

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