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

24 September 2008

It's that time again...

Midterm season is here in case you haven't noticed all the libraries getting full, and you're wondering how you should go about preparing for these test. Being a semi super senior, I have found these tips helpful.

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Posted by Stephen Kwan at 5:13 | Permalink

11 May 2008

Final stage

Classes has pretty much ended and now comes the dreaded and feared finals week. Many of us are probably starting to stress out about finals now since we haven't been studying the whole semester. If you're not one of those, finals week should be quite manageable, but if you're not, finals week can still be feasible to survive through. Here are some tips I thought were useful throughout my four years fo experience Plan and organize: It might seem like a hassle to figure out your schedule and plan how to study, but it will most likely save you time and prevent and unwanted surprises. Take the time to look at your final schedule and plan out your study days, and work from there. Taking a break: Know when your brain needs a break, studying constantly throughout finals week can't be good for you mentally or physically. But when I say break I don't mean going out to party or anything, more like something relaxing like watching a movie or going to the gym, so it doesn't completely take your focus off of your finals. Sleep: Don't be crazy and study 24/7 We aren't robots and hence we need sleep. Sleep is an important factor in memory and learning, so make sure you get lots of it! Efficient studying: Get off that instant messaging and turn off that TV. There are so many distractions to keep you from studying! We know what those distractions are, but most of the time we just let it through becuase we enjoy them Gain the willpower to simply tell yourself that you need to study, adn perhaps go to a place where the distractions aren't readily there. Relax: try not to stress out, easier said than done. But if you plan accordingly and study efficiently, you shopuld be fine!

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Posted by Stephen Kwan at 4:11 | Permalink

21 February 2008

Housing Options

It's spring semester and it might be time to think about your housing options for next year. Many students choose to find an apartment with their friends or dorm mates, and while living in an apartment can be a new and fun experience, some people might find a hard time adjusting. here are a few tips in helping you decide what to look for. Location: Unless you have a car, you don't really want to be walking/biking several miles jsut to get to class everyday. What if you have gaps? You'd be stuck on campus all day and no one likes that. The distance from campus is perhaps the number one priority when choosing an apartment according to my experience and many others. Cost: Cost is perhaps the second most important thing to consider. If you don't mind having a roomate than that would definitely cut the rent down. There are plenty of apartment complexes with affordable rates, be sure to look around before settling in any one place. Cleanliness: This might not be a factor for many people, but you have to realize that you are no longer living in the dorms. There will be no janitors to clean up your bathroom mess, and if your apartment is realtively clean to begin with then it would jsut make your job that much easier. Other: There are many other factors to consider, but the important thing is to sort out on your own what is more important to you. If you spend all your time in the library than perhaps you don't need such a nice and spacious apartment, however if you're living with 5 other students than it might be wise to get a larger apartment. Of course, there are other options besides apartments such as the dorms again. There are also campus apartments such as the channing bowditch apartments, or the Wada apartments in Unit 2. Also, the international house is not just for international students, so that might also be an alternative. Co-ops are also an option, and there are plenty of those around that are close to campus and are affordable. Besure to check them out!

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Posted by Stephen Kwan at 1:51 | Permalink

12 February 2008

Hard times

We're at Berkeley and it's inevitable that we will encounter tough times from time to time. One particular hard time I had was second semester if my freshmen. Being an ignorant freshmen, I decided that I was going to do 16 units of technical classes. I had lots and lots of trouble with these classes since I was still getting adjusted to the Berkeley life, and basically for that semester I barely had any extracurricular activities besides going to the gym once in awhile. It wasn't so much that I took a lot of science classes at one time, but it was more of the difficulty of each class. However for that semester I really buckled down and really studied hard. I went to office hours, and I participated in the student learning center study groups (at the Caesar Chavez Center @ Lower Sproul) and it turns out that although this may be the toughest semester for me, I actually did the best in in my whole 4 years as a Berkeley student. My advice from this experience would be to carefully plan out your 4 years as a college student, even though it is quite likely that you will change it every semester (I sure did). By doing that, you can plan ahead and knopw what classes you should take now, and classes you should take later. Most major requirements have it so you don't have to take more than 3 major requirement courses per semester, so by carefully planning out your 8 semesters you can be avoid unneccessary stress! Be sure to come to PAL office hours if you need help planning your courses!

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Posted by Stephen Kwan at 1:07 | Permalink

13 September 2007

3 years ago...

Hi I'm Stephen and I am one of the new peer advisors for this semester. I am currently a senior MEB major and it's hard not to look back the past 3 years and see what I have done with it. When I first came to Cal I did not have the usual "jitters" most freshmen have, mainly because I was so uninformed about everything in Cal. As a result my first year was less than smooth and I was quickly waken to the harsh reality that is Cal. Haha, ok maybe I am exaggerating, but I still think freshmen year is probably the toughest year for me. When I first came to Cal I didn't get involved in too many extra curriculars and as a result I did not meet many people that were outside of my class or dorms. Also, as I mentioned earlier, because I was largely uninformed about Cal, I ended up taking too many tough classes in one semester and that is never any fun. Besides that, I had to deal with the usual freshmen symptons such as homesickness, adjusting to a new environment, starting fresh, and in general dealing with all the unfamliarity of Cal. Although I had a relatively rough first year, looking back now I believe I could easily have avoided all those things if I just participated more in extra curriculars. Towards the end of my sophmore year I began to take amore active role in the Cal community and it has made all the difference. So I would really recommend all first years to take part in some sort of activity even if you believe you won't have time for it . You get to meet people, you get to clear your mind from studies from time to time, you're not just cooped up in your room watching downloaded episodes of chapelle show all the time, and best of all you are doing something you enjoy! As for the unfamiliarity of Cal, I heavily suggest talking to advisors (like us!) about what to expect from classes, or any other things related to Berkeley life. We are here for a reason, and we expect you guys to use us!

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Posted by Stephen Kwan at 9:04 | Permalink



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