05 May 2009
In two weeks I'll be graduating and leaving Berkeley. I wish I could stay longer because I love it here so much. But it'll also be exciting to move onto grad school and study what I really want to do. I'll be going to UCLA in the fall to start my masters in Library Science (yes, librarians actually need to have degrees!). Librarianship was always something I thought about doing, but I never considered it as a career for a long time. But I began thinking about it more during my sophomore year in college and it seemed like more of a feasible option. I also wanted to work with kids, and so a children's librarian seemed ideal to me. So in order to get more hands-on experience with education and the library, I decided to pursue the ed minor and I also began volunteering with the Berkeley Public Library. Both experiences were probably the most valuable ones I've had at Cal. Not that I don't like my major as well, but those two activities helped me to see what it is I really was passionate about and where my strengths lay.
So hopefully it's an encouragement for those of you who aren't completely content with your major or are still unsure about what you want to do in the future. It's kind of silly to think that what you study in college will determine what you'll be doing for the rest of your life. So no worries! Take the time to try different things :)
Continue reading "After graduation..." »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:48 | Permalink
28 October 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 :)
Continue reading "Take some time off.." »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:35 | Permalink
26 April 2008
Life as a PAL
Being part of the PAL program is one of my favorite things about CNR. I feel so much more plugged into the college community and I can support as well as promote all the resources and opportunities CNR provides.
Spring semester for us PALs has been busy but fun. We've had a lot of chances to reach out to the Berkeley campus. In addition to our regular advising office hours, we've had resource fairs, advising nights, and even online chats for students.
But I'd have to say that my favorite events are the Movie Nights that PAL hosts. They're a nice way to relax and just have fun with others in the college. Plus, there's always free pizza and drinks!
Being part of all these activities always reminds me how awesome CNR is. When I talk to students and share experiences with them, I'm reminded of why I love this college and how it's so unique and tightly-knit. A lot of students have difficulty navigating the large university or are confused in which directions they should go. But CNR offers a lot of support and helps you to feel at home :)
If you're interested in becoming a PAL for the upcoming semester, come pick up an application!
Continue reading "Life as a PAL" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 2:40 | Permalink
17 March 2008
I'm in my third year now in Environmental Sciences. And what do I want to do with my B.S. once I graduate? Become a librarian. Yes, I know it sounds completely random and unrelated, but that's my master plan. Right now I'm preparing for all those crazy grad school applications that I'll be sending in next fall. (Yes, librarians actually have to have a Master's degree in Library Science!)
So how did I come to this decision? I started to realize my sophomore year that I didn't want to pursue a career in Environmental Science. Not to say that I don't enjoy my major. I do. But I began to see that I just wasn't cut out for a science-related or even policy-related career. It's just not me. My strengths and interest don't really correspond to what I'm studying, and this was obvious whenever I got my grades back. I did the worse in my major's core courses and my best grades were in humanities classes. I knew that I enjoyed working with people, especially children, and I hoped that I would be able to incorporate that into my career. But I also knew that I wasn't cut out to be a teacher from a lot of previous teaching experience.
I began thinking about what kind of skills I have and what kind of jobs would complement my natural interests. I've thought about becoming a librarian dozens of times growing up but for some strange reason, I never took it seriously. But it popped back into my mind as I was contemplating all this. So I began to do some research and I also talked to a lot of family and friends. It's crazy because everyone I shared with gave me a lot of affirmation and encouragement about pursuing it!
I especially wanted to focus on children's and youth services as a librarian because of my passion for kids, and I decided that minoring in education would be a helpful and practical step. And that basically brings me to where I am right now. I'm almost done with my education minor and I love it. And now I'm in the process of preparing to apply for grad school.
If there's anything you can get out of my strange journey I hope it's the comfort and reassurance that you don't always have to know what you want to do in the near future. And it's okay to change majors or even pursue a major that may not necessarily be related to your future career. You should enjoy what you're studying. But also seek after what you really love (whether it's major-related or not) and what brings out your best :)
Continue reading "After Graduation..." »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 8:03 | Permalink
21 February 2008
Time to find a new pad...
For those of you who are sick of dorm food and communal bathrooms, having your own apartment seems like heaven. But it definitely takes a bit of time and effort to find the place of your dreams.
I recommend starting your search early. It can get really stressful looking for housing when you’re in the midst of preparing for finals. So start poking around in late March, definitely start looking around in April.
Craigslist is a great go-to. You’ll basically find anything and everything there. (It’s also great for getting furniture later on to decorate your new place.)
Be observant as you walk around Berkeley as well. Sometimes it pays off to jot down the phone numbers posted on the “For Rent” signs on an apartment building’s window.
And ask around. Sometimes your friend’s friends are moving our of their old places, or they’ll know that their own building is renting.
If you’re planning to live with others, ask your future roomies to share the work with you so you’re not the only one looking. Of course set down standards so you’re all clear about what kind of apartment you’re looking for.
Have your parents’ or cosigner’s credit report quickly. This comes in handy when you’re competing with others for a place and you can get in all your financial info in the quickest.
And finally, don’t stress too much! You’ll eventually find something you like, even if it seems like it comes at the absolutely last possible moment. I remember finding my apartment pretty late, after most of my friends had already found a place. So don’t worry, the chances are slim that you’ll end up homeless :)
Continue reading "Time to find a new pad..." »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 6:21 | Permalink
12 February 2008
Difficult but worthwhile
One of the more difficult classes I've taken was Bio 1A and 1A/L. Most of you have probably already heard the horrors of the lab practical exam and the endless hours of memorizing and studying put into that class. It was a challenging class, and it did require a tremendous amount of time. However, I learned a lot, and I found myself enjoying most of the material we covered. I found it to be very relevant and even practical. The time that I put into studying paid off in the sense that I was able to absorb and learn more information that I wouldn't have otherwise. And in the end, even though I didn't get an A in the class, I was satisfied with the grade I received because I had made my best effort. So don't feel discouraged if you come across impossibly difficult classes. Hard work eventually pays off. There are also tons of resources on campus to help you reach your goals if you're feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. You can always stop by during PAL office hours if you need advising of if you just want to vent!
Continue reading "Difficult but worthwhile" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 1:25 | Permalink
01 May 2007
The End of This Year...
This year has been extremely long for me. "Sophomore slump" has definitely taken its toll on me and I'm ready to take finals and get out of school.
Academics have been harder this year. I've started taking upper divisions so my load has been much heavier than those carefree days of being a freshman. And I definitely feel the responsibilities of having my own apartment and stepping up in my roles in activities outside of school.
But because of all the difficulties of the past year, I feel that I've grown in certain ways, even if only in being able to handle more. Despite struggles, I've seen how God has blessed me with a lot, and I've learned a little more in being content in my circumstances. This is a comforting thought for next year, as I'll be an upperclassman and taking nothing but upper divs. And for the summer as well. I'll be taking Chem 3A and 3AL here in Berkeley.
I hope you guys finish strong! Good luck on finals. When you're stressing out like crazy, remember that you've survived finals before and that summer is just around the corner :)
Continue reading "The End of This Year..." »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 0:03 | Permalink
27 April 2007
Berkeley is wonderful because it's a college town. Since being here, I feel like I've been able to cross off so many things off my "To do before I die" list.
Of course there's always asian ghetto. But that's just what it is...ghetto. There are so many nicer restaurants that are just a bus ride away. I always talk about College. There are half a dozen cute, fairly affordable restaurants there. And North Shattuck as well. There's something called the "gourmet ghetto" and a variety of yummy places to eat.
I love being at Berkeley because it offers such an array of musical/performing arts. Zellerbach has tons of great shows. You should definitely go to a show before you leave college. I've been to some random shows (like Peking acrobats and Flamenco dancing) and I've loved every minute of it. There are also great concerts given by the University Orchestra every so often. And if you didn't know, Hertz Hall has noon concerts every Wednesday. Plus, I love the shows that Superb puts on. They're a great way to see your favorite artists perform as well as explore those genres of music you're not quite familiar with.
Just a 5 minute bus ride up Euclid Ave is the Rose Garden. It's beautiful when its in bloom (which is right now!) and right across from it there's this cute little park that has an awesome stone slide (It's a bit scary but perfect for the adventurous). And farther north there's Tilden Park. Indian Rock is on northside as well. And there's always the Berkeley Marina and Botanical Gardens.
Again, I have to mention College. Jeremy's is a great place to shop. And there a few other nice little boutiques. And if you don't mind used, Telegraph has a great selection of vintage shops. I really like Buffalo Exchange.
So go out and explore what Berkeley has to offer. Especially with finals coming around, it'll be a good excuse for you to take a study break :)
Continue reading "Berkeley Life" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 9:45 | Permalink
17 April 2007
What's your major?
I feel like half the people I meet at Cal are MCB majors. Not to dump on MCB, it's a wonderful major, but most people choose it as a default. If you are one of those "defaulters", not only in MCB or any other major, seriously reconsider why you're studying what you are. Is it because you want to make your parents happy? Is it because all your friends are studying it? Is it because you really don't know what you want to do?
If you're undeclared, think about what you honestly like. If you're not a science/math person, don't be science math major! Your major should be something that to some degree, is enjoyable. Also, think about what are you good at. Usually, these two go together and can help you narrow your focus way down. If you have an idea of what kind of career you want to pursue, it could help to pick a concentration that helps you reach that goal.
Take some courses from different departments. Fulfilling your breadths and AC requirements can help you do this.
Talk to advisors and other people who are in the majors that you're interested in. They can help you get a realistic picture of what the major is like and the kind of courses it entails.
And if all of this fails and you still end up not knowing what you want to study or find yourself constantly switching majors, take heart. Your major doesn't determine the the kind of career you're going to have or who you are. At the very least, college should be a place where you can explore many different things and have the freedom to do what makes you happy.
If you have questions or are super stressed about these issues, come talk to us in office hours!
Continue reading "What's your major?" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 4:45 | Permalink
10 April 2007
Fun (and enlightening) Activities
Besides PAL, I also work as an SM (security monitor) at Unit 3. That's right, I'm the strict lady that makes sure no shady people get into the dorms!
I also volunteer at First Presbyterian's bi-monthly Street Meal. Volunteers help cook massive amounts of food and then serve it to the homeless and hungry. It's a great way to serve the community and you get to have interesting conversations with the diverse population of Berkeley.
I'm also part of a Christian fellowship on Campus called ICA (formerly known as the Navigators). We have weekly bible studies in a small group setting as well as larger meetings where everyone comes together to learn and fellowship. I attend church as well at the Berkeley Mosaic, where I will begin work with the children: either taking care of those in the nursery or teaching Sunday school to the older kids.
These extracurriculars are what really make my college experience complete. School is great, but I learn the most in situations and experiences where I can't rely on academics for the answer. So I encourage you, if you haven't already, to join a group or find an internship. You'll gain a lot of valuable experience, and if nothing else, something to add to your impressive resume.
Continue reading "Fun (and enlightening) Activities" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 7:16 | Permalink
05 April 2007
I love my college
I applied to Cal knowing what I wanted to study, Environmental Sciences, but I was surprised and excited to find out that my major was part of an entire college dedicated to the study of natural resources.
Berkeley is a competitive school, but being in CNR fosters a warm home-y feeling. It definitely is a small community environment in a big school. The people in CNR genuinely care about you; advisors are available almost all the time, they know you by a first name basis, and provide all the help and support you need. Everyone just seems friendlier and more laid back.
Classes tend to be smaller, and you have more opportunities to get to know your professors and fellow students. Everyone is very passionate about what they're studying.
When I get tired and stressed out from school and when I feel like dropping out, it's comforting to know that I have a supportive college behind me. Like I've said before, as corny as it may seem, CNR really is the best kept secret on campus that everyone should learn more about.
Continue reading "I love my college" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 1:17 | Permalink
I think I'm in spring break mode already. I can't wait to finally take a break from school and all those midterms.
This spring break, I'm going on a road trip to Oregon with my Christian fellowship. We're going to be staying in cabins along Rogue River and doing all the nature-y things that we CNR people love to do. There'll be lots of hiking, swimming, fishing, star-gazing, eating, playing games and overall fun and bonding. Road trips are so great because you get to have great random (and deep) conversations with your car mates and stop by strange and interesting places/towns too. I'm super excited!
Hope you guys have wonderful breaks too having fun, relaxing at home, or spending time with best friends and family :)
Continue reading "Yay!" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:52 | Permalink
08 March 2007
My Most Favorites
So, when I'm not sitting in front of my computer crying over the paper I have to write or spending yet another sad weekend in the depths of the main stacks, I do enjoy having some down time and doing what I love most..which includes:
1. Eating. Food always seems to be number one in my life. I can't say that I have a favorite place to eat because there are so many great places around Berkeley. I love the restaurants down College Avenue. La Mediterranee is a really nice place to have lunch on a sunny afternoon. And further down College is an adorable chocolate cafe called Bittersweet. They have great hot cocoa and a lot of exotic chocolates too.
2. Watching movies. I love watching movies, whether it's going out to the theatre or watching it at home with a bunch of friends. I really like indie films. Some of my favorites are Garden State, Amelie, and Little Miss Sunshine. But once in a while I go for the chick flicks too. I can watch Love Actually over and over again. And I love this movie called Sabrina Goes to Rome, based on the TV series Sabrina. It's really embarrassing to tell people but it's one of my favorite movies.
3. Listening to some good music. Deep down I'm a mellow person, so I love mellow music. My favorite artists include Jack Johnson, Copeland, Bright Eyes, and Death Cab. They're perfect to listen to when you're just laying on your bed, looking out the window at the trees and blue sky and daydreaming.
4. Watching TV. I actually rarely ever find time to watch TV when I'm in school, but I do have a few favorite TV shows. I love The Office. I like the American version, but in my mind there's no competing with the original British version. I also love Arrested Development, but sadly, it's cancelled. And Simpsons and Conan are great too.
Continue reading "My Most Favorites" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 9:04 | Permalink
27 January 2007
Hopes for the year
I haven't really made one specific new year's resolution that I'm determined to keep. I think that goals should come along as you realize that changes or improvements need to be made. But during winter break I was able to evaluate fall semester and there are a few things that I have in mind to do not just for this semester, but as part of everyday.
1. Spend more time with my family.
This is hard for most college students, and especially for me since I'm back home only a few times out of the year. But when I'm not able to see my parents, at least spend the time to talk to them more over the phone and to let them know more about what's going on here in Berkeley.
2. Make it a point to spend quality time with my roommates and friends in Berkeley.
Although I see my roommates and circle of friends several times a week, there never seems to be time to really talk to them and see how they're doing. It's really important to me to stay close to those I love, and I want to make more of an effort this year to have one on one times with people and have meaningful conversations rather than the quick, "how are you?"
3. Pray more
I'm of Christian faith, and God is the priority of my life. But just like everything else, I push that aside in the busyness of school. But I really want to be able to spend more time in prayer so that I can keep God as my center and stay rooted in my faith.
Continue reading "Hopes for the year" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:21 | Permalink
There are only 6 more days until I'm done with finals and I officially begin my winter break. I honestly don't have anything planned this year. Last year, my family took a trip to Europe, but the only thing I see myself doing this break is bumming around the house and catching up on my TV watching. And of course, seeing my best friends and catching up on lost time. But doing nothing will be a nice break from this long and busy semester. I have a lot of shopping to do, sleep to catch up on, and family to spend time with. Hope you have a super wonderful vacation as well, and good luck on finals!
Continue reading "Freedom" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 2:31 | Permalink
07 November 2006
I was born in Shanghai, China, and I came to California when I was three. Surprisingly, I remember a lot of things from Shanghai. I have many deep memories from my childhood. I remember getting in trouble in day care, my grandpa picking me up and taking me home on his bicycle, eating red bean lollipops and swallowing bubble gum. I've only been back a couple of times, but it has a fond place in my heart, and I love the city and all the bustle that goes along with it.
The town where I grew up couldn't be any more different. Temple City, California. No one knows where that is. It's a tiny town in one of the valleys in socal. We have one high school, a tiny tiny library, and a main street that consists almost entirely of Asian bridal shops/photography studios. It's not very exciting, and most of us TC kids make fun of how boring our town is.
It's a big change everytime I go home from Berkeley. It takes a little time to adjust to the simplicity and slowness of Temple City. But as much as I make fun of it, it's still home. It's where my family and my house is, where my beloved elementary school is, and where all the little family restaurants and cafes I would go to with my best friends are.
Continue reading "Sweet Home" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 5:07 | Permalink
31 October 2006
I hart Cal
I love Berkeley. And not just for our great academic programs. There are tons of places on and off campus where I love to hang out, relax, or even study.
The Dwinelle court: It's a little hard to find (go to the bottom floor of Dwinelle and find your way into the maze of the 1000s faculty rooms) but it's very peaceful and a great place to do work.
Random benches: Our campus has tons of cute little benches surrounded by trees and shrubbery. Great for us Natural Resources people! Plop yourself down on a bench and do some reading.
North and East Reading Rooms: It's quiet and has a grand, university feeling to it, so it'll inspire you to get some serious work done!
College Avenue: I'm a sucker for cute coffee shops and little restaurants. La Mediteranee and Filippo's are great places to have a nice weekend lunch or dinner, and you can do some shopping at Jeremy's while you're there.
Botanical Gardens: It's a beautiful place where you can enjoy nature and take a break from studying.
Rose Garden: another naturey place where you can enjoy the scenery and let out your romantic side.
99 Ranch (actually in El Cerrito): It's kind of hard to get there (take the 43, or better yet, get someone to drive you), but everything there is so much cheaper than Safeway! It's a good place to get some cheap vegetables and stock up on groceries.
Go out and explore our wonderful city and find your own little favorite corners where you can escape from school!
Continue reading "I hart Cal" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 2:59 | Permalink
17 October 2006
Midterms got you down?
By now, many of you should have already completed at least one midterm and gotten back the results as well. Hopefully, you're happy with your scores, but if not, don't worry! It's not the end of the world. We all know what it feels like to get back a midterm that we didn't do so well on. And if you're feeling discouraged, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for future exams.
First of all, look over your test and see what you did wrong. I know it seems very basic, but sometimes we can neglect to do this out of our repulsion of the exam and the grade we received for it ( I know I tend to have an "out of sight out of mind" view of midterms..). Knowing the kind of mistakes you made can help you understand what you need to study as well as the type of questions that stump you. Then you can focus on how you can better prepare for the next exam and work on your test-taking skills.
Also, it doesn't hurt to go to office hours and talk to your GSI and professor. They can show you what you did wrong as well as give you a better idea of what their expectations are. They'll most likely also tell you what you should study more for.
And most importantly, don't be too discouraged! There are always more chances to improve your grade and to do better on upcoming midterms. Many classes are curved, and for the most part, you end up doing better than you would expect. Things always even out in the end!
Continue reading "Midterms got you down?" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:42 | Permalink
11 October 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! )
Continue reading "Say No to Stress" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 3:00 | Permalink
29 September 2006
Managing Your Time
I don't think I ever had time management problems in high school. But the hectic lifestyle and freedom that comes with college makes it difficult to stay on top of things. There are a few important things I learned about juggling schoolwork, friends, and extracurriculars my last two semesters at Cal. One thing is to prioritize your tasks. Getting your most important tasks done and over with leaves you feeling less stressed out.
Another thing that I find very helpful is to make a list of the things you need to do. It helps to see everything written down, and you can group your tasks in categories or in order of importance to have a better idea of how you want to tackle each thing. (And I get a lot of satisfaction by crossing off things on the list!)
Also, make the most of free slots of time you have in between classes. Most people don't have back to back classes, and a lot of time can be wasted during those time slots. I find it helpful to go to the library or even a bench (anywhere but my apartment) and get reading or homework done.
And finally, try to stay on top of things. This means not procrastinating. Work tends to pile up pretty quickly, and it can be overwhelming if you get behind. Breaking up your work into smaller chunks can prevent it from feeling too daunting as well.
And most importantly, don't forget to take time to relax! It's wonderful to take a break after you've been working hard all week. As Berkeley students, we tend to be perfectionists and workaholics. But that doesn't mean you can't stop and enjoy whatever free time you do have. Make sure you set aside time for yourself to unwind and hang out!
Continue reading "Managing Your Time" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 5:37 | Permalink
22 September 2006
Doing nothing but school work 24/7 can be a drag on your mental and social life. That's why it's important to get involved outside of your Chem 1A and Math 1B classes. Berkeley is great because it offers so many enrichment opportunities, whether it be internships, clubs, or sports.
I'm currently involved with a Christian fellowship on campus called ICA (In Christ Alone, formerly known as the Navigators). During the week, we have small group, where six or seven sisters meet to have fellowship, dinner, and a Bible study. There is also large group once a week where everyone meets together for worship and a message. Plus, there are a lot of fun activities on the weekends to hang out and get to know everyone else better.
It's a wonderful community to be involved with, and it's really made Berkeley feel like home. And because ICA isn't a very large group, I've gotten to know my fellow brothers and sisters very well. They're basically my family here at school.
I'm also involved with a fraternity on campus called Alpha Phi Omega. It's a co-ed community service fraternity that whose primary focus is leadership, fellowship, and service. I'm currently in the process of pledging. The reason I decided to pledge was because APO offered a wide range of service projects. Because APO has so many projects, it's easier for me to find one that suits my interests and time. I also really like the fact that you can create your own projects, as well as the fact that APO is focused on reaching out to the urban areas and the homeless. It's a great way to do give to others and to do some good for the community.
I'm also involved with ESSA (Environmental Science Student Association). I wanted to be more involved with my major, and I felt ESSA was a good start. Although it's a fairly small group, the people involved are very passionate about what they do. It's a great way to be active in the area of Environmental Science.
So I definitely encourage all of you to be involved outside of your classrooms. Find a group that that shares your interests. It doesn't always have to be an academically related group. And if you have any questions, I'm here on Tuesdays from 9-11am during OH! Come on by!
Continue reading "Extracurriculars" »
Posted by Wendy Chen at 9:11 | Permalink