First Semester at UC Berkeley

Honestly, I was not very excited to begin my Fall semester in college. I finished summer school only two weeks before the fall semester begin. During the summer I was part of a program in UC Berkeley called Summer Bridge. Summer Bridge was designed to help student with disadvantages –low income, came from school with a low API, etc.- to get a sense of what college is about so they can have a better transition into the Fall. Each student attended two classes and lived in the dormitories. Co-ed bathrooms were quite awkward in the beginning.

Anyways, I took a math class and a Chicano history class; both are very interesting. I did well in those two classes and it showed me what to expect in the Fall and made me adjust my studying habits. Also the best thing was that the Summer Bridge counselor helped me mapped out all the classes I needed to take for my major.

The first month of school was a wreck for me because there were some issues with my financial aid. The school had charged me out-of-state tuition and withheld my refunds from the summer because they did not receive a copy of my green card. I was charged with late fees because I didn’t have enough money to pay for all my fees. And the funny thing was that the Billing department told me they couldn’t release the checks until all my bills are paid but I needed that check to pay for my bills! Eventually, the Office of Registrar realized their mistake –the copy of my green card was in some other student’s profile. I made at least 15 trips to the Office of Registrar, the Financial Aid office and farthest of all the Billing and Payment office. Because of this, I missed many events that happened during the first month.

Classes are going pretty well. I am currently taking Calculus, the Beauty and Joy of Computing, Chemistry (very hard!), and an Ethnic Studies class called Minority Living in a Majority Culture. The Ethnic Studies class is extremely interesting to me because it showed the struggles of each minority culture in America and how it is preventing them to succeed. It broadens my scope of world greatly. And I am thinking about maybe I can minor in Ethnic Studies. Of course good news often comes with bad news. I have failed my first midterm in UC Berkeley and I am sure there are more to come. I felt awful when the midterm was returned to me, but this just help me strived to study better and harder! Nonetheless college midterms are brutal!

I knew college is not going to be easy and I told myself every time I fall, just get up and STUDY!

– Xue Xue, UC Berkeley ’15