First week of college

I moved in on Saturday and it was so chaotic. My roommates had picked each other and had wanted a double, so I was going to be the random roommate that just ruined their plans. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get along with them. We didn’t talk much as we unpacked, since our parents were all in the room with us. I went out with my family to eat lunch and then they dropped me back at the dorms. My mom said goodbye and started crying. I made fun of her, trying to make her laugh, because I knew if she cried I would too. I really did want to, and I know that’s kinda stupid because home is only fifteen minutes away. The thing is I’ve never been alone. I always have my parents, or a friend who knows where we’re going or what we’re doing. That was the first time I would truly be alone. It was very scary, I had a mini panic attack as I headed back to my room.

My roommates were back in our room when I got there, so my panic attack ended, but I still felt like it was going to be awkward. I was going to be the third wheel, following them around because I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. We started doing small talk, and eventually they became a bit more comfortable and began acting weird. I think that when someone acts weird in front of you it’s because they like you, and are trying to be themselves around you.At first I was just following them around, but now it’s different. Even though it’s only been a week I feel we’ve already developed a friendship and will only strengthen it from here on.

My floor is the best. From the beginning there were people who were very social and friendly. I tried my hardest and was able to interact more with them. Now I feel like I can talk to most everyone on my floor.

I’m glad I lucked out with my roommates and my floor, and that I put myself in a position I would not have in high school. Trying new things in college makes a difference in how you experience it, and I’m glad to say that just within this short time period I’ve grown a lot.

I did it!

To begin with, I did it! I made it through my first year of college, I didn’t finish as strong as I would like but I did make it. Under the many circumstances that I faced, I did it. And let me explain why it’s so astonishing to me that I made it.

I was with thousands of people who’ve had their lives set up for them by their parents and even their parents had their lives set up for them by their parents. I really didn’t know what to do because I didn’t have what they did, a parent who went to college, a parent pushing them, expecting the best from them. What I did have was my peers from all over California, students who have faced similar struggles early in life.

Unfortunately, some didn’t make the best decisions while they were in college, some partied too much, drank, smoke, skipped class, and every time they were talked to by myself or my peers they refused to accept our help. Then there are the students who put in so much effort but are still not able to keep up. School beats them down, and puts them down because the stress becomes so much for them that they think they can’t do it anymore. I know many of these students who wished to become doctors or engineers but are constantly reminded that it is not possible, that they are too behind.

I have had many friends terminated, suspended, placed on academic probation, or who have chosen to withdraw altogether. And it’s not just at my college, it happens at other colleges. I feel accomplished but also a sense of guilt that I can’t pull everyone else with me. I am not the student that does nothing but party, I know better than that. I am also not the student who knows everything they are supposed to do, but I do have help.

There are many things I wish I knew before coming to college. The best I can do is share that knowledge with the upcoming college students. I have completed my first year, I hope to help others do the same.

Summer Plans to Prepare for the Future

Wrapping up my summer in 500 words is possible however, it won’t fully represent how I feel about it. This summer already feels overwhelming.Trying to figure out my life is frustrating. I feel both physically and mentally exhausted. I haven’t had a break to myself. Right when school ended in May I began working the next week. I was going to work 20 hours a week at the El Cerrito Recreation Department but just this week my time got cut back to 18.5 hours because I have to adjust my schedule to our new intern’s; our time has to overlap so I can teach him the skills he’ll need to accomplish the tasks I was once responsible for as an intern. This will be the second intern that I will help mentor from EC STARS, which is pretty cool!

I want to accomplish so much this summer but I feel like I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself. For some reason I think it’s what’s best for me right now. I need to create discipline in my life to create a sense of stability and drive. In a sense I’m developing a goal. It may feel like my world is going all over the place but I’m holding on.

I want to work on myself this summer and not have to worry of what others believe is best for me. I want to shut those who bring negativity in my life out. It may sound selfish, but I’ve always put others before myself and I think I’ve reached a point where I can’t do that all the time. What about me? I need to learn to care for myself and learn to appreciate myself. That way I can live a happier life in which I can feel like everything is going to be okay not just once in awhile but every day.

I guess I’m doing all of this to grow as a person and to mature more. I want to be self-sufficient. I want to learn how to drive. I want to continue to bike 8 miles a day. I want to be who I’m meant to be. I want to keep the friendships I’ve made this past school year close to me. I want to do so much but most importantly I want to find myself and learn to truly love myself. Then I’ll be able to love those around me how they truly should be loved. It’s time for some soul searching.

It’s over! … Sort of.

I am astonished to say that my first year at Cal has come to an end. I never imagined one year to have as much as an impact on me as it did. I remember being unsure of my footing for months, stating that my major was undeclared and that I did not have a plan for my life after my time at Berkeley.

I searched endlessly for a major that could provide a future for me and not entail graduate school due to the loans I would have to deal with. I debated the following majors: an Economics major, a Psychology major, an Architecture major, becoming a business student at the Haas business school, and a Molecular Cell Biology major. I began to relate the majors to my person because, in my opinion, by debating majors, I was, essentially, debating who I wanted to become.

However, this semester, I realized that the answer was before me since the day I submitted my application to Cal. I needed to face the consequences my decision would entail – the graduate school, the loans, and the time needed. These factors could no longer play a role in my decision. I needed to achieve what I came to UC Berkeley to achieve. I needed to choose what would make me happy as well. Therefore, I have chosen to remain a pre-med student at Cal and major in Public Health. I eagerly await my next 3 years at Cal and the 4 years I will spend at medical school afterwards.

I want to thank the Edfund Scholarship committee for assisting me this year with my funds. The Edfund has helped make it possible for me to study at a fantastic university and work towards my dreams every day. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and what you continue to do for others in the West Contra Costa School District.

Bull’s Eye

When you begin college, you never really know what to expect. You’ve seen the movie cliches about the dorm life, about the crazed sororities and fraternities, about the never ending clubs, and about the everlasting friendships. You’ve heard about the treacherous finals and the sneaky midterms, about the long hours at the library and the wasted hours on the internet. You’re educated about what to expect in this regard – but do our expectations ever meet the reality of college?

When I began college, I knew dorm life would not be a choice. I would be commuting from Hercules to Berkeley because of its affordable advantage. Therefore, I could rule out the possibility of being a sorority girl as well.

I wasn’t saddened. In fact, I am not disappointed to this day. When I received my acceptance letter to Berkeley, I had one expectation in mind: get a bachelor’s degree. I didn’t know what I would major in or what I would want to become. In fact, I don’t exactly know who or what I will be after college ends. I don’t think any 18 year old can say for certain what the answer to, “What will you do after college?” will be. Instead, we all try to shoot an arrow in the dark – hoping it’ll hit a target.

I can’t say this tactic is the most efficient. It’s not – It’s much more advantageous to have a specific goal in mind. However, for those of us who don’t, a shot in the dark is better than no shot at all. I won’t say my choice of a major is a shot in the dark. I’d like to think I lit a candle before I let the arrow face the forces of gravity. I have an internship in mind for the summer to further hone my skills, and my resume, for the target past the shadows.

I’m not afraid of the next four years, nor am I afraid of the years to come after that. I’m ready to start lighting the candles to my target until I can hit the bull’s eye. And I plan to hit the bull’s eye.

Until next time,
Olivia

A Low Moment in Berkeley

Scholars, I’m sure that you’ve heard about the protests happening in the City of Berkeley, currently, I am torn apart.

On one side, there are the protesters that are making their demands and chanting to have their voices heard, on the other side there is the police, equipped with riot gear in preparation for a riot. To begin with, these opinions are of what I see and believe, though I have chosen not to view the protests because I do not support the way they will turn out, I have something to say about why it turned out that way.

People took to the streets wanting to their support for solidarity due to the recent events of the Brown case and the Garner case, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, once the police arrived it was the manner in which a few individuals acted that only called for trouble. At one point the crowd chanted, asking for the police to join them in solidarity, however, a few people were making obscene and lewd gestures to the police which would only instigate harsh actions. When the police requested that the protesters clear the roads for vehicles to pass and the protesters refused, the protest was declared unlawful.

A lot changed quickly, from the crowd asking the police to join them, to the crowd yelling out profanity towards the police. Neither side stayed without action, the police used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas, the protesters, or should I say instigators because they were no longer part of the crowd because they were the few ones tagging police vehicles, throwing rocks, looting buildings, and setting fires.

To say this, I am not fully informed, the protesters are not fully informed and the police are not fully informed. The fighting that ensued is the greatest example of “Us vs. Them”. Placing either side against each other. That is to say, the outcome of this protest was not peaceful in the least bit. But what upsets me the most is all those who are affected by the protest and not part of it. My friend called me asking me to stay the night at my room because the tear gas entered his room. Many homes have had their bins set on fire. This goes on. There has to be some else that can be done.

Big Game

For all the scholars here at Cal, you know what the Big Game is, for those of you who don’t, it’s the football game that Cal plays against our sworn rivals, Stanfurd. No disrespect to any scholars in Stanford or scholars aspiring to go to Stanford but that’s just how I was told to refer it to when talking about the Big Game.

Personally, I am not the biggest football fan. The first college game I saw against Sacramento State and it was a sweet victory. But football games are long and dig into a lot of time I could be using be friends on the weekend. Fortunately, everyone was going to the Big Game.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket for my younger brother and sneak him into the student section; he was pretty excited to go. The game itself wasn’t the best on our part, interceptions kept being made by Stanford and almost every touchdown we scored was placed under reviewed and for some reason didn’t count towards the points. People in the stands were pretty upset that we weren’t scoring and spread rumors that the referees were being paid off to make unfair calls. I wouldn’t know.

It was really fun teaching my younger brother the chants and the screams; he really liked it when the crowd created a loud humming sound to create a distraction so that Stanford’s quarterback couldn’t make the calls. I got to hand it to them, even though their crowds in the stands were small, they were pretty loud. However, loud doesn’t mean better. Our half-time was better, the marching band had phenomenal choreography and instrumentals and our cheers were better. You could feel the pause between vibrations, “GO!”… “BEARS”! It was amazing. My younger brother was glad that Stanford won, (he wants to go there), but it’s not all about winning.

Stay strong Scholars.

A few bumps in the road

I am currently attending Berkeley City College for fall semester and it’s been great. However, there were a few bumps in the beginning.

I didn’t realize that the syllabus was so important. IT IS. Reading it thoroughly was something I didn’t do which I regret not doing. I had to drop a class because of it. I thought I had done my part for the group presentation (I did) but I didn’t do other HW assignments that were specified in the syllabus.

I freaked out because it was barely the second week of school. How could I mess up so early and easily? I felt like a failure because of the decision I chose. Leaving my group the day of when we had to present to the class. I sent them an email two hours before the class had started saying something on the lines of I’m sorry but I am dropping the class; attached are my detailed notes for the presentation. Once again I am very deeply sorry. I felt like the worst person ever.

First of all, I’m not the type of person to simply give up on something. It’s took me a lot of strength to leave my group as well as dropping the class that same day. I felt like a failure and it made me doubt myself. I began to question myself. Was I ready for UC Berkeley?

At that moment in time I let one class define who I was. I let that one mistake get the best of me and I wish I would’ve not broken down but grab that situation by the horns and followed through. In the end I felt proud that I was able to make a decision that would benefit myself. I tend to put others before myself but for once I thought of myself.

I dropped the class before the deadline of receiving a W. Also after dropping the class I realize I did not like business. Every time the professor would ask the class what type of business do you see yourself running or what product do you see yourself creating? I’d go blank every time and I couldn’t think of anything. I’d end up thinking of other companies that already existed; nothing out of the ordinary came up in my mind.

Other than that one mistake I made everything else has gone great! I’m still learning about myself and one thing that I’ve enjoyed at Berkeley City College is meeting new people. I learned that I genuinely love meeting new people and talking about anything that comes to mind. These friendships I believe will last a lifetime. I’m going to miss them when I go to UC Berkeley in the spring. We’ll keep in touch for sure (promised a friend I’d swipe him in for a meal swipe).

Second Week of College

Hi all,
I wanted to share some of the things I noticed since I’ve been in college; but most importantly, the change I noticed in the second week of college while I was sitting in the lobby of Dwinelle Hall. Usually on the hour, every hour its hallway rush hour. Literally hundreds of people: students, professors, instructors and staff alike are walking across the hall getting to where they need to be. Its not the same in high school where everyone thought that time stopped for them and had the time to relax, take a break to relax and talk to their friends: these students are motivated and need to get to class because the instructor will not wait for them.

Berkeley time allows the students to have ten minutes to walk from one class to another on the hour. However, once those ten minutes are up, lecture begins, lab time begins, discussion begins: no one will wait for you. Fortunately I had an hour before my class began so I was able to observe everyone else. A lot of the students walked with a purpose, with such diversity: flip flops, cowboy boots, running shorts, black slacks, shirt and tie, shirtless, hair dye, shaved head, piercings and tattoos. A few commodities did prevail with everyone such as a backpack or purse with a book and laptop inside of each.

Once the ten minutes were up, everything began to settle down. There were a few late stragglers rushing to class as comfortably as they could, either walking or running but they weren’t nervous, or at least they didn’t look nervous. Once there were no people walking in the hall I began to look to the sides of where I was sitting and saw everyone either reading or on their laptop. I found myself reading an article for class and decided that today was going to be a good day.

My transition into the university

I moved to the dorm at UC Berkeley on August 23rd. My dorm is located about a hill, and it’s really beautiful here. My dorm is in a castle (a hall that is officially a castle which was built in 1928). It looks like Hogwarts from Harry Potter. Sometimes turkeys and deer come here from the hill.

I have three roommates.  They are really good guys.

My classes have started on August 28th. I have 3 classes: Astronomy, Calculus and History of the Ancient Empires. I really like my professors – they are interesting, even though not each of them explains the subject material very clear. The good thing is that you can always ask a question about some uncertainty, and you would get an answer.

I study a lot for my classes – much more than I used to study in my high school. There are a lot of pages to read assigned in my history class – the maximum number of pages was about 400 a week (which was last week). A really useful skill to have in the university is to know how to get the main points from the readings – because sometimes it’s just too much. My calculus homework is pretty straightforward, but it still requires a lot of calculations. My astronomy homework requires a lot of thinking; I’ve never taken astronomy in my high school, and it’s my first experience with it here. It’s actually really fun.

I’ve joined a chemical engineering club. It’s a great way to get acquainted with chemical engineering and learn what chemical engineers actually do. I like it!

I also go to the gym regularly and I play guitar with some of the new friends. It’s a really useful and fun way to spend time.

I like the food which is served here – it’s delicious! I meet a lot of cool people every day. I really like it here, and I don’t miss my home.