My exchange abroad at HKU has passed the 2 month mark now, and today I find myself caught off guard by pangs of nostalgia. I guess its only really hitting me now that after my semester in Hong Kong, my undergraduate career will be over. After I head back to the States, come Fall Semester 2012 I will no longer walk down Upper Sproul with my overly heavy backpack, 20 minutes fashionably late for class. I will no longer have to subject myself to cramming for midterms or procrastinating on papers, but I also won’t enjoy the satisfaction of celebrating with KKK at Music Tunnel KTV or pigging out on Cheeseboard, Gregroire’s and Ici’s with my dear friends.
I won’t be walking this May with my class for graduation. I chose to postpone my full-time start date to fly to China and spend more time with my elderly grandparents and learn more about my roots. While I will walk with K in the Fall 2012 ceremony, it won’t be the same. Therefore, instead of blabbing about my day I decided to compile a list of what I miss most about life at UC Berkeley.
Top 10 Things I Miss Dearly about UC Berkeley
1. My friends. You people are absolutely amazing, and I know I would not be the same person if it weren’t for each and every one of you. Cal has definitely been the breeding ground for my handful of lifetime friendships. While I’ve had my share of toxic friends or bad experiences, I thank those people for teaching me something important.
2. Community. Getting involved with Student Government, running for Senate, and leading as Chairwoman of the East Asian Union pushed me wayyy out of my comfort zone and instilled in me a greater sense of purpose. Those trials and tribulations taught me way more than just how to improve myself, but rather to think of a much bigger picture in respect to others.
3. Caliber of Education. Only after leaving Berkeley do I realize how lucky I was to have amazing Professors that prompted me to think outside of the box. In particular, the lessons I learned both inside and outside of the classroom from Professor Nanda, Professor Selinger, Professor Robinson, Professor Li & Professor Bhandari will stay with me for life. Word of advice for those still at Cal: Take advantage of Office Hours. Not every Professor is too busy to sit down with you, hear your story, and give you valuable life advice. Although I was far from the best student ever, I would attend OHs, sometimes just to talk. With Professor Nanda, that first chat when I was a freshman in her English R1B class led to a budding friendship where we would have regular lunch or dinner every semester, either in Santa Clara or near campus.
4. Culture & Unique Energy that can be found nowhere else. As much as I’m glad to be far away from creepy hobos that stalk me and crazy roaring old men, I have gotta admit that I miss Telegraph Avenue, T-Shirt Orgy and all those hippies/hobos. Maybe even wafting in the stench of all that weed. After 4 years, that smells a little like home.
5. Amazing Libraries and 3094809384 Places to Study. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually really miss Moffit and Mainstacks. I miss the Harry Potter-esque Doe North Reading Room as well as the Haas library. I miss the classrooms in Dwinelle where I spent countless hours doing case prep with Martin, Xumin & Mike, auditioning for singing contests, and teaching my Chinese Cinema Decal. I miss the foamy faces in coffee from Cafe Strada, and the chill ambience of Milano.
6. Food. I would kill for a slice of Cheeseboard right now. Same goes for a Chipotle steak fajita bowl with guacamole, or an ice cream cone from Ici’s. I miss Berkeley’s amazing and diverse assortment of good, and usually budget, foods.
7. Beautiful Campus. I miss the architecturally eclectic mix of buildings like Wheeler & Stanley, the Campanile, the weirdly numbered classrooms in Dwinelle, and Haas. I feel like the diversity really reflects our student body, hailing from just about everywhere around the world. Of course, I miss all the little stories and trademarks scattered across campus like the Whispering Bench and 4.0 Ball.
8. KKK, Kcon’s, & Singing. Berkeley really cultivated one of my passions: singing. The first time I picked up a microphone was senior year of high school, but it wasn’t until I got involved with Berkeley’s Asian club scene that I realized how much I enjoyed it. At Berkeley, I finally found a group of people who were interested in the same music, and loved to go karaoke. From hosting my first Karaoke Contest to competing and finally placing 2nd for both TSA & CSA’s singing contests last semester, Berkeley has taken me a long way in terms of cultivating my interest.
9. Opportunities. Despite the budget crisis and rising complaints about public education, I have so much to thank Berkeley for. The amazing club events that I attended opened my mind and allowed me to build a vast professional network. Callisto and Career Fairs won me numerous interviews and helped me land both my summer internship and now my full-time job offer. The strong Alumni Network and strong school spirit makes me proud to be a Golden Bear.
10. My lifestyle and identity as a Cal Student. Life as a Cal student wasn’t always easy, but I was always in the loop and exposed to the latest protest or political/economic issue. I learned to balance my time with my school work, extracurricular responsibilities, and my work-study job at the Berkeley Language Lab. I would karaoke with friends in El Cerrito or Oakland all night, and walk down to Parker/Shattuck to practice Bikram Yoga at Funky Door (when I wasn’t being lazy and pigging out on ice cream). I would go out to a bunch of professional development events on campus, and head to SF with Chris to catch the latest Couchsurfing social event. On some weekends, I would BART the 14 stops back to Cupertino to drive around my favorite suburb and hang out with friends back home.
Berkeley remains a beautiful memory. For those of you who are still there, cherish Berkeley, fight for Berkeley, and drink for Berkeley. Go Bears!