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Am I a Berkeley Man?

tikiman53tikiman53 Registered User Posts: 731 Junior Member
Hi, guys. Basically, I'm down to three colleges: USC with a half scholarship, Berkeley, and Duke (currently on the waitlist).

So I'm an Korean American guy living in Southern California. I'm interested in studying Environmental Studies and English in college, but I'm really open to exploring all my other interests. I'm more into the social science/policy aspects of environmental studies. What I want to do with my life is write fiction and maybe get a career in environmentalism.

I'm a pretty liberal, artistic guy. I love music and I definitely want music to be a major part of my life in college, even if I'm not getting a degree for it. I like the outdoors, but at the same time, being near or in a major city is exciting to me.

I'm not very career oriented, and I'm more of a follow-where-the-wind-blows type of guy, if you know what I mean. I don't care too much about making a lot of money or having a degree that'll wow people. I simply want to learn as much as I can in college without getting too many white hairs. That being said, I don't mean to say that I don't want to work hard. I have no problem with working hard or getting a few low scores, but I don't want to be hating life because I'm studying too much and not having any fun.

I'd like to party in college every once in a while, but I'd prefer doing other stuff with the majority of my free time. I want to meet interesting people from all sorts of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, people who have interesting ideas and hobbies and stories and who care about more than just making a lot of money or getting laid.

After reading my post, where do you guys think you can see me more? USC, Berkeley, or possibly Duke, assuming I can get off the waitlist? Do you think California's budget problem will be too big a problem in Berkeley? Do you think the benefits of a private school outweigh all the positives of Berkeley? And do you think I'd be tearing my hair out my scalp at Berkeley?

Thanks a lot, guys. I hope this wasn't too long.

I know you guys are all pretty biased, but from what I wrote and judging from my majors, do you think Berkeley is the one for me?
Post edited by tikiman53 on

Replies to: Am I a Berkeley Man?

  • excelblueexcelblue Registered User Posts: 1,840 Senior Member
    Based on your description, you sound like an excellent fit for the culture of Berkeley. The environmentalism is strong, providing for many opportunities to explore the field outside of academics, and the English department is one of the top ranked in the nation.

    The main thing about Berkeley and the budget crisis is that not everything may go your way, but since you indicated a bit of willingness to tough out the realities of life, the budget shouldn't cause too many problems.

    In all honestly, though, I think you should give all three colleges a visit and trust your gut feeling.
  • tikiman53tikiman53 Registered User Posts: 731 Junior Member
    Haha thanks. Do you think it is a significant possibility that I won't be able to graduate in 4 years because I can't get the classes I need because of the sheer size of the school? My Mom is really hesitant about me going to Berkeley. She said that the average graduation time was 6 years. I tried finding the actual statistic, but couldn't. Is that true? And what is the reason for this?
  • BlizzaPBlizzaP Registered User Posts: 301 Junior Member
    Lol its as if you wrote this hoping to have people tell you to go to Berkeley. You are a perfect fit man.
  • excelblueexcelblue Registered User Posts: 1,840 Senior Member
    Most people graduate within four years, and some even sooner (eg. 3 to 3.5yr).

    Only a small fraction take longer than 4yr, and most of them are in that situation because they keep on switching majors, taking irresponsibly light course loads, etc.

    However, considering your goals, even in the extremely rare case that you require 6yr to graduate, it'll be worth your time.
  • flutterfly_28flutterfly_28 Registered User Posts: 1,515 Senior Member
    Haha you will definitely fit in and be happy at Berkeley. And basically everyone graduates in 4 years or less so don't make that a concern.
  • whosthat1234whosthat1234 Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    You'll definitely fit in at Cal. Environmental science and English aren't too strenuous so I am sure you will have a lot of time to enjoy yourself. I don't know if this will impact your decision, but there is a pretty significant Korean American population here at Cal!
  • tikiman53tikiman53 Registered User Posts: 731 Junior Member
    Hahaha yeah, that's definitely a factor. To be honest though, my high school has a ton of Korean Americans and Chinese Americans too, and there is some major racial clumping around here. Most Asians hang out with Asians and people here are pretty racially conscious and stuff. Is it like that at Berkeley? Is it cliquey that way? Or is it just not a big deal?
  • clueless2400clueless2400 Registered User Posts: 477 Member
    no u are a tiki man! : ]

    that being said, i think u would love it here at berkeley. or wherever u decide to go but berkeley beecauussseee...

    1. there are a ton of other koreans and other ethnicities..it's VERY diverse. and that's what I love about it here.

    2. there are a TON of people so you're guaranteed to find people you like, have similar values, do similar things, etc.

    3. partying here is honestly very idk. like people go out together but only if they have free time and the parties aren't bad but it's not like people are ALWAYS partying. you find both groups of people. and people who find better things to do. as i said, it's very diverse as far as culture and socially

    4. the only thing is..u can't take a music class unless it is your major..unfortunately but there are a ton of opportunities outside of the UC

    5. i can't say just go to berkeley because i don't know what the other two schools are like but some things people forget about (i know it's not that important or whatever but..) climate (maybe the heat is too much for u..i LOVE berkeley's weather), population (i used to think i wanted to go to a small private school but now i know i love it here because i like to not be known by everyone i study with, etc.), blah blah blah
  • tikiman53tikiman53 Registered User Posts: 731 Junior Member
    I keep hearing all these stories about how Berkeley is so competitive and cutthroat. And then I turn around and hear about how Berkeley is so chill and liberal. Which one do you guys think it is? While academics are one of the most important things for me in college, I don't want to feel like I'm constantly competing with someone
  • rider730rider730 Registered User Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    ask yourself who is saying each proposition. The stories about cutthroat competition tend to come from those who have not attended Cal. It can ease the sense of rejection or help justify some other decision, it can help put down someone when it is learned they were offered a spot into a fairly selective, highly ranked school.

    Most students here post stories about the school having room for all kinds of people, about a good environment, not perfect but good enough that most who attend are glad they did. Out of tens of thousands, there may be an example or two of sabotaging, but there are many more exceptional cases of service, of brilliance, of parties, of social support, of tremendous spirit. Go watch the u-tube videos of the rallycomm leading the team to the stadium for football games and look at the band performances and card tricks. Does that look like a school full of paranoid, sociopathic backstabbers?
  • excelblueexcelblue Registered User Posts: 1,840 Senior Member
    Competition exists in the sense that not everyone is everyone else's best friend, unlike the small environments of some schools. In a sense, it is very similar to the competition you'd face in a job market or a large corporate office.

    You have to make friends; they don't just happen. If you don't make friends and are failing, the campus is simply too large to care. Meanwhile, everyone else also wants to succeed.

    The coolness comes from the fact that most people keep an open mind and are quite easy to befriend. They're here because they share similar academic ambitions and goals as you do; otherwise, they wouldn't have been admitted.
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