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How to enjoy Berkeley?

westyoungfolkwestyoungfolk Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
I am a freshman here and I've only been here for about a week. I am just seeking advice to make the most of Berkeley.

I was wondering what I can do to enjoy my time here. Berkeley is very big and I found it difficult to meet people just in general at frat parties or resident hall events. It seems like people are kind of clique-y here already and I'm wondering if I missed the window of opportunity where people settle into close friendships.

Also, I know it's only been a week, and I'm just looking for advice for the future as well as if this is unique to Berkeley, since I have been second-guessing my decision to come here.

Replies to: How to enjoy Berkeley?

  • Jweinst1Jweinst1 Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    Berkeley is a lot more than just frat parties. You should join a club or two your really interested in and meet people there. Explore things you never have before! Get out of your comfort zone. I never knew I liked swing dancing until I took the decal.

    You sound like a shy person, I think you should consider that in every lecture or discussion, you should make it your goal to meet at least one new person. You can't really wait and let people come to you. Ill be honest with you, Berkeley does have a lot of people who just like to study, eat, sleep and watch tv. Be forward and assertive. Don't be shy to ask someone for lunch or coffee. If there busy find someone else.

    Also, try to get to know your floormates, im a junior and i still hangout with them two years later :)
  • UpMagicUpMagic Registered User Posts: 1,410 Senior Member
    i made a lot of friends by meeting the people at the dining commons and say "hey, i've seen you in my math class, my name is..." and it worked. Just remember the faces that you see in classes and recall them when you see them outside of classroom.
  • montanamollymontanamolly Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    I hope you do not mind a response from a parent. My daughter was a junior transfer to Berkeley last year and has/still experienced a bit of what you wrote about. First of all, it is quite normal to feel overwhelmed and lost at any college. The first weeks can be very hard. Just know that you are not alone, and that with each day, things get better and you will begin to find friends and feel at home. It takes a couple of weeks for things to shift. My girlfriend's daughter was absolutely miserable for the first term at Michigan and now you cannot find a bigger Michigan fan. She ended up loving it. If you are in the dorm, keep your door open and meet the people on your hall. So many others feel like you do and would love to make friends as well. Talk to your RA. Go to the dorm events. If you see someone at the dining hall sitting by themselves, sit down with them. My daughter took a lot of meals back to her room as she was shy and did not want to eat by herself..... This is not a good thing to do..... The friends you meet in the dorm tend to be lifelong friends. Be open and friendly. Trust me, others feel just as you do and would so love an invitation to eat dinner with someone or just hang out. Calapolooza will be a fun way to find clubs that you are interested in. Get a Cal Rec membership and go work out. I think it costs $10. There are lots of exercise and sport classes. Wonderful facilities and people there to guide you. You will feel better and be out with people. There are also intermural sports teams to think about. Pace yourself as academics are hard, but you do need a balance of study and time to have fun. If you are working out, you will feel great and that affects your overall mood. You will feel so much stronger and better.

    My daughter joined a sorority and that has been a good thing for her. It has given her a beautiful home, friends and lots of social and philanthropic events to go to. I recommend joining a fraternity. If you did not rush this fall, I believe there is a spring rush too. That will give you time to get a feel for it and see which one might be a good fit for you. Rush may feel intimidating, but give it a try. It is also a place to make lifelong friends, and make such a large university feel less intimidating.

    I do not know where you are living, but get out and about. There are some nice cafes with lots of students on Bancroft - Cafe Milano and Cafe Strada are good choices. If you are out with people in a nice environment, you will feel less lonely. There are people there studying all the time. There is also a nice cafe at the International House.
    Pappy's has good hamburgers, La Burrita good burritos, Melt has good grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, and Top Dog for something quick.

    Go to the football and basketball games. Get a student pass for both. Part of the fun of Cal, is taking in all the traditions and history that surround you. Go all in!

    Lastly, there are some fun DeCal classes to take if you need an extra unit. As the other responder mentioned, try something that you have never tried before. Swing dancing does sound fun, as does playing the bells on the Campanile...

    Best of luck to you. You must be a very accomplished young man to have made it to Cal. I hope you enjoy yourself over these four years. They will go by faster than you can imagine. Have fun.

    PS: One last note from a mother...... If you are out late, please take the Bear Walk....... and keep your cell phone hidden away. Bear Walk is a wonderful service and my daughter used it all the time from the sorority to the dorm.

  • pegpeg3pegpeg3 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    I understand what you're feeling because I found Berkeley too big and overwhelming when I first arrived. I found dorm socials to be awkward and lectures to be enormous. However, like other people have said, finding a club or team can make you feel right at home! You'll find a small group of friends who share at least one interest with you. Check out a lot of clubs, not just one. Besides clubs, you can also join/form study groups or sign up for smaller classes (like decals or seminars). That's another way I found some of my best friends. I don't think there's any set "window" to form friendships with people. Some friend groups can seem exclusive, but you'll find friends anytime and anywhere!

    College is all about exploring and trying new things. Berkeley offers so many resources on campus and off campus. You may find this blog post helpful!


    Lastly, you don't have to limit yourself to doing things in Berkeley only. SF and Oakland are nearby and you can have fun day trips or find part time jobs there.
  • yauponyaupon Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    In addition to the good advice above, volunteer either on campus or in the community. If you don't already have a part-time job, that can be a good way to meet people as well.
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