As a freshman here at UC Berkeley, I would like to share a few things I wish I knew before starting. I came from a small Catholic private school in the Bay Area known as Sacred Heart Prep to the big school known as UC Berkeley. This was an immense transformation for me. However, I am very happy to be here, but I want others to understand that college is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are good and bad times. Nevertheless, that is what makes it college! Here are four things that I wish people had told me before I began my freshman year.
1. You Can Eat Alone! - I cannot stress this enough. I remember I was always terrified of eating alone in the dining hall or at a restaurant, but know that it is OK. In fact, everyone does it and this has prompted me to go to the dining hall alone so that I can befriend fellow bears who are also dining alone. From doing this, I met a ton of amazing people. I know it sucks eating alone - but sometimes you have to do it because everyone is on their own schedules in college. It is not like high school where you and all your friends have the same lunch schedule, which is unfortunate.
2. Social Media IS a “Highlight Reel”- I remember my first few weeks of college I would look at my instagram, snapchat, facebook, and vsco to see everyone having an absolute blast at college. Tapping through stories, I felt so alone and had major FOMO. I felt forced to post pictures and stories in order to keep up with social media pressures instead of posting when I actually wanted to. It was only a matter of time until I realized that people posting are only showing the “highlights” of their college experiences - which is great, but just remember that everything isn’t what it seems. For example, how many of us have been guilty of posting about a fun activity while we’re actually in bed watching netflix with a cup of noodles?! What I’m trying to say is take social media with a grain of salt and consider doing social media cleanses for a few days every month for rejuvenation.
3. Your Grades/Major/Clubs Don’t Define YOU - This is very important. Grades in college, especially at UC Berkeley, differ a lot from high school. In high school, it was much easier to get an A than in college. However, just because you get a bad grade that does not mean you are dumb, or a bad person. It takes time to understand the teaching style, new studying techniques, and college classes in general. Furthermore, if we all received A’s would we even be challenged? College is challenging but you struggle with your friends through it which makes it a lot better. You are a great student and person, never forget that.
4. Take A Step Back. Smell the Roses. - As Berkeley students, we want it all. I know that I always want to do everything, whether that is academically, socially, or career oriented. But, it is important to note that as students... we can’t! Pick and choose the things you really want to do. Study hard but don’t just focus on your studies - make sure you take time to do other things you enjoy. For example, going out with friends, exercising, meditating, spending time with your family, or whatever your heart desires. College is stressful, but if you do everything in moderation the adjustment will be a lot easier. You don’t need to pull all-nighters, go out every single night, join every club on campus, and get every internship possible in order to be successful and happy.
These are just a few tips and nuggets of truth that I wish someone told me before I came to UC Berkeley. Freshmen year is very hard - mentally, emotionally, physically and more. Just know that you are not alone in the struggle and always remember to talk it out. It may feel like you are the only one struggling, but I assure you that everyone is feeling how you are or even worse. Joining BWIB has been an amazing way for me to meet, learn, and immerse myself in the Berkeley campus community. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such smart, powerful, and talented young women. Ever since my involvement in BWIB I have met some of my closest friends and this club has illustrated to me why I can call UC Berkeley my new home.
By: Keemya Bashiri