University of California - Berkeley Reviews
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Every newbie, whether freshmen or transfer, has encountered the many odd or befuddling Berkeley experiences. Like for starters, youre not allowed to question how stepping on the Memorial Glade seal can result in a cursed GPA; or how rolling down 4.0 hill can save you. I mean the joy of Berkeley time (every course starts 10 minutes late) can get trumped if you have a class at Dwinelle Hallwhich is infamously known for being a maze with concrete walls and a roof. The many quirks and myths of Berkeley naturally blend in to this place that so easily feels like home. The English department serves one of the top English programs in the world. The reason why is easily understood the second one walks into their first class and encounters a professor whose topic is not only highlighted by the course title, but by the way they are so impassioned and informed on the subject. These professors are truly some of the greatest minds in the world. They have written multiple books and continue to conduct research while utilizing student's input on their next project. Most often then not, you will find yourself reading a text where the author is right in front of you. World renowned authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Robert Hass are visiting lecturers every other semester and the department is always throwing events (readings, poetry slams, faculty panels, etc.) for students to attend. In attending this program, students definitely learn to be more confident in their ability to read, analyze, and argue on any subject matter. But most importantly, they learn to be more confident in being an English student, graduating as one, and finding a career where their skills come in to play.
I attended a California community college before transferring to UC Berkeley. My experience at both of these institutions was generally very positive and I learned a lot in these two environments. I appreciated the small class sizes and access to the professors while attending community college. I would often spend time in office hours, clarifying parts of the lecture, getting help with assignments, and just getting to know the lecturers more. The coursework at community college wasnt as rigorous as UC Berkeley and as a result, when I transferred, I remember initially feeling very intimidated. Taking classes with 200 students in huge lecture halls, going entire semesters without having ever spoken to the professor required an adjustment on my end. Additionally, since UC Berkley is a research institution, I took classes from researchers and it was sometimes apparent that teaching was not their main focus or passion. However, most of my professors taught great lectures and I learned a great deal with the support from highly competent graduate student instructors. I had access to incredible resources, the most recent research, and I was able to meet many motivated people in my discipline. The classes pushed me and as a result, my critical thinking skills further developed and my writing skills improved as well. Some of the classes I took required a volunteering component and now I work at a school that I initially volunteered at through a Berkeley course. In addition, the campus is truly gorgeous. I still take walks through campus and up to the Big C.
UC Berkeley is an amazing campus with endless opportunities; the biggest challenge is going out and finding them! Given the large student body, it is up to the student to create meaningful experiences for him or herself by joining campus organizations, attending office hours, and forming study groups. The classes are definitely challenging and the environment is competitive, but you just have to keep getting up every time you are knocked down.
The University of California, Berkeley will always have a special place in my heart. It is an experience that I will never really get anywhere else. I may go to more schools for graduate study and beyond but the undergraduate experience will stand out to me. It was the first time I have been away from my family for an extended amount of time. It was the first time that I lived with other people and alone. It was the first time that I had to make sure my home was well-kept. During those four years I believe I came out a different person than when I first set foot on campus. Meeting people of so many different backgrounds and experiences opened my eyes to the big world we live in. This is an area Berkeley excelled at because it is one of the most recognized universities in the world. The opportunities available to Berkeley students always amazed me. There were always plenty of career or academic opportunities. Additionally, there are tons of clubs and organizations that students could join. For the first time in my life I learned how to dance Salsa and be a part of group of people living in a house and making sure we sustained ourselves. Berkeley also gave me the opportunity to travel to Paris, something I had always dreamed of. I studied political science and I will always remember the stimulating discussions we had in class. The professors were all great and made me see new ways of looking at the world. What astounded me more were the students that shared my classes. In almost every class session, there would always be students who asked questions that assured me that only the best and brightest attended Berkeley. For those choosing to study political science, Berkeley has five different focuses: American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and Empirical Theory and Quantitative Methods. One can choose any of these areas to focus in. The political science program also offers a chance for students to intern in Washington D.C. for the summer. I personally did not get a chance to intern in D.C. but I only heard great reviews from those who did go. Berkeley is a great school and a great choice for those who are lucky to get in. It is a challenging school too however, and one must always be focused on academics here. Also, seeing as it is a huge public school with many students, one must do their best to navigate and make sure they are on the right track to succeed. I believe that if you can succeed here, you can succeed anywhere.
The Media Studies program at University of California Berkeley is comprehensive and expansive. There is a real emphasis on the history of media and how media progressed and shifted through different decades. There are no courses in this program that really address current media workings, like the evolvement of tech companies or how to best use social media at a company. This is because there is no data or research on such current media. I really appreciated the dedication and approachability of the department head. She is a phenomenal advisor and advocate for students; she will give honest feedback and express her true opinion.
When attending UC Berkeley, I didn't realize the caliber of the school's reputation or the academics. After I left Berkeley, it was evident the impact that being a Berkeley student has, especially while studying abroad. Besides the reputation, as a research and academic focused institution, the professors at Berkeley are all knowledgeable and passionate. There are many aspects of Berkeley that I did not enjoy difficulty in getting classes that I wanted, lack of support by school administration as a whole being a public school, difficulty in finding jobs/internships through alumni or school connections, competitiveness , overall, it was a great experience and a fantastic school.
UC Berkeley is a very unique university. Overall, I had a great experience for a top-notch college, where I had the opportunity to learn from brilliant industry expert professors, meet and make friends with individuals of all walks of life, and get to know myself better. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of such as large school, coupled with the extremely difficult curriculum, but pushing through this definitely made me a stronger person and taught me how to think differently and consider the bigger picture. There are classes for everyone; if there is something you want to learn about, Berkeley will have it.
My experience at UC Berkeley was very rewarding to me socially and educationally. UC Berkeley is a large campus and the owness to shape your experiences and journey starts with the student. It may be difficult at first to navigate such a large place with over 30,000 students, but step one is to say yes! In your first few days on campus there will be plenty of networking and welcome events. It can be daunting to go somewhere that you don't know anyone but is was by far the most beneficial way for me to find my community. I was able to find people who shared the same major as me and study with them for our classes. I highly recommend using all the resources available to you. There are career counselors you can meet with to help you choose your classes for the year and map out your career. There are free tutors in the MLK building to help you with your papers and classes you are struggling with. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using your resources and this will open up many doors. The difficult part is figuring out what resources you have available to you to begin with. Large classes are divided into two sections: Lecture and Discussion. This means that for every class you take, you will have two classes to attend. About 200 students will be in the lecture with you and the Discussion will be a deep dive into the content with a GSI. It is important to remember to build relationships with both the professor and your GSI as both will have a say into your final grade.
The Urban Studies program at UC Berkeley is one of the best in the country. The program is part of the College of Environmental Design (CED). Other majors that are also part of this college are architecture and landscape architecture. This progressive undergraduate degree focuses on both environmental and economic sustainability. Many urban studies students were initially planning on being architects. However, if you have an interest in politics, community development and/or social justice this program may be right for you. Urban Studies major cover a wide range of topics like transportation, policy, economic development, urban theory, etc. There are a few studios, but this major does not heavily focus on design. If you would like to focus more on design, architecture and landscape architecture may be choices. In the future, you could also pursue a masters in urban design. Best of luck!
The Media Studies program at UC Berkeley is transformative. Those interested in further pursuing their passion in mass communication should look into this degree program. The faculty is outstanding and there are many interdisciplinary curriculums that allow for expanded skillsets and newfound knowledge. There are various extracurricular activities that are supplemental (and fun!) for the degree such as KALX Radio, The Daily Californian, and Business Careers in Entertainment Club, just to name a few. UC Berkeley's location is quintessential for those looking for internship opportunities around the bay area as well, particularly in San Francisco. Lastly, the diversity of the student population makes for an inclusive and immersive experience at the number one public university in the world!