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UC Berkeley: The Introduction (Post #1)

I realized that It’s been three weeks since I’ve moved up here to Berkeley, yet I haven’t even written exclusively about it. I’ve been documenting various aspects of my life here via photos and videos, and it’s time I start incorporating them with writing as well.

This post will be the first of a semester long, perhaps even yearlong, series about my experiences here.

Let’s start with the basics.

This is the map of the campus, as well as off-campus, campus owned facilities (which is a lot of land). Note: right click and click “view image” to enlarge.

Red: Where I live.

I am living in a campus-operated dorm called Unit 2. There are five Units, and a few campus owned apartment complexes. I live on the 7th floor with 34 other people. I’m living in a double; my roommate’s name is Sameer and he’s an international student from India. We get along quite well, and he’s an interesting character. I live in the far left building called Ehrman Hall, which is why I could see the bay area, the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate Bridge every day.

Unit 2 is three blocks south of campus. What’s interesting about UC Berkeley is that only one of the housing complex is actually “on campus.” Because of spacing issues, every other housing complex is situated one to six blocks around the perimeter of the school. A great portion of the housing is located south of the campus, thus my location being called “South Side.” “North Side” is where Units 4 is, and many of them are engineering or physical science majors due to their close proximity to north campus’s engineering buildings. Respectively, the southern side contains many of the Letters and Sciences buildings.

My next door neighbor’s view from her window. The San Francisco skyline is to the left, and the Golden Gate Bridge supports can be seen here. Note: right click the image and click “view image” to enlarge.

Purple: Where I mainly eat.
That’s the main place that I eat at, which is called Crossroads. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On Wednesday through Sundays, “late nights” are hosted from 10pm-2am where food could be ordered to anyone who is hungry. They host a variety of foods, most meager tasting [compared to UCLA’s food, which is godlike in comparison]. However, I’m lucky that I am still eating as healthy as possible, so good tasting food isn’t in my best interest anyhow.

Green: Where my classes are.
I’m a third year (junior) political science major. I’ve entirely finished all my lower division courses, so most of my classes are with juniors and seniors. I’m currently taking four courses: International Terrorism, Political Psychology, Political Science Colloquium, and Social Inequalities of the US.

My Political Psychology course (PS 164A) happened to be moved to the Haas School of Business lecture hall, the “best and most functional hall in the school” according to my professor. The outline of the course seeks to understand why politicians behave the way they do and say the things they say. In other words we’re analyzing what politicians do and why they do it. There are around 250 students enrolled in the class.

My International Terrorism course (PS 140), which is my favorite course so far, seeks to analyze the phenomenon of “terrorism” using a lot of interdisciplinary fields in an objective manner. In three weeks of lecture, we’re now finally starting to approach what is terrorism; beforehand, we discussed what identity and ethnicity was as a social construct. There are only thirty students in the class, making this class seminar-like.

My Social Inequalities of the US course (Soc 130AC) is currently my least favorite class. Not much blame could be placed on the professor, because I’m only taking this course to fulfill a Berkeley graduation requirement to take two upper division courses outside my major and to take an American Cultures course (thus the AC suffix). I’m not particularly enjoying the content of the course so far, and the professor isn’t incredibly engaging as well. There are around 120 students enrolled in the class.

Lastly, my Political Science Colloquium course (PS 179) consists of a guest speaker coming in to give a lecture a speech pertaining to political science. I’ve had high anticipations for this course because of the affluence of many of the guest speakers. To hear their opinions and how they differ or are similar to my own is fun. The class is in a huge, hosting 700 students in an underground auditorium in Wheeler Hall.

Orange & Blue: recreating the gym rat.
The orange circle is where the main gym is located at. It’s called the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) and contains three weight rooms, a load of cardio machines, five racquetball courts, seven full basketball courts, and a swimming pool. There are many other facilities throughout campus, including tennis courts, smaller weight rooms, grass fields, and more swimming pools. Being a member of RSF only costs $10 a semester and grants access to every facility. I [try to] work out here 4 times a week. The rest of my exercise consists of walking around campus, dancing (in my room or in the blue circle), or playing tennis (to the right of the blue circle).

So there you have it. Here’s a brief introduction to some of my new repetitive habits here at Berkeley: sleeping, hanging out, eating, going to classes, and exercising.

The next blog in this series will be about my dorm life.

P.S. Thanks to my fellow Cal Bear friend Kawai, I have fixed a small amounts of technical issues with my post, such as the number of basketball courts in RSF, how many blocks Unit 5 is off campus, and the likes.

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