We were sitting in one of our first lectures of sophomore year when a friendly looking lad sat down next to us. We glanced over at him briefly before continuing to stare blankly at the front of the lecture hall where the professor was setting up his PowerPoint.


We continued staring ahead, lost in a vegetative state.

“My name is Jen.”

She can’t possibly be talking to us, we thought as we turned over to the student sitting next to us. We found ourselves, however, faced with a grin and an extended hand.
Startled, we introduced ourselves and shook her hand. And then asked her something that unofficially wrote us off as upperclassmen:

“You’re a freshman, right?”

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“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind”?

At least, the Clog thinks that’s how most new students probably felt their first several weeks at Cal. Lost, alone, tossed around, weak against the forces of nature and this thing called LIFE … Then again, that’s our tendency to make things spectacularly overly dramatic — just because we can.

Well, good — no, great — news. New Student Services, a unit of the Office of Student Development and part of Residential and Student Service Programs on campus, has come up with a method to aid fresh-faced undergraduates in beginning their time here in a positive way: the My Years at Cal website.

It’s totally cool. It’s informative and chock-full of good stuff that any Cal student can really make use of, a resource that New Student Services has been working on, along with others, since 2007, with the goal of helping new students adjust to Cal well. It’s worth checking out!

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My Years - Home Page read more »

Freshmen from back in the day were way cooler, no lie.

Freshmen from back in the day were way cooler.

Responding to a question posed by the New York Times regarding how college freshmen have “changed,” professors from across the country weighed in with expectedly dismal pronouncements regarding the modern student’s ability to transition into independent life.

“Students are different now,” laments Linda Bips, a psychologist and assistant professor at Muhlenberg College. According to her, current college students were raised in an environment so as to become overly sensitive to failure.

“Our world is more stressful in general because of the current economic and political realities, but I don’t believe that the college experience itself is more intense today than the past 10 years. What I do think is that many students are often not prepared to be young ‘adults’ with all the responsibilities of life.”

The quotation marks enclosing the term ‘adults?’ That hurts. But perhaps not as much as what Bips has to say about the adverse effects of our apparent immaturity on professors like her, who are forced into “[assisting] in the basic parenting of these students.” Sigh. read more »

Tomorrow: Love on OskiThis might sound lame, but somewhere, deep down in our hearts where we buried our senses of innocence and nostalgia, we’re actually kind of excited for Cal Day. Maybe it’s that the weather always seems to miraculously turn out alright, or that the concentration of free stuff in the area is higher than usual, but whatever it is, we’re getting too damn old to pretend our cynicism overwhelms all positive emotion.

So dig out your Cal T-shirt and get ready to lord your Berkeley savvy over wide-eyed prospective freshmen (and their parents). It’s Cal Day (tomorrow), bitches! And in honor of our newly reborn souls, the Clog has compiled a short list of some of the day’s notable events: read more »

3006727124_e7bb19c18f… the following may come as good news or bad news. Or, you know, you might not give a crap, either way.

Nevertheless, we here at the Clog think it’s important to understand the biological makeup of our campus. Thus, here we are, telling you that in the fall you might see a few fewer freshman scampering through the brush and a few more transfer students slinking about. Thanks to a UC-wide freshman enrollment cap and renewed “commitment to inclusiveness,” transfer student enrollment jumped by a hefty 12 percent throughout the system.

Accordingly, freshman enrollment dropped, as did the percentage of admitted students who submitted SIRs. So what does this mean for you? Probably not a lot, but if you find yourself thinking that the fresh meat pickings are the teensiest bit slimmer when fall rolls around, you’ll know why. Or,  if you find yourself wondering why your walking paths feel a little less obstructed by large packs of confused chitlins, you’ll know why that is, too.

Image Source: Mikee Showbiz under Creative Commons
Enrollment Numbers Show Drop in Freshman, Jump in Community College Transfers [Daily Cal]
UC Accepts More Transfer Students [Daily Cal]

You know it’s getting time to sling out some line and reel in a new school of freshmen when the Berkeley news website starts putting up videos trumpeting Berkeley’s diversity and academic superiority and bureaucratic compassion, not to mention its, nudge nudge, gorgeous green lawns and peerless Californian sunshine. Observe! Sproul fountain spouts water. Also, people walk down streets.

Really, we applaud its ideals–among them the university’s emphasis on its holistic evaluation process, and the refutation of falsified impressions about the application procedure–but the video’s kinda the sanitized yawnfest you’d expect it to be.  But hey-at least there’s a nifty online aid Cal-culator to make it all better. Geddit?

Applying to Berkeley? [Berkeley News]

caldayAlready matriculated? Sure, Cal Day won’t have as much to offer you as it will to next year’s crop of puny freshmen, but damn if live marine animals and racing robot cars don’t sound the teeniest bit cool.

With that in mind, the Clog has compiled a shortlist of events that are – indeed! – worth the investment of your oft-wandering attention. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get in touch with your inner child at the Archaeological Research Facility. Or you could make a pot. A lot of the museums on campus will be open to the public too, so maybe dropping a live tarantula down the shirt of a loved one at the Essig Museum sounds right up your alley. The options are endless! read more »

As barely legal freshmen/doe-eyed transfers begin their classes, we figure many are wondering how to get by with a little help from those who are at least a year’s worth of tuition poorer. So allow this meaningless credibility to strongly influence your first semester’s experiences with these new-to-campus tips:* Do NOT ride the 51 bus line between Dana Street and Dwight Way. This covers two important points—avoid our dirty looks, and exercise your otherwise latent quads. By the end of the semester, you (or your love interests) will thank us for keeping up with Foothill residents’ thus far incomparably tight thighs.* Procrastinate! We’re probably the only ones who will ever tell you this, but since it’s inevitable that you will procrastinate writing/studying for at least one critical midterm, we recommend honing this enviable skill.* Don’t eat in class! We attend a public school with notoriously low-paid custodial staff. We don’t want to pick up your trash, and we especially don’t want to smell you crunch away on your Corn Nuts.* Stop stressing! As the handy flier from the toilet stall of Davidson Hall’s 6th floor told us long ago, stress can cause a number of physical ailments that can bring you and your precious GPA down.* We implore you to shower frequently and pick up your damn hair from the drain. Your RA will likely grate you about this later, but for the benefit of the floormates you’ll grow to hate for other reasons, just do it.Last but not least, seek out opportunities. There are a veritable ton of things to do on campus and in Berkeley for cheap or free:* Cal Performances offers 50% ticket discounts to all UCB students* The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies produces shows with ticket prices from $8 to free* Award-winning a cappella groups sing for free at Sather Gate* There’s free swing dancing (plus lessons!) on Sproul Plaza* Free Tree People-gawking near Memorial StadiumAnd don’t forget the innumerable chances to piss off our biggest fans—Berkeley residents—by just doing what you do: Exist.Image Source: Julie Himes, Daily Cal

So the university is able to preserve a historic landmark while the City of Berkeley struggles to save one of theirs.

The Chron reports that Bowles Hall will continue to be what is today—home to 200 testosterone-saturated, immature freshmen. OK, that’s not exactly what the Chron said, but that’s what we gather from the report.

In November, the Haas School of Business stated its intentions to take Bowles and turn it into some special educational center and hotel for 30 to 40-somethings.

“Other options are being looked into, but nothing far along yet,” campus spokeswoman Marie Felde said.

The Bowles Hall Alumni Association must be relatively happy.

The alumni association questioned where it was “ethically appropriate for UC, or any university, to replace the wishes of donors of yesterday with the wishes of donors of today.”

At least the donors are assured that the largest sausage-fest on campus is still going to continue on next year.

UC backs down on plan to convert dorm [Sf Gate]

We remember when we first got all that spam from Cal the summer before our freshman year.

If we remember correctly, we got shit from CalSO and the Alumni Association, a really shitty DVD and some reading list from the library.

It turns out the library gives the incoming freshman class a summer reading list as it has done for the last 25 years. It’s happened for such a long time that the Oakland Tribune thought it be nice to “do a little story on it”:http://origin.insidebayarea.com/ci_6076181.

The Trib reports that this year’s “reading list is about (oh no!) disaster”:http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/readinglist.php.

So, pretty much, UC Berkeley faculty and staff members suggest that you incoming freshmen read books about depressing topics or about men devolving into beasts or about how horrible the next natural disaster is going to be.

Some notable books on the list include the always horrifying “Lord of the Flies,” some “book about Teddy Roosevelt”:http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/readinglist.php/2007/05/30/the_river_of_doubt_theodore_roosevelt_s_ and “77 Dream Songs.”

How that last book is supposed to instill fear in young freshmen, we don’t know. We hope it’s good though.

Doom, gloom and survival: Welcome to UC Berkeley [Inside Bay Area]
Survival! UC Berkeley Summer Reading [UC Berkeley Library]

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