Berkeley Global Access student Christian Johnsrud shares his unforgettable experience.
There are certain experiences during one’s life that go into the “unforgettable” category. Either because it is a happy memory, a sad memory, or maybe a character-defining one.
Uncontrollably and undeniably so, some of these memories — but not all by far — might be replaced by others later in life, and that’s just natural. We live our lives by the day, after all. The beauty is that it facilitates the potential for more memory making.
For me, one of the experiences going into the “unforgettable” box is my time at Berkeley in the Berkeley Global Access program, and I am fairly certain that it will stay there for as long as I walk this planet. Or another one for that matter. I don’t really know what the future will bring.
As I now pack up, together with what seems like the rest of Berkeley, reality has started to hit. But what I will say is that when goodbyes are getting tough and emotional, the connections and relations made are real. I’ve made friends here I will have for the rest of my life, and I feel like that describes Berkeley perfectly.
Unifying culture and late-night activities
If you want to go to a university that is regularly ranked as the top public university in the world and has people from all around the world gathered in one place, Berkeley’s the deal. I have hands-down never seen such life, different cultures, and unity in a more diverse group of people — ever. Like, where else would you find a group of people at 9:30 in the evening (that’s pm for my internationals) dancing swing style and having a great time outside?
Point is, there is something and someone for everyone. If you engage in the social life of Berkeley, you will find what you’re looking for and never have an unwanted lonely moment. Grab a car, some snacks, and go. Oh, and bring your friends. That will make the experiences even better. :)
In addition to being the location of many renowned universities, California also has plenty to offer, experience wise. You have Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, and the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, just to mention a few.
My advice: Visit as many places as you can, explore a little, and use the “I don’t really need to check the weather because I live in California” vibe that’s going around. Just go.
Weekends are perfect for shorter trips, and if you’re lucky, you might get an extra-long weekend or two, depending on the holidays.
Following in well-worn steps
You know you’ve come to a place of academic grind (as well as social activities) when, as you walk up the stairs of the main library, you feel the worn-down marble steps having deep marks in them. Point being, the study hall will never be a place of loneliness. It might be silent, but you will never be lonely. Use this to further motivate you like it did me.
Oh, and also, there is a tradition during dead week that is somewhat original and breaks the rising tension of finals week within the same walls that you study. Ask a regular about it and have a fun time. :)
Exist and enjoy
Yes, these are my closing paragraphs but maybe the most important ones for that matter, so bear with me — yes, pun intended: Go Bears!
Being a student can be hard, regardless of where and when you attend. At least that’s my experience. Remember that you gotta take care of yourself first and then your grades, etc. It is fine, and quite natural, to have some moments when you need to just be you — nothing more, nothing less. To just exist. I’m here to tell you that if you need that during your stay, do it. Take that time. The university has great resources on all fronts, including its mental health department.
And just remember, enjoy it while you can. The time for me went by so quickly it felt like I had to go home before my adventure even began. I got some great memories, though, and a lifetime of experiences that I will never forget. So immerse yourself into anything that you find interesting — and then some.
Live life to the fullest, enjoy excellence all around, and have a great time. Maybe then you will end up with a memory and some experiences going into your “unforgettable box.” I can say with certainty that mine just got a memory that will stay for as long as I live.
Christian Johnsrud attended the Berkeley Global Access Program during the spring 2022 semester.
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