Top 10 Things You Need to Know as a Freshman at Cal


A2F’s class of 2022 presents to you incoming freshmen some top notch advice! My name is Cameron (English major) and I asked all my upcoming sophomore friends what advice they would give to you guys. Here are the results.


1. “Check for bugs in the salad” - Inez (Psychology) 

It’s a little known fact that the dining halls on campus are infamously unsanitary, but we students happily feign ignorance as we shove those delish cajun waffle fries into our mouths. Look forward to having some hearty meals with your pals everyday because Cal has four dining halls on campus, which are each located near a freshman dorm. And don’t worry, although there have been cases of creepers in the salad-and who knows elsewhere-there have been no fatalities so everything is absolutely fine! 

2. “Learn how to cook simple foods” - Kevin (Filmmaking)

Cal does this lame thing where they don’t guarantee housing for students after their first year, so most people have to move out into an apartment. Luckily, living off-campus is much cheaper, but you’ll definitely need to have some life skills like being able to cook and clean.



3. “Don’t take all technicals/STEM classes! (It’ll ruin your brain)”
- Jennifer (Society & Environment)  

For a healthy balance in academics, most people here take four classes a semester (five if you want to show everyone that you are really cool) and it’s usually a mish mash of core classes for your major and breadths you take with friends. Taking all technical classes that you need to do well in is like getting 100% sugar in your boba: TOO MUCH. 

4. “Know your resources: Berkeleytime, ratemyprofessor, course advice, facebook pages, etc…” - Daniel (undeclared)

There are many student-friendly resources online or on campus that can help you gain some useful knowledge on how to survive academically. One is Berkeleytime, which is a website that catalogs all of our courses, so that you can check out how difficult it is based on the grade averages. 


5. “Dead week is not supposed to actually be a dead week. Do something!” - Anne (Civil Engineering)  

So we have this phenomenon called dead week, which is an entire week before finals where we don’t have classes and get to do whatever we want - like study of course. Yeah, dead week sounds miserable and all with the whole “dead” connotation, but in reality you make it what you want. It could be a productive time where you sleep well, eat well and study with friends well or you could just do nothing. There’s no in between.

6. “Leave your dorm room door open” - Ryan (Mechanical Engineering)  

Dorm life is interesting. A diverse group of strangers all wanting to make friends. So leave your door open, talk to your hallmates throughout the day, and eat at the dining halls with them! 


7. “Learn how to use the bus lines ASAP! If anything, learn the 51B bus line, that takes you pretty much everywhere you need to go, whether it be a fancy coffee shop or a grocery store!" - Julian (Sociology) 

It’s inevitable that you’re going to get sick of the city of Berkeley and that’s okay because Cal provides every student a free AC transit card (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District), which allows you to use the buses for free. Instead of going to classes you can take a 1 hour bus ride to SF! Trust me it’s worth it. 

 8. “The nap pods on Moffit’s 4th floor don’t get cleaned until the end of the day” - Bryan (Biological Engineering) 

One thing you’ll notice about people here at Berkeley is that everyone is a nerd about something and if it isn’t obvious at first you just have to wait for that person to reveal themselves. That’s why our study culture is so fierce and why we deserve to rest our brain cells in some incredibly extra and futuristic “nap pods”. Moffit is actually one of the main libraries out of the completely necessary 32 others that we have-since we’re so fierce ya know-so feel free to go study there anytime! In my valuable experience though I’ve only gone to the library once during the summer to try the nap pods.  


9. “Don’t buy a gold meal plan” - Ryan (Undeclared) 

A gold meal plan basically gives you unlimited access to the dining halls. Realistically though, you’re not going to wake up for breakfast all the time, you’re going to splurge on the many eateries around campus, and will probably skip meals. Just go for the cheaper blue meal plan. 

 10. “Boba” - Cameron (English)

This last one is from me guys, so pay close attention. A highlight for me last year was trying all the boba places around campus. It was almost surreal finding treasure every block I walked and if you’ve never had boba then this is the place to be because boba culture is real y’all. To get the best boba near campus go to Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea or GongCha, but to be honest even though Cal is great I think SoCal boba is way better, so shout out to Half & Half Tea House (I miss you dearly)! 

That’s all we have for you frosh for now! Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments if this helped you out or if you would like to know anything else. Sophomores tuning out!  

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Cameron Opartkiettikul (class of 2022, Berkeley A2F) is an English major and knows the whole alphabet. If he wasn’t a college student, he would be a YouTuber doing an eating show (aka mukbangs) just so he can have an excuse to always get boba, lattes and watermelon.