Starting up the spring school semester/quarter blog posts is Gavin. Hear what he has to say about adjusting socially at a big college.
My name is Gavin and I’m a second year student at the University of California Berkeley. Today I’m going to share my biggest challenge being here at Cal and what I’ve learned from it.
I came into Cal last year as a spring admit, which meant I had to start one semester later than everyone else. Going in I was extremely excited to start my college expefrience. At the same time, however, I was incredibly nervous and anxious because I was starting a semester late. I wasn’t sure how I would match up academically, but even worse, I didn’t know how I would be socially. I assumed everyone had already gotten to know each other in the fall, if not before that and I put a lot of pressure on myself to really get out there and be social. In the end I couldn’t handle all that pressure. Always having that in the back of my mind stopped me from being me. I didn’t speak with many people. I didn’t have confidence in myself and so I became pretty reclusive. Outside of class, the dining halls, and the gym, I was in my room. Of course I had other struggles acclimating to the academic rigors, figuring out what classes to take, what major I should look into, but talking to a counselor or advisor can really help with those problems.
This past fall I made a goal to just relax and be myself. I had a good course load and looked to join at least one organization or club. I ended up joining a mentor programming that my friend helped run. Although it wasn’t a club that was focused on networking between students, I was glad to have put myself out there and to have spent my time mentoring a fourth grader.
This semester I’m looking to build on my improvement. I’ve checked out some clubs and other campus organizations. I tried out for a dance group, and even though I didn’t make it, it was a fun experience. I’ve learned that it’s much better to put yourself out there, give it your best shot, and see what happens than to just sit around not doing anything. For me, college seems to be going by really fast and so I want to make good use of my time here. I don’t want to look back five or ten years from now and say “Man, I really wish I would have joined a few more clubs or made more friends.”
The best advice I can give is to take risks and to have fun. Check out clubs or classes that sound interesting and try it out. Do something you’ve never done before. Academics can be tough and stressful, meeting people and networking can be hard, but being active, doing the things that you enjoy, and discovering new things will make college an amazing experience.
–Gavin Li, Cohort 5