Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Perspective and advice for college freshmen from a rising Berkeley sophomore

The academic year 2020-21 wasn't ideal for college students, especially incoming freshmen.  But the 2021 high school graduates whom I advised during their college application process made the most of it. 

This blog post will share the perspective and advice of a rising Berkeley sophomore from Belmont, CA, who found ways to pursue new and exciting opportunities even while attending virtual classes.  

Here's a summary of Milad's experience:

--He's glad he lived in the dorms, where he had a single room due to fewer students on campus.  It was a great way to begin a new chapters in his life and he also made good friends during the year.

--He took challenging courses: calculus, American Studies, a few freshman seminars, data science, programming, and the philosophy of science.  All were a step up from high school level.

--Second semester he joined the school newspaper's sports department and became a beat write for Women's Tennis.  He was a varsity tennis player himself in high school and this was a way for him to share his passion for the sport.  He improved his writing skills and met others virtually through his assignments.

--He also secured a position as a researcher in a developmental biology where he studied sleep patterns in jellyfish.  He gained designing and running experiments and in analyzing data.

Milad also shared with him advice to pass on to this year's incoming freshman class:

1. Spend time before school starts learning how to learn, that is, research effective study strategies.  Reading and going over your notes before an exam is no longer adequate he discovered.

2. Don't sit out of extracurricular activities freshman year or first semester.  Attending class and earning good grades are only part of the overall college experience.  You learn a lot from others outside class and you get to try new experiences to broaden your horizons.

3. Be sure to develop good self-care habits.  Set a weekly schedule for studying and free time; get enough sleep every night, and exercise/stretch/de-stress regularly.  

Here are links to previous posts with advice for freshman fall.

Best wishes to all who are matriculating at college this fall!

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