5 Things I’ve Learned at UC Berkeley

As many of you may know, I’m wrapping up my last year as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. If you look back far enough into my archives, you’ll learn by my shock upon admission that never in a million years did I think I would end up at an institution of this caliber (I wasn’t even going to apply!) Needless to say, it has been a rollercoaster of a journey here that has undoubtedly shaped me into a stronger, more well thought out, and confident person that is ready to contribute to a better society. 

Here’s some of the things I’ve learned while being here:

1. Stay True to Yourself

I initially came to Cal wanting to pursue a career in Journalism, but was quickly met with pressure from myself to conform to what seemed to be the 3 pre’s of my freshman year: pre-med, pre-law, and pre-Haas (our business school on campus.) I fell into option # 3 and was swayed from my original career goals. It took 3 years of personal development and identity building to realize that my dreams and goals of becoming a TV journalist are valid.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

At an institution like Cal, there are people who have been more well-equipped than me for life at college. I felt intimidated by the countless resources others seemed to have had prior to setting foot on campus. Don’t compare yourself to others, as we’ve all been through our fair share of experiences that have gotten us to where we are now, which, in my case was UC Berkeley.

3. Know Your Strengths… and Weaknesses

Don’t disqualify your life experiences just because they’re different from someone else’s. What you have been through has uniquely shaped you into someone that contributes something special- something that no one else can offer. On the converse, know what your weaknesses are too- and work on them. I like to keep a running list of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ attributes of myself and reflect on them over time.

4. Find You & Do You

The college experience has fallen off the track it once was on in fostering critical-minded samaritans for society. Much of it today has becoming a breeding ground for the tech industry (at least at Berkeley.) I’ve found that college should also be a time for self-discovery and learning about who you are- skills that are invaluable to any career path. Once you’ve found those passions that make you happy, pursue them! In my case, I’ve found myself to become a more confident individual through learning about my Filipino identity. Find out what that is for you, go with it, and I promise the results will astound you.

5. Balance

This is one that I still struggle with. From academia, to extracurricular activities, to personal time, college is all one big balancing act. Balance is key to sustaining your well-being, whether it be socially, academically, culturally, aesthetically… you get the point. Learn to prioritize what matters to you and balance those things (Here’s a hint: yourself should be on the top of that list.)

My college experience has been one big personal development course. Outside of my professional work, I’ve learned to be a better person, both to myself and others. I once feared the post-grad world, but in looking beyond theories of political power and exponential growth, these are the lessons that have made me more confident to take on those next steps after college.