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University of California-Berkeley

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

My college education has equipped me with the experience and skills I need to pursue my dream: a career in pediatrics. Attending UC Berkeley has given me the invaluable opportunity to complete a summer internhsip at a successful biotechnology company, where I assisted in the development of vaccines for the Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and H1N1 influenza virus. Cal has also given me a chance to serve the community: I participated in a week-long service-learning trip to the Kumeyaay Native American reservation, where I explored the socioeconomic, historical, and ecological contributors to disparities in healthcare in this underserved population. I also volunteered at the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides free alternative medicine treatments to low-income women with cancer. My experiences at CMCC and the Kumeyaay reservation showed me the importance of accessible healthcare in achieving a basic quality of life and strengthened my determination to help make high quality health care accessible to everyone. My resolve to address the health needs of underserved communities has become a motivating factor in my pursuit of a career in medicine and the education I received at Cal has prepared me to succeed in medical school.

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My college experience has prepare me for my Child Development Career. My college experience obtains information I want to complete to be sucessfull in my Career. My college supports my financial aid needs. My experience guides me in the appropriate direction. My college supplies workshops which are important to building skills in my profession. My professors our leaders who encourge me in my career path. Each course I have completed has influence and empower my learning because the coureses subject relates to information I learn in the follwing fields Child Development, Chicano Studies, and Personal Skills Development. The courses relate because Child Development require Chicano Studies and Spanish 1-3 to earn a degree in Bilingual/bi-cultural and Personal Development is a skill that will allow me to grow in settings. Attending College has given me the opportunity to gain strong relationships with individuals of the community. The relationship I build at my college are the individuals I want to incorparate in my future Day Care business. My college eperience has made me excitied to know I will influence the lives of children through my education and I am glad to be strongly committed to a profession I enjoy.

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The whole college experience at UC Berkeley is an amazing memory. Berkeley equipped me for my next step on so many different levels. I received a high quality education that honed my critical thinking skills and helped me get accepted into Hollins' graduate program for Children's Literature. My college education has given me confidence to pursue writing. Through Berkeley's Education Abroad Program, I also had the opportunity to study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. It was a life changing experience, reconnecting with my motherland, learning Korean, and exploring Seoul with exchange students from all over the world. Berkeley's 'liberal' environment also helped me explore passions that I would never have pursued. I co-founded a dance group on campus called The Movement having never danced before. I performed for the Berkeley campus and surrounding community with my group, which opened doors to my first internship at World Arts West, a non-profit dance company in San Francisco. In college, I also made relationships that 10 years later, are still some of my closest friends. With these friends, I studied, danced, explored the Bay Area, and lived with together after college in San Francisco.

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Attending the University of California Berkeley helped me realize that living in a city like Pacoima (my hometown) exposes its residents to fight for environmental justice. While being a co-instructor at Pacoima Beautiful, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the creation of a healthy and sustainable community, I had the opportunity to expose students to the environmental injustices in Pacoima. While working in the Office of Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, I realized the lack of community involvement and awareness. My ultimate goal is to major in political science and go on to law school. Whether I become a politician or a lawyer, I want to bring change to my community. Limiting the negative advertisements, educating our community and encouraging individuals to pursue a postsecondary education, are just a few of the elements in my plan to change Pacoima’s negative stereo-type. One of the most successful steps towards creating change is education. I have observed how my peers underestimate their ability to succeed. Ultimately, I want to make sure individuals feel safe where they live, work and play. I know for a fact that with a thoughtful and committed group of people, change will come to Pacoima.

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Kid – I know you have been waiting to get out of high school, thinking college is the right place for you, and you are right about that. You will have plentiful opportunities to challenge yourself and test the waters of an adult life, at least if adult life were funded by your parents. You will have more freedom in academic choices, friendship, and family relations. However, you should also realize that those same arenas are ones in which you will undoubtedly have to learn from your mistakes. When choosing classes for the upcoming semester, consider your interests in addition to the requirements you need to fulfill. Sometimes those categories may conflict. Know that you are bound to perform better, and even enjoy studying, when classes provoke your thinking. Remember to balance schoolwork with extracurricular activities. You would be surprised how rewarding – both professionally and socially – joining a student organization or community group can be. Being away from your family will be easier if you involve yourself and make time to make friends. Pictures, email, and Skype help, too. Lastly, resist the temptation to do too much – you might be doing so at the expense of much needed rest and relaxation.

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I would encourage youth and adults to research the college, especially the programs. The program is the first priority because it must match up well with the student's personal goals and intrests. As I think there are too many people that attend schools for the prestige and because of parental pressure, I strongly encourage students to examine their heart to focus in on what excites them, what they're passionate about--even since childhood. I would then encourage them to seek the program that best connects with their heart and apply for that. There may be two or three colleges that have similar programs; in that case, there may be a first, second, or third choice, the order being determined by convenient housing, financial package, and academic and social support programs present at and near the school. In regards to making the best out of the school experience, I strongly encourage a student building a strong support system for themselves. This is done by way of being proactive with meeting/interacting with professors, staff, and students--not waiting for people to aproach, but doing the approaching, anywhere and at anytime. Talking to strangers potentially yields friends, access, and success.

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Berkeley redefines the paradigms within which its students live. Attending Cal means having your mind dissected, put under a magnifying glass, and examined, scientifically discovering what makes you tick. It makes you cry and sweat with stress, but if it doesn't kill you, it makes you that much stronger. Cal made me realize that I can be successful, but my classmates are among my competition. Between deciphering Gramscian texts and evaluating Supreme Court cases, I learnt how to challenge myself to work harder than my peers, not because I had to, but because I wanted to be the best. Because Berkeley ranks as one of the top universities in the world, opportunities for career-related advancement and social work are abundant. Coming to this school taught me to take those chances, to put in the effort to get the coveted reward. Finally, Berkeley introduced me to infinite social, ethnic, and political perspectives. I truly feel that I am becoming the person that I envisioned in my youth: adaptable, savvy, sensitive, compassionate, and intelligent. I love everything about Berkeley, even the disappointments and the difficulties, and could not imagine having had a better experience in any other school.

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At my high school, students of similar academic ability tended to be in similar classes each year. This meant that during the college application process — beginning with the PSATs sophomore year until senior year when college acceptance letters were mailed — the students in my classes constantly talked about their talents, their scores, and their ambitions. “How did you do on your SATs? What colleges are you applying to?” were questions students nosily asked each other. The hoopla made me feel inadequate. I compared myself to my current and future peers when I should have been recognizing where my own intelligence lay. This even influenced my college application process; I remember distinctly deciding not to apply to certain colleges because I did not think I was smart enough compared to others applying to those schools. I would tell my high school self how little the petty comparisons matter when you get to college, and that there are many forms of intelligence. I would tell myself not to worry that I would not be smart enough, because what matters is figuring out where your talents are and pursuing them. College gives you the freedom to do that — without the unnecessary competition.

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Attending UC Berkeley has given me the opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of worldviews and new perspectives. It has been exciting, but in the end, it has refined me into being more grounded in my Christian beliefs than ever before. It has been valuable to attend because I learned that at the end of the day, friendships endure, while grades will not. At Berkeley, you'd find someone on every spot of the spectrum, whether the spectrum is political, religious, economical, ethnic, and so much more. In and out of the classroom, it was wonderful learning different viewpoints and philosophies, and the reasonings behind them. Interestingly, all this made me even surer about my Christian faith, even though that might have been unpopular to do amidst the college atmosphere of "find your true identity." Things that strengthened my Christian conviction comprised of, ironically, my failures: missing a paper deadline but being given an A anyway by a gracious TA who didn't even look at my paper; failing to submit a difficult assignment but consequently having that be the first step towards being freed from perfectionism, and the support of countless Christian friends I made on campus. =)

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Learning is a proactive process. In order to succeed in selecting the right college and making the most of your college experience, you have to probe yourself and the material you learn. Find out where your weaknesses, strengths, and interests lie, and be prepared to shatter certain dreams in order to reach new aspirations. People often say to choose the college that best suits your interests and personality, but I believe that the best college will push you out of your comfort zone so that you can discover your passions and build character. Don't be intimidated; take control of your college experience by taking initiative. Surround yourself with ambitious and dynamic people, and you will find yourself lifted by them. Don't be afraid to ask controversial questions or to utilize the resources available at your school. Be persistent and think critically in your endeavors, and success will likely follow. Intellect and knowledge will take you far in life, but courage and responsibility will help you make the most of it. Don't waste a moment of those precious years; college isn't just about gaining the skills and experience necessary for your carreer--discover yourself along the way!

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