First One in the Books…

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I rode my bike home today after my last final exam in something of a mental haze. For the last 13 days, I’ve spent between 10-14 hours a day studying for finals…at the number one public university…IN THE WORLD.

I still don’t quite believe I go here despite evidence to the contrary.

To say that my first semester here has been challenging is to state the obvious.

There have been negatives:

  • Being constantly mistaken for a parent, faculty member, or worst of all…professor.
  • A financial aid system that makes the IRS look like a beacon of compassion and customer service.
  • A housing facility that has paper thin ceilings and provides power to the units on an “as needed” basis.
  • A crippling pervasion of the imposter syndrome.
  • Freshman that are smarter than any other human life forms I have ever met.
  • There’s a murder or robbery in our proximity about once a week.

There have been positives:

  • Being constantly mistaken for a non-student allows me to navigate the tables at Sproul Plaza in record time.
  • I am currently unemployed and surviving THANKS to the financial aid system at Cal.
  • We live in an awesome one bedroom, family housing unit that is much less expensive than anything else we could afford in the east bay.
  • The incredibly brilliant and intellectually imposing faculty and support staff here have gone out of their way to remind us that we belong here. I’ll corroborate this after receiving my grades, but so far so good.
  • There are no positives to smart freshman.
  • We haven’t been murdered or robbed yet.

All in all, it’s been a ride. But a day has yet to pass when I haven’t taken a moment out of this frenetic pace and thanked my higher power for the fortune of being allowed to study at such an austere institution. It’s not BS…this place is the real deal and to be a part of something so incredibly vital to our country’s history and development is something I will never take for granted.

I love Cal.

 

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About Conversations With The Moon

Divorced father of two amazing young adults. College student, plodding away at a liberal arts degree. Formerly a Fire Captain and Paramedic. Dabbler in fashion. Liberal. Believer in Karma. View all posts by Conversations With The Moon

2 responses to “First One in the Books…

  • kingmidget

    All I know is that you continue to be an inspiration. That said, your comment about crime in Berkeley relates to something that has always baffled me about the city. I had friends who went to Berkeley in the 1980s. When I visited them I felt the city was more unsafe than the norm and my sense is that has never really changed. There’s an element to Berkeley that just seems … I don’t know … “lawless” is probably too strong a word, but there’s just something that seems unruly and untamed about the place in a way that places people at risk. It’s a shame.

    • Conversations With The Moon

      Thanks Mark! Yeah I have a similar strange cautious vibe about it too. In LA, it was relatively easy to sense areas that were sketchy. Here, on the surface, it all seems pretty suburban, but there’s a damn violent crime within a few mile radius of us nearly once or twice a week in areas that I would have otherwise thought were free of crime. It’s very strange. I feel less safe in the nicer areas here than I did in the crime infested neighborhoods of LA.

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