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Five UC Berkeley graduates pose together. Hey Zinah Photography

Alumni Advice for the Graduating Class of 2023

What advice do you wish you’d known when graduating from Cal?

June 2, 2023
by Josephine Thornton

Once again, it is that fateful time here on the UC Berkeley campus—graduation season. As the Cal Alumni Association began planning for this year’s grad season, we asked ourselves what gift we can give this new generation of UC Berkeley alums. And so, with your help, we connected with Cal alumni of all ages to provide the gift of wisdom and offer our advice to the Class of 2023. 

“Be kind to yourself. You just graduated from one of the top universities in the world! Take time to celebrate this awesome accomplishment!” —Anonymous ’20

“Do what you love. Listen to your inner self. Listen to your heart. Be open-minded. Believe in yourself. And give back to the community.” —Nour el Houdda ’07

Priyanka Sharma poses wearing her stole.
Hey Zinah Photography

“I would tell my younger self to explore different career options and take more risks! There are safe choices and there are choices that will become your passions in life! When you spend most decades of your life working, you will want to be in an industry and role that naturally fits who you are!” —Sandra ’97

“If you follow your passion, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Every day, you’ll wake up wanting to do what fulfills your soul, wins respect, and earns a living.” —David ’80, M.A. ’83

Mirthica Suganthan poses with a friend wearing her graduation stole.
Courtesy of Mirthica Suganthan

“Your whole world is ahead of you! The future’s so bright. Keep an open mind, remember there is no set path, and see the light ahead of you. With a degree from UC Berkeley, the possibilities are endless.”

Audrey ’07
A UC Berkeley graduate poses inside the library.
Hey Zinah Photography
A Berkeley graduate poses inside a library with his stole over his shoulder.
Hey Zinah Photography

“Be kind and compassionate. Do good, be civil, be aware of the needs of others. Have faith. As Spock said, ‘Live long and prosper.’” —Jean ’62

“Nurture your network. Spend five minutes a week sending texts to old college friends, connections, coworkers, just to say hello. It’s easy to think that you won’t have anything in common with people based on different career paths and majors, but you’d be very surprised at how old acquaintances can open a door for you in the future.” —Alex ’12

Bonnie Zhao poses with her graduation stole.
Courtesy of Bonnie Zhao

“Don’t take it all too seriously, change is always an option. Stay healthy to stay vital, make time for yourself. Put aside savings every month, whatever the size, and invest in the future.” —Jay ’72, O.D. ’79

“Follow your instincts even if you don’t yet understand the reasoning. Be bold, be relentless, and not just [in terms of your] career but in every aspect of your life.” —Daniel ’14

“Be proud of who you are, what you have achieved, and what you have yet to achieve!” —Yaamini ’03


Share your advice with the newest class of alumni Golden Bears.

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