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Words of Wisdom for Incoming Golden Bears

Do you remember your first day on campus? Have advice for our newest Golden Bears this fall season? The final weeks of August mark the end of summer and the start of another school year. The UC Berkeley campus will soon be bustling with new and returning students, a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation for the new term.

August 24, 2022
by Josephine Thornton
Students walking towards the Campanile Elena Zhukova / UC Regents

This past summer, we asked Cal alumni around the world to share their Berkeley college advice for the incoming students. Whether you’re a first-year, transfer, or non-traditional student, welcome to the Cal community!

“Join the band!” —Carol ’79

“Berkeley is a magical place for discovery. Explore.” —Jonathan ’98

“Stand quietly in one spot anywhere on campus for a moment and allow this Berkeley experience to permeate your entire being, for it will be with you the rest of your life.”

—Joan ’55

“Be brave and challenge your assumptions and past learnings so that you can understand more fully the broader worldview, which you’ll need now and in the future.” —Denise ’75

“Ask for help when needed.” —Mieke ’92

“Give yourself permission to find yourself.” —Susie ’80

“Think carefully and critically about everything you are told or perceive, be quick to be tolerant, and be slow to be offended.”

—Ken ’73

“Study hard but take time to enjoy your years at Cal. It’s a great place to get your education. The years after you graduate will fly by. It’s now been 40 years since I graduated and it seems like it was only a few years ago that I was sitting in Sproul Plaza reading the Daily Cal.” —Jeff ’82

“Step outside your comfort zone and try new things—classes, foods, activities, types of people.” —Melissa ’03

“Even if you’re prepping for midterms or have a major test on Monday, be kind to yourself and take a breather on Friday night. Then, do a good share of your coursework on Saturday so that Sunday doesn’t become the dreaded all-nighter.” —Bill ’72

“Take a variety of different classes outside of your major. It will enhance your knowledge and give you an opportunity to meet and engage with different professors and fellow students.”

—Beverly ’77

“Don’t let your education get in the way of your learning.” —Vida ’76

“Cultivate wisdom in addition to obtaining knowledge.” —David ’82

“The spirits of your ancestors guide you. Make them proud and have fun while you’re at it!” —Tilo ’13


What advice would you give your collegiate self? Share your insight with incoming Golden Bears.

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