Maximize Berkeley

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Updated in June 2024.

How to Make the Most of Your Time on Campus

Everyone is fully aware of UC Berkeley’s prestige and rigor. But UC Berkeley is more than a school — it’s an experience! Here are some ways you can make the most of your time on this campus:

1. Get involved outside the classroom.

Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), our official student organization, is independent from university governance and advocates for issues affecting the student body. You can get directly involved in enacting changes on campus!
If you’re not into student government, you can check out over 1,200 student-run organizations, resources, and programs. Whatever you happen to be looking for, you will find it here.

With the truly endless options, you’re bound to find a club that sparks a passion in you. If not, you can start your own!

Student Organization

2. Find a community that will help you excel.

The Centers for Education Equity and Excellence (CE3) ensure that nontraditional students succeed both in academics and in community-building. It’s home to a number of different programs:

No matter what walk of life you come from, Berkeley has a network of support and resources waiting for you.

Campanile with Flags

3. Give back.

UC Berkeley is renowned for its giving-back culture, and there are a lot of ways you can contribute to the community. Here are just a few:

  • Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) offers fellowships to students, so everyone has a chance to be politically engaged.
  • The Public Service Center helps Berkeley students get involved, with opportunities for both volunteering and internships.
  • Want to get out of the Berkeley bubble? Spend your winter/spring break on a service learning trip with Alternative Breaks, or spend summer in Washington, D.C. with Cal in the Capital (CITC) with a professional public service group.
  • Stay closer to the campus you love as an intern with a local grassroots organization or help East Bay low-income families file their taxes.
  • Do you love working with kids? Why not tutor middle school students in math or mentor youth in the arts or reading?
  • Don’t forget to check out the student-initiated projects as well, led by students just like you.

Public Service Center

4. Connect with a mentor who can help you navigate.

Berkeley Connect offers undergraduate students a group of peers as well as a graduate student mentor, which can be helpful at a big school like Cal. If you start to feel like a small fish in a big pond, Berkeley Connect gives you a space and community where you can find a sense of belonging.

Berkeley Connect

5. Keep your health up — both physical and mental.

University Health Services at the Tang Center are available to all students at UC Berkeley. Here, you can tackle a ton of questions or issues you have about your health, be it physical, mental, or insurance-related. You also have access to health promotion services.

At the Tang Center, you can find care specialized for the unique struggles you face, like drop-in sessions for LGBTQ+ students and health/financial resources for undocumented students. If you’re not feeling your best in any way, don’t be afraid to stop by and get any help you might need.

And, don’t forget all of the amazing fitness and wellness opportunities from your Recreation and Wellbeing membership.

Tang Center

Berkeley is indeed a huge pond, but it has so many opportunities and resources waiting below the surface. Don’t hesitate to dip your feet in and take advantage of everything available on campus. Make the most of your Golden Bear experience!


The first published version of this article was in 2019 by Nancy Duong, a Vietnamese-American first-generation transfer student majoring in English. This article originally appeared in slightly different form on Medium.

The article was updated on June 13, 2024 by Nina Takahashi, a second year majoring in film & media and minoring in Japanese and creative writing.

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