College Talk: Joy Chow

Joy Chow
UC Berkeley
Business Administration, Political Science
“Hey everyone! I love hiking, singing in the shower, trying out new cafes, exploring hipster places in busy cities, and high-quality conversations. I’m currently a freshman at UC Berkeley studying Business Administration with a minor in Political Science and Statistics! I think it’s really important to come into college with an open mind. At first, I was tunnel-visioned on the business track, but now, as I’m being exposed to more of the culture and people at Berkeley, I find myself intrigued in a wide variety of fields.”

1. Why did you pick the school that you currently attend?
Debating between UCLA, Duke University, and UC Berkeley, I was advised by many to make a pros/cons list. In the end, UC Berkeley had the most pros of all. Because there are so many factors to consider when SIRing to a university, it’s important to look at the entirety of your choices instead of focusing on a few factors. My tip is to consider everything; don’t let small aspects sway your overall decision. In my case, firstly, I knew that I wanted to be close to home, but not close enough so that I had the option to rely on home as a safety nest. UC Berkeley turned out to be the perfect distance: I couldn’t go home anytime I wanted to, but I was still in the same state. Secondly, I wanted to grow in

2. How is the food?
The dining food here…. in all honesty, isn’t the best in comparison to places like UCLA.(I don’t know, maybe they’re trying to discourage obesity) However, there is a pro to this— you won’t get the dreaded #freshman15. Also, remember you aren’t just limited to dining hall food. Berkeley is such a diverse community that it’s extremely easy and convenient to find good food off-campus. As an avid fan of Asian food, I was quite worried that I wouldn’t be able to find food to trigger my taste buds. I was proved wrong! There’s not only downtown Berkeley restaurants, but also Oakland and Chinatown in SF that are close by. Don’t let merely the campus food affect your choice of college.

3. It seems like I don’t have any extracurricular activities outside of school. I’m just in school clubs and volunteer at events offered by the clubs. Is there any way to find something meaningful to do outside of school? What did you guys do? Also, I didn’t get any awards and don’t know where to go to at least have an opportunity to earn an award (besides FBLA, TSA or any clubs like that) Do you guys have any suggestions? 🙂 I writing a senior profile for something else and seeing that I don’t have much to write about myself.. Please help out this worried junior!
Internship or any sort of work experience is a great way to gain more exposure to different fields. The most important thing, however, is to participate in things that you’re interested in.

4. How do I deal with being away from my family?
Being away from family is definitely not easy, but constant communication can definitely help. Be it through text, Facebook, or Skype, there are infinite ways to keep in touch with friends and family back home. In the beginning, it’ll be difficult. The transition will seem abrupt and foreign, but after a while, as you grow more accustomed to your campus and meet more people, you’ll eventually find your niche. Campus organizations are a great way to meet life-long friends that’ll help time pass quicker throughout the semesters.

5. Do you think you underestimated yourself when you applied to schools?
I definitely did. By not expecting too much, you prepare yourself for the unexpected. During the college admissions time, getting into universities felt like a huge deal. But looking back on it now, college is what you make out it. It doesn’t matter if you end up attending an Ivy League school or a community college, you can be successful either way based on how you make the most out of your educational experience.

6. What is college like for you?
I love college very much; it has helped me mature as an individual and become more open-minded as a student. It’s definitely more academically stressing, but it’s a great period to discover yourself. College is the perfect opportunity for people to try out things they’d never think to try. College is the perfect place to meet new people and learn about different backgrounds. College is the perfect time to truly figure out what kind of impact you want to create in the world.

7. How do you manage your time in college since you now have a flexible schedule?
Being busy makes me feel productive, so to-do’s list are an integral part of my everyday life here. Every day is different, but I allot certain days/times to certain things. For instance, on days in my schedule that are less class-heavy, I have my internship that I commute to in Oakland. On other days, I devote more time to catching up on schoolwork or preparing for future projects.

8. What were your thoughts on DB once you entered college?
Many people say that coming from DB gives you an advantage over others. It is true in some situations, but no matter where you are, there will always be people smarter than you and people, well, not as much. College is a new playing field, so don’t expect it to be the same at high school.

9. Would you recommend the east coast or west coast?
Personally, I can picture myself staying on the west coast in the Bay area. Having been in NorCal for almost a year now, I’ve really enjoyed the cultured vibe as well as the inquisitive people I’ve met. I think it’s the perfect balance between leisure and work/ food and climate.

Questions directed to Joy:

1. What if I don’t know my major when applying for college?
That is perfectly fine. Many people don’t know what they want to major in when applying for college, and even if they do, chances are they’ll change their mind. High school honestly does not expose students to real-world industries. College is the perfect time to really try out different things and get a better gauge of what kind of work certain jobs and industries entail. In college, you get access to clubs, experiences, internships, unique startups, thought-provoking classes that are hard to access anywhere else. Take advantage of that.

2. Why did you choose Berkeley over all other schools? What is the most appealing aspect of that college?
See General Question #1. Another tip: make sure you visit the colleges you’re debating between before you decide. When I visited UC Berkeley, I loved everything about it. There’s this misconception that the campus is filled with a bunch of liberals that are out-spoken and super opinionated, but being here for a while, you’ll realize that it’s not the case. There are protest groups, but that just demonstrates the type of enthusiasm and passion students have for their interests.