Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dennis Shem

Dear ILC Cohorts, I recognize that I am specifically addressing the new cohorts, but I can't help but also acknowledge the rest of the ILC who will also be reading my email. I hope that what I write is worth your time. Nonetheless, to the new cohorts who have no idea who I am: My name's Dennis Shem, and I just wrapped up my Sophomore year at UC Berkeley. I am (finally) a declared Psychology major, on the pre-medical track (which you will find is not a major, but a set of required classes), with the prospect of possibly pursuing a double major in Molecular and Cell Biology. Now that I've introduced myself by what I study, let me tell you that I'm an avid musician, I've been getting into photography, and I have almost 100 stamps at a local boba shop. Why am I telling you this? Because college classes are easy, college life is what's hard. There's more to life than just what you will be studying, or what you're hoping to have a career in. By no means am I downplaying how utterly destructive some classes can be, and many of you will have to figure out how find a way of studying that works for you at college. But that stuff is easy. You've been going to school your whole lives, and you will have shown that you have the skills to make it into a good University. I look back to high school, and despite it's faults, I feel that it DID prepare me well enough to get a foothold on the academics of college. Put in the the time towards your classes and you will be fine. I say this, because this past school year, I had a good system of how to study for my classes. What made sophomore year difficult was life. Be prepared to question everything. What makes college challenging is having to finally answer Life's questions. "Why am I studying this?" "How am I gonna survive after college?" "What am I doing this all for?". While it may be too soon for you to be thinking about it, you will be challenged by these questions and thoughts as you progress your way. Hopefully by the time I graduate, I will be able to have a good answer to those questions myself. Classes are easy, life is hard. Find friends who you can see as being life-long, and make sure to put aside time to invest in them. It's been said that at Berkeley, many students evaluate everything by asking "Is it worth my time?" and "How much time is it gonna take?". I'm imploring you to say 'yes, it is worth my time' to go have dinner with a friend, because friendships are some of the only things that will matter 4 years AFTER college. Also, pursue your interests outside of the classroom. Your interests are what real people care about. You now have the ability to pick what you want to do. I would suggest they be things that fall outside the category of "activities that will help me get a job". To keep from going too long, I'll stop there. As with everyone else, I'm available to talk about admissions, my major, or any other questions about college. Thank you for reading what this slightly jaded college student has to say about figuring yourself out in college. Yours, Dennis Shem

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