UC Berkeley Students Share How They Made Friends on Campus
Students find community and belonging on Berkeley’s large and diverse campus
Students who are thinking about attending Berkeley sometimes wonder how they will make friends on such a large campus. A cross-section of students from a range of backgrounds answered the question: How did you find community? One theme ran through all the answers. The students got involved in something that interested them, whether it was through recreational sports, volunteer work, student organizations, or study groups. Berkeley students share how they made friends on campus. And provide leads about student groups and campus resources so you can too.
I would advise incoming students to be open to pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and trying out new experiences or activities to develop a community. I found my community through my volunteer work.
Akua Asantewa, Political Economy
You can find numerous opportunities to volunteer, participate, or take a leadership role in student organizations and student government through the ASUC (Associated Students), under Centers.
Begin to find your community within the school as soon as you can. Finding a group of people you can relate to and identify with is so important. They can give you moral and academic support when you need it. I met most of my friends during lectures, group projects, and volunteer work. Meeting deadlines for projects assigned by professors really brings people together.
Oscar, Political Science
If you just want a place to study with friends, to meet peer advisors, or to get academic tutoring, the Academic Centers in the residence halls are the place to go.
I was so lucky with my roommates and floormates in Clark Kerr (best residence hall ever). Two years later and we all still hang out and talk. I joined Greek life, which introduced me to hundreds of smart, empowered women, and great guys.
My freshman year first semester, I thought I met my best friend, but I learned that not everyone you meet and click with right away is meant to stay in your life forever. It was not until sophomore year that I realized who my real friends were that liked me for me, and not for something I could offer to them. Joining so many different groups and maintaining friendships from freshman year was helpful in getting through the ups and downs of college.
Obviously, not every moment at Berkeley is perfect. There are the sleepless nights and the stress of midterms and finals. Always having someone to talk to is so beneficial.
Farah, Society and Environment
The residence halls offer numerous ways to make friends through academic, social, and leadership opportunities. You can also get involved with the CalGreeks community and learn more about other leadership opportunities, such as student organizations and student government, through the LEAD Center.
Having a community is very important to me. I need a supportive and welcoming community to feel that I really belong here. I realized that no matter how hard some work may be, I can pull it off with good teammates. I mostly found my community by volunteering and participating in events hosted by the International Office, such as weekly coffee breaks or being an orientation leader. I also found my community through study groups with my classmates, and the Society of Physics Students.
Pairode, Physics and Computer Science
I participated in UC Berkeley Global Internships and interned at a biomedical engineering startup in Toronto over the summer. I learned a lot from working in my intended industry, all while experiencing living in a different country. I met a ton of people while in Canada, including other Berkeley students who were participating in the program. The experience has helped me improve the skills I’ve learned as an engineering student as well as exposed me to a different culture to better prepare me for the future.
Many of my closest friends I have met through the Cal Club Volleyball team. Playing for the team has kept me active, social, and busy. We have traveled all over the state and country together for competitions and have become very close. I have also become friends with students on some of the other teams through socials, mixers, and sport clubs events. Going to practice and being able to forget about school for a few hours while I play volleyball with my friends has been the perfect stress release for me.
The Native American community at Berkeley is very involved with one another and we’re very supportive of one another. I was able to live on the Native American theme floor, which created a residence hall community for Native American students. Living there allowed me the opportunity to meet other students who had the same background as me, and also connected me with the student-run organization, the Indigenous and Native Coalition Recruitment and Retention Center. This organization allowed me to step into a leadership position my freshman year, and allowed me to sit on multiple Chancellor’s committees on behalf of Native American students.
When you get here, I know it’s scary and I know it might seem like no one is there for you, but there is going to be a community here that is willing to support you and help you succeed.
You can find belonging through the Indigenous and Native Coalition Recruitment and Retention Center, the Native American Student Development office, and the bridges Multicultural Resource Center. There are a number of Theme Programs in the residence halls, including for women in science, students interested in the environment, and for African American, Asian Pacific American, Chicanx and Latinx, LGBTQ, and Native American students.
I found a community through the Cal Veterans Group. I wouldn’t be at Cal if it wasn’t for the Cal Veterans Services Center and the Cal Vet Group club. I am much older than the average student and I have a difficult time meeting people I can relate to. I have been able to tap into resources I never knew existed. UC Berkeley is much more veteran friendly than I ever imagined and I am grateful we receive support from the school. The best social experience I’ve had so far at UC Berkeley is the Hail & Farewell Ceremony in May where we welcome newly accepted veterans and say farewell to those graduating.
Laurina, International Studies
I met friends during class, in student organizations, and at different events. Student organizations on campus are a great place to find people with similar interests. That’s why I joined Student Ambassador for the Arts. I’m on the Students’ Night Out committee, where we host receptions for Cal Performances. Students can meet artists from all over the world and socialize with other students who love the arts.
Zhuo, Computer Science
You can meet fellow students who are interested in the performing arts through Student Ambassador for the Arts.
To learn more about applying to UC Berkeley, visit the UC Berkeley Admissions website.