Kristine Paulson

Kristine Paulson.jpg

University of California Berkeley

Gregori Class of 2013

Integrative Biology

Weighted GPA at Gregori: Above 4.0

SAT Composite Score (2400 Scale): 1750

Extracurriculars at Gregori: Volleyball, springboard diving, leadership, dance

When choosing between colleges, how did you decide amongst the colleges that you were accepted into?

Choosing between schools was hard, but I started by creating a list of all the things I wanted in a school; my major, sports, clubs. Then after going through the list of schools that I was accepted to I narrowed my choices down to my top 3. I then went to each school and took a tour and got a feel for the campus. Being on the campus makes a huge difference when making the final decision. Cal just felt right, and that's how I chose Cal.

What would you personally say are your school's strengths?

Cal is a one of a kind university. The location of the school offers so many opportunities for exploring, and research and community involvement. In addition, Cal is known for its rigorous academics so it definitely challenges each individual. Also the vast alumni network means that you will have connections all over the world.

How accessible are administrators, registrars, professors, teaching assistants, etc.?

Accessibility of professors is dependent on the professor you get, for the most part they are flexible with you f you cannot make their office hours. Depending on your class, you may have quite a few teaching assistants, which means you have multiple opportunities to meet with someone to help you. Registrars and any sort of paperwork take a little bit of time to meet with, but most people are either able to make an appointment or walk into the administrative building and speak to someone after waiting a few minutes.

What are the classes like? Are they more lecture-based or discussion-based? Do you often partake in group projects?

Whether a class is lecture-based or discussion-based depends on what kind of class you take. In my general chemistry class there were 700 students, so it was definitely more lecture-based, but that same semester in my English class with my 16 classmates we focused more on discussion based learning. Group projects were not as common in my college experience, but they did occur and a lot of the time you make your own study groups to help with homework, go over material or work on individual projects.

What is one thing that you wished you knew before you started at your university?

One thing I wish I knew before I started was how the system works. When you're in college and your class is graded on a curve, unless you get 100% on every test, you aren't as certain about where you stand in the class. Learning how the various ways a professor may adjust the class would help give you an idea about where you stand. Also just reminding yourself that everyone in your freshmen class is going through what you are, so if it seems like someone is adjusting more successfully than you, they probably aren't, they're just pretending that they are.

How would you describe the location of your college? (climate, weather, etc.) Would you describe it as a college town? (urban, suburban, rural) Does the location allow for activities outside of campus? (farmer's markets, concerts, etc.)

Berkeley is a true Bay Area climate. Summers are cool, September to the end of October is hot, and the winters just depend on if there is rain or not. Overall it's much milder out here than in the Central Valley. The town is an urban college town. There are so many places to eat and visit and get coffee, yet it's not like being in the heart of San Francisco and all those high-rise buildings. Outside of campus, there is so much to do! You could attend a concert at the Greek theater (right next to campus), or visit SF for the day. Oakland and Emeryville offer farmers markets and shopping.

What types of clubs are offered on campus? Are you involved in any?

Campus has so many types of clubs, really there is a club for anything you can think of. I was a social sorority (Zeta Tau Alpha), and I was on the cheerleading team (technically a club but you still have to try out like any other team). I also have so many friends in business clubs, and pre-health clubs.

Are you able to talk to your professors on a one-on-one basis? Are office hours available to help you with questions with course-work?

The best time to get in a quick chat with your professor is right after lecture. For more questions office hours is a better setting, or if you can't make those most professors can usually arrange another time to meet. Always go up and introduce yourself to the professor after the first lecture. They have so many students and they won't remember you, but once you make that initial effort to say hello, thank them for a great first lecture, ask them a question then it's easier to approach them the next time when you need more help with a concept or problem. Also if you are looking to go into more schooling (med school, grad school any other advanced schooling) go be best friends with your professors so you can get letters of recommendation and they know who you are!

If you are far away from home, do you ever feel homesick? How do you balance relationships with family and friends from home?

I was only an hour and a half from home, but that can be really far. I didn't make it home often so sometimes it was easy to be homesick. Technology makes keeping in touch with everyone much easier, FaceTime helps a lot, but also I met a girl from Modesto who lived on my floor freshman year and we became best friends. So when either of us felt homesick we went to coffee or frozen yogurt and just talked about high school and home and it just made it better because she knew what I was talking about. It's a small world, chances are you can find someone from your town wherever you go. Relationships with family and friends are tricky. Yes you are living on your own, but you still need to call home and check in, and if your parents ask you to do something you should still do it, don't just ignore them because you don't live under their roof. Your first year is a major adjustment, be patient with the process. You still have your friends even if they aren't right there with you, and texting or calling them and checking in, even if its been a few weeks/months proves that they truly are your best friends.