As a first semester freshman attending UC Berkeley remotely from my bedroom, I remember being extremely worried about a lot of things. Many of these were related to the classes I was taking and trying to navigate an online learning experience, but the thing that weighed most heavily on me was how I was going to meet new people.
Given that my smallest class had 300 people in it and lectures weren’t exactly the most opportune time to make friends, it seemed that clubs would be the only way to meet people.After talking to some upperclassmen I knew, I decided to apply for Berkeley Consulting where I heard that it provided the tight-knit community I was looking for, and also intellectually stimulating problem-solving. The process for recruitment was very straightforward and not unnecessarily stressful, and I could see that the interviewers strove to create a welcoming environment through providing detailed answers to my questions andaccommodating to any internet issues that arose. During candidate’s dinner, I was able to meet more BCers in a casual setting and witnessed first-hand the natural banter across different members: this really demonstrated the camaraderie of the organisation across diverse interests. Instead of being nervous, the friendly and, more importantly, genuine interactions made me feel very comfortable- even in an online setting. Hence, before officially joining, it was already apparent to me that BC was an organization filled with great people.
After officially joining, I met even more people in BC and was able to get to know them better. Equipped with some “newbie training”, I joined a project team for an important energy research group, and I learned a lot about the sustainability space! While I did not have any professional consulting experience prior, I was greatly supported by both my project manager and my fellow consultants. I never felt like I was struggling, or not contributing as much as a freshman, because I knew that I could always reach out to other BCers for help, and that my diverse experiences gave me nuanced insight into project work.Beyond the project I worked, I also enjoyed the virtual socials that were held biweekly and trainings that enriched my personal development- not to mention all the spontaneous online calls and gaming sessions!
Ultimately, what I’ve come to learn is that more than anything, BC is a tight-knit group of friends who look out for each other and that is something I have appreciated immensely, especially given the circumstances of this year. It has definitely been the best decision I’ve made at Berkeley so far!