Move-In Day is the best day of the year for Chancellor Carol Christ, who spent her morning walking the residence halls and greeting Berkeley’s newest residents as they adjusted to life at UC Berkeley.
“It is so exciting,” Christ said, as parents wheeled carts filled with linens, pillows, desk lamps and shower totes, while anxious students carried suitcases packed with clothes. “For everyone in higher education, this is the best day of the year.”
Across campus in the courtyard of Unit 1, Tommy Joseph, 18, of Thousand Oaks, was standing with his dad, Tony Joseph, as they mulled over how to fit all of the new student’s belongings into a tiny room.
“I’m a little excited, a little nervous,” said Tommy Joseph, an intended computer science major. “I’m entering a completely new time in my life, of independence.”
Joseph is one of roughly 6,400 first-year students coming to Berkeley this fall, and almost three-quarters of them are California residents.
The youngest is 15, and the oldest first-year admit is 28. Roughly 18% are from underrepresented minorities, and 22% have parents without a four-year college or university degree.
This year, Berkeley has distributed almost $230 million in financial aid to its undergraduate and graduate students, up $35 million compared to last year.
Among them is Marie Bellevue, 18, of San Marcos, one of 800 new students to receive a prestigious Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. On Tuesday, she was struggling to fit bed sheets on her twin bed in Blackwell Hall.
“I feel like it’ll be awesome to finally start meeting people and making friends,” she said.
The new students will spend the next week in Golden Bear Orientation, a class-wide introduction to all things Berkeley and the Bay Area that includes classes on safety, team-building exercises, meetings with advisers and a giant group photo in Memorial Stadium.
Jordan Jomsky, a third-year student and data science major who heads the Resident Hall Assembly, a student body that governs life in campus residence halls, said Bellevue’s attitude was exactly the spirit Berkeley’s newest bring to life on campus.
“Berkeley is where I found myself,” he said. “Berkeley is where I found out who I want to be. It can be a big and intimidating place, but that’s the point. That’s how you find yourself.”