Cal students relish the summer experience

Ravi Shurma unlocks his bicycle to go to class. Most students at U.C. Berkeley, Shurma says, get to places by walking, however.

Ravi Sharma unlocks his bicycle to go to class. Photo by Jessica Meno

BERKELEY, Calif. — Summer’s in, but school’s not out for students at University of California, Berkeley. While most are enjoying the California sunshine or visiting family back home, some are staying on campus and continuing their education into the summer, whether that be through classwork or scientific research.

One is Wenyuan Bao, who is staying on campus to do research in a chemistry lab. “I have a research position,” Bao said. “I am working in the College of Chemistry, and work to create a curriculum for the new students.” He is a third-year student majoring in chemistry, and says that the university is living up to his initial expectations. “It’s good; I definitely learn a lot of stuff here,” Bao said. “It’s definitely not as stressful as you think, but you definitely have a lot of work. The professors and students are nice here.”

Another student, Ravi Sharma, is also majoring in chemistry, but is on campus to get a head start for his sophomore year. He has lived here for about a year and is using his summer to take more classes. Last year, Sharma spent his summer working at Amyris, a renewable products company that provides sustainable alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products. “I did a biotech internship. Went to a company and they made me wash their glassware,” Sharma jokingly said. He described the Berkeley college experience as fun and diverse. For him it’s not only about the classes; it’s about the people you meet and the new relationships you develop. “It’s pretty crazy; there’s always something going on,” Sharma said.

There are also many international students studying at Berkeley during the summer. Iris Cheng, a second year student from Taiwan, is here at Berkeley for a study-abroad program Takang University offers. She is taking English classes, which range from enunciation to pronunciation, in order to improve her language skills. “I want to try new things and practice English,” Cheng said.

Cheng, who has been here for three weeks, spends here spare time shopping with her friends at Union Square in San Francisco. She also said that at Berkeley she gets more creative freedom and has more ways to express herself that in Takang University. Cheng said, “I like it here. The atmosphere is relaxing.”