Each month, the English Undergraduate Association profiles on an undergraduate student in the English major in the “Humans of Berkeley English” series. You can check out previous profiles by looking at the Humans of English. This post also appears on the EUA’s own site.
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My name is Bailey Vega, and this is my first semester at Cal! I’m a transfer student from Taft, California, a very small city at the southern edge of the Central Valley. I attended Taft College for two years before receiving an AA degree in English and I am thrilled to continue my studies as an English major here at UC Berkeley!
My experience with Berkeley’s English Department has been so wonderful! When I arrived here, I knew the program was renowned and that I was in for an incredible experience, but I was also a little bit intimidated—part of me worried that at such a large university, professor and student interactions might not be quite as accessible as they were at my tight-knit high school and community college. To my delight, these concerns quickly dissolved. My professors are as brilliant and passionate as I expected, and they’re also so kind, amiable, and genuinely enthusiastic about interacting with their students. Each lecture presents illuminating interpretations and analyses that are simultaneously comprehensible and complexly insightful. Outside of class, I’ve spoken with and observed professors who go out of their way to have conversations with students they recognize from their large classes and students they’ve never met before. My GSIs and Berkeley Connect mentor are also keenly intelligent and dedicated to the success of their students. Listening to my fellow students voice their incisive thoughts in discussions has enriched my experience as well. I love being surrounded by so many people who, like me, seem to undergo a unique kind of adrenaline rush when thinking about literature. Through Berkeley Connect, I have had such engaging conversations with my peers, and I’ve found all the events to be community-building, helpful, and intriguing.
I think the EUA is a marvelous organization, and it’s something that has made me feel so welcome as a transfer student at Berkeley. During orientation week, I attended a panel hosted by members on the board, where each person shared their insights, tips, and honest experiences. Afterwards, a couple of members took a group of students to visit Moe’s Books—an exciting and memorable first experience that allowed me to explore a part of Berkeley’s culture I had been looking forward to. I was so grateful to find that the EUA was so willing to share their favorite literary aspects of life in Berkeley with new students and so eager to help acquaint us with our new environment. I’ve had so much fun attending the various events the EUA puts on, and it has also fostered a sense of community for me as I’ve been able to meet new students, engage more with my classmates, and chat with professors in a really fun setting. Even just being on the email list has been so beneficial as I’m continually made aware of the numerous opportunities available to undergraduates. I really admire that the EUA—made up of students who have just as much reading and writing to get done as everyone else—puts so much effort into helping English majors and creating an immersive academic experience for us.
When it comes to undergraduate students in the English Department, the English Undergraduate Association is a community touchstone for one of the largest departments in the College of Letters and Science at Cal. Since 1993, the English Undergraduate Association has hosted literary activities, provided opportunities to network, and helped English majors connect with one another. The EUA’s Humans of English series highlights the myriad stories of English majors in the department.