It's been 3 weeks since I arrived in Berkeley from Sydney, and it has been an amazingly jam-packed and fun couple of weeks settling in. There is so much to do exploring both Berkeley and the Bay Area in general - I can see now that I am going to be doing a lot of weekend trips to nearby destinations like Napa Valley, Point Reyes, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and so on in the coming months!
My first 2 weeks involved Math Camp (Accounting and Finance refresher classes to make sure you're up to speed for the semester) in the morning. I was pleased to discover that the professors for Accounting and Finance were both energetic and made the lectures entertaining - I never thought I'd enjoy learning accounting! :-) My afternoons were spent exploring Berkeley (or San Franciso) - there is so much more to Berkeley than I initially realised. There is the slightly quirky and unique Telegraph Ave area where tie-dye reigns supreme, as well as the cute areas along College Ave in Elmwood and Rockridge, Shattuck Ave in downtown Berkeley with its bars, and of course the Gourmet Ghetto restaurants of north Berkeley. My wife, Jacqueline, and I were happy to find a nice little apartment on College Ave in Rockridge so I'll be biking to class! In the evening, the socialising with my new classmates really got underway. They are a fun and diverse bunch, and we had a great time trying out the different bars around town, as well as playing some sport in the parks. One afternoon about 40 of us even went on a Taco Pub Crawl around the Mission District of San Francisco, which was a great way to see a cool part of the city. In amongst all of this, we also had the chance to visit Facebook in Palo Alto, and the GooglePlex in Mountain View.
Last weekend was the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park, which quite a few of us went to. Although it is a 3 day event, I only went on the Saturday and it was awesome. There was gourmet food and wine, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we rocked out to Ok-Go, Arctic Monkeys, The Roots, Girl Talk and many more late in to the night!
The past week has been taken up by Orientation Week, and it has been intense! Each day there were presentations on everything from the career search to setting up your computer to scavenger hunts around campus - the list goes on and they kept us busy. We also had talks from Biz Stone of Twitter fame, and Tom Kelley from Ideo, both of whom were very engaging and spoke about there experiences and how they are 'Students Always' and 'Challenge the Status Quo'. Biz has actually just been named Executive Fellow at Haas which is exciting. In addition to the presentations, a couple of highlights from the week were:
- 'Cohort Olympics' which involved the 4 cohorts competing in Olympic sports like cupcake eating and slosh ball;
- An Eighties themed finale party with more spandex then I've ever seen and an amazing cover band; and
- Tailgating at the Coliseum before watching an Oakland A's baseball game.
GO BEARS! ;-)