By: Ekaterina Fedorova

Recently, as I’m sure many Berkeley students can relate, I haven’t been LOVING the classes I need to take to actually graduate from this place. Or rather maybe it would be better to say they don’t love me. Either way, my relationship with my majors is questionable at best. After all, more than two years ago freshman me committed to Cal and decided, before setting a single foot on campus, to be a double Econ and Stat major. While I don’t consider myself at a point where I specifically regret this choice, I definitely have been feeling the diminishing utility with every additional class. Nonetheless, despite taking note of (albeit maybe not fully accepting) this feeling and having a particularly rough Spring semester, I very questionably decided to do the most and take a 23 unit Fall semester.

I would strongly advocate against trying this.

Seriously, unit caps exist for a reason.

Or at least these are things I should have told myself in week 1. Now obviously the title of this article is past tense so last week, the day of the drop deadline, I did drop a class. At this point, you might be wondering, why do I care? Why am I reading about this random person’s life? While I can’t answer that question for you, over the past few weeks I’ve had the best time meeting many new club members and if any of you feel at all similarly, you might also have a difficult time letting yourself pursue interests or classes that aren’t—by some messed up definition—productive. So, if anyone reading needs to hear it: please remember that spending time doing things outside your major and outside the realm of things potentially monetizable is absolutely just as important as whatever you might consider “real” work. For a long time (and still now, to be honest) I’ve had a really difficult time letting myself do fun activities. Sure, plenty of classes are both fun and material-heavy but being an econ/stat major doesn’t mean the only hobbies I can have are doing linear regressions. Being at Cal, sometimes I feel like I need to fill every single hour of my day with some sort of work. If I sleep for more than 6 hours, I feel guilty because, hey, I could have gotten some more reading done! Needless to say, that’s a deeply unhealthy mindset. As I’m sure most UWEB members do not need to hear again, many things in life have diminishing returns. And while it may be a conclusion I’ve come to from anecdotal evidence, I’d say it’s important to find the balance of schoolwork, “real” work, and outside interests that works for you. For me, deciding to learn how to play bass has been the best decision I could have made this semester and unsurprisingly it’s a lot more fun than stat problem sets.

The reality is that life is pretty long. From time to time (in the short-term) problem sets, essays, and other deadlines may take over your life, but as long as climate change doesn’t doom us all much earlier, don’t let a misrepresentation of productivity keep you from learning to play bass.

Disclaimer: I by no means actually have my life together and am not qualified to give real advice.

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