Written by Michael Xia.


The 2020 Fall semester is halfway through and has been full of excitement and tension, with plenty of activity-packed events along the way. Here is a quick mid-semester review on some of the activities and events I have experienced throughout my unique semester at Cal so far (all taken with COVID-19 precautions, of course).

September 9: Apocalyptic Berkeley

If you were here at the start of the semester, you may have woken up to what seemed to be life on Mars. Back in early-September, I woke up to see an apocalyptic rust-colored sky in Berkeley, caused by a combination of strong winds and wildfires at the time.

October 6: COVID-19 Testing

Throughout this semester, I have also made sure to test regularly for COVID-19. Fortunately, there are many free testing sites on/near campus, the IGI FAST study having been my favorite due to its speed (took about 2 minutes and results came back in 2 days) and convenience (saliva testing). Note: The IGI FAST Study has ended as of 10/29/2020

Audrey Zhang from Haas Class of 2023 smiling after a successful COVID-testing (we both tested negative!).

October 17: Europeans Visit Berkeley

Additionally, I toured my friend Maxine–who I had visited during my study abroad in London–and 3 of her university classmates around Berkeley when they visited for the first time. Similar to me, her 3 friends had also attended international high school (Australia, Ukraine, and Norway), and so I was able to learn more about their country’s unique cultures and traditions.

Hiking with Maxine and her friends up to the Big C.

November 1: Haas Photoshoot and Among Us

Recently, I went up to the Haas campus for a professional photoshoot in hopes of taking a picture with Haas’s beautiful red trees and courtyard in the background. To my surprise, however, I arrived at the courtyard to see a few students studying in socially distanced desks underneath large white tents. Fortunately, my friends and I improvised and found some very scenic places around Haas to take the photos.

After the photoshoot, I participated in a GMP Halloween Family Photo competition amongst our GMP bigs and littles for the best pictures in “funny, spooky, and Tim Burton movie-themed” categories. My GMP family went for the funny category, photoshopping ourselves into an Among Us-inspired photo.

Remote Reflection

All in all, although the 2020 Fall semester is halfway through, I rarely ever have a dull moment as a Haas student. Looking ahead, I plan to continue to find more activities and events to experience at Cal to make the most of this unprecedented semester.

By Michael Xia

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/michaeldxia

Email: michaelxia(at)berkeley(dot)edu

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