Pre-Cal Day Excitement – The Seasoned Campus Ambassador’s Perspective

April 12, 2024

I didn’t get a Cal Day. The admitted first-year class of 2025 and transfer classes of 2023 were the resilient classes, the transitional classes, as we entered a new sense of normalcy with the pandemic. I came to Cal without the Cal Day experience, no tour of campus, no committing on the Glade or Sproul Plaza with newly-made friends, none of that. Cal Day was new to me when I became a Campus Ambassador. The first time I heard about it was when I was in a staff meeting, and our Leadership Team began to talk about the Day’s festivities. It was a Cal Day in this new normal. The first Cal Day that happened on our campus since 2019.

However, there was this immense sense of excitement amongst the ambassadors. Many of us new hires didn’t know where this excitement came from, myself included. Yet, this excitement was contagious. The opportunity to welcome newly admitted students and their families to campus felt like regaining a sense of what was normal, the old normal. But, it allowed many of us to get the Cal Day we never experienced before.

My first Cal Day was in 2022, welcoming the newly admitted class of 2026; I remember getting up at 6 AM to set up an information booth right across the street from Caffé Strada. The Chancellor’s Welcome was held in California Memorial Stadium. Once it ended, thousands upon thousands flooded down to that information booth, and I got to meet so many newly admitted students and their families. In seconds, it was like I was a part of their journey as well, providing them with information about our university and learning their stories. I took these stories with me as I gave one of my first-ever Spanish tours, relating to parents and families on a new level. Many of these students are the first in their families to attend college. Being able to help reassure them that their estuidante, hijo/a/x would be okay here and there was support for them. It was such a rewarding experience.

My second Cal Day was in 2023, welcoming the newly admitted class of 2027. I woke up at 4 am to help the set-up crew assemble as many signs and information booths as possible. This day, I was in high gear, working all day in various capacities and locations. I met so many students, parents, supporters, and families and heard about the stories of how they got there. I was so happy to give a lot of tours that day and now run into some of the folks who committed to UC Berkeley on Cal Day after those tours.

I didn’t get a Cal Day. So, as a Campus Ambassador, it is my honor and privilege to make Cal Day the best day for a newly admitted student’s Berkeley journey. Cal Day becomes the first of one’s journey and story with the university. So, as I always say at the end of my Cal Day tours, what is your Berkeley story going to be because it begins right here?