Goodbye Berkeley, Reflections on Blogging

08Sep06

[Some background: I’ve left Berkeley and will soon be travelling to the UK to begin two years of overseas study before returning to Cal to complete a PhD in theoretical particle physics.]

Well, the summer is just about over, and I’m overdue for my obligatory post saying goodbye (for now) to Berkeley and looking back on my first summer blogging. I apologize for the delay.

I’d like to thank everyone at Berkeley who made me feel welcome (Profs. Gaillard and Nomura, Anne, Donna, Olga, Chris, Matt, Badr, and even Prof. Jackson) as well as the surprising readership I’ve developed and the insightful comments they’ve left (as well as a few restaurant suggestions). I’d also like to note a couple of Berkeley things that I’ll especially miss:

  1. The Northside Farmer’s Market on Thursdays
  2. The Cheese Board (mm!)
  3. CU Sushi on Center Street
  4. The SPS BBQs
  5. Net Force, the Physics basketball team
  6. The view from LBL

There are, in addition, one or two things that I’m not sure if I’ll miss, such as the kid who spent his summer panhandling on Shattuck with his puppy, even though his gameboy and magic cards betrayed the idea that he was in any particular financial need. Though the puppy was especially cute and reminded me of my own dog.

I started this blog in June after a colleague suggested after graduation that I start a blog to share my adventures as a grad student in the UK. I blogged about being a Stanford student at Berkeley (an irresistible juxtaposition) as practice for the ‘real thing.’ I found, instead, that there’s plenty to write about as a grad student anywhere, especially when you’re walking around bear territory carrying a cardinal student ID.

As a measure of how the summer has passed on my little island on the blogosphere, Adam (whom I’ve mentioned here a few times) showed me this interesting statistic (link included):


My blog is worth $14,113.50.
How much is your blog worth?

For reference, Dave Bacon’s blog (he frequently leaves neat comments) is valued at $25k and Cosmic Variance is valued at $500K.

As far as my preliminary reflections on blogging, I should note that it is much more of a time-sink than I originally expected. This isn’t because it takes much to write a post, but rather that I get excited and want to write about lots of different things.

I caught myself doing things a little differently because of my blog: I found more encouragement to explore new places and would spend more time reflecting on what I observe. Writing things out has helped me frame those ovservations in different ways and flesh out ideas, even if they don’t end up getting published for public viewing.

In the long run, I’m not sure if I’ll blog publicly during my PhD years when I return to Berkeley. This is mainly due to the time that I could otherwise spend doing research and issues of grad student blogs. However, I’ve had some ideas about how to use a private blog to assist myself doing research

In the meanwhile, I’m excited to start blogging under a new title, “An American Physics Student in England.”



3 Responses to “Goodbye Berkeley, Reflections on Blogging”

  1. Hello,
    I have surfed on the net I have found your blog. It’s amazing.

  2. 2 Z.Y.

    just visited Berkeley this morning. It’s a bit different from what I thought. I can’t tell in which way, just different. I will go back to England soon. It’s a rewarding experience for being an international student.
    Make the most of your time in England.
    Best Wishes,
    Z.Y.


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