Summer 2020: It Hits Different

Posted by Boyang Li on 08-15-2020

In fact, this is the first summer that I spent entirely in the U.S.. Despite the on-going pandemic, I still managed to enjoy myself safely. I also realized how hard the next year was going to be after taking 2 summer classes on Zoom. Taking classes in summer might be a blessing in disguise as it prepared me well for the online semesters after the mental suffering it brought.


I took 2 summer classes this summer after the job hunt went unsuccessful: CS 70, the last class of the declaration trio so that I could apply for CS major before the fall semester begin and Anthro R5B, a writing requirement which focused on urban China development.

CS 70

This is the last class I needed to take in order to declare CS major, given that my average grade for the CS trio (CS 61A, CS 61B, and CS 70) is B+ or above.
It covered the basic probability theories in the second half and some interesting discrete math theories in the first half, including graph theory, RSA, and propositional logics.
I would describe the class as a bowl of salad – despite including a lot of fascinating areas of mathematics together, it feels like the contents were mashed together to create a class just for the sake of creating a class to weed out people. While the class contents were interesting, I did not score so well in this class – mostly because of a brand new method of instruction that took me a lot of time to get used to.

Anthro R5B

A very interesting class discussing the cultural, political, and even environmental aspects of changes brought by China’s rapid urbanization process starting around the late 80s. It is one of those classes that made me wonder if I should be a humanities major instead of an engineering one.
My final paper was on how and why the Chinese government was tackling environmental issues, and it can be found here.



Despite the seriousness of the virus, we still managed to travel to Tahoe for a short period of time (would be longer if we did not get kicked out by the Airbnb host for the most trivial reason).
It is known that people from Northern California only have one spot to travel to – Lake Tahoe. Now I somehow see the reasoning behind it after seeing how blue the sky was there.


I like to randomly create things. So during the summer whenever I am too bored, I come up with some plans and execute them. However, not every plan is appropriate, such as those doodles I created when I was studying for the CS70 final.

During the summer, I also came across the idea of creating a dye board for the house. I have never expected to have any artistic talent, but here we are.
We were even featured on Dyeislife, which I definitely consider as a highlight of my life.


There are also some nice views I encountered this summer:


Ducks in a small lake near Fremont, CA


Sunset at Berkeley Marina

The summer flew by quickly, and it was probably the only summer when I did not need to worry about anything. Although online classes tortured me quite a lot, I was still able to adjust my mindset and get ready for the challenges in fall. As Andy Bernard in The Office once said: “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.” I was lucky in a sense that I knew this summer was the good old days.