18 April, 2013

What Can You Buy With Your Meal Points?

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I have way too many meal points than it is necessary for a first-year individual. Usually around this time of the semester I try to think of ways I could spend some of those extra points. UC Berkeley has this policy over meal points to try to promote spending in which if you don’t use all your meal points by the end of the semester, you lose the points. It’s the use it or lose it policy. Under these guiding principles, I bought a yoga mat, a coffee tumbler, several minor sports equipments and packs and packs of candy. But now that it’s the second semester and I already have every fulfillable want fulfilled (along with taking on a low-sugar diet), I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to spend my meal points. There is a finite amount of space in my stomach. As my floormate Patrick Truong has said, “I’m just sad that the Golden Bear Cafe doesn’t sell XBox 360’s.”

I came up with a pretty neat revelation last night. Here is  what I propose:

I will swipe anyone in Berkeley in for a meal. But under either of two conditions:

1. You have something interesting to say or are an interesting person


2. You want to learn more about what I have to say

Let’s take these points to explain my motivations and your potential benefits.

1. If I could be grateful for any one trait or attribute about myself, I would be grateful for my curiosity  I love to learn and get to know more about everything I could possibly know. I also realized that from a personal standpoint, some of the best ideas I’ve gotten were from other people, and often over a meal. I’ll list two personal case studies among several.

One of them was swiping Carl Shan into the dining halls. I’ve been having a 1st semester slump and wasn’t too happy with my current trajectory. My friends recommended that I reach out to Carl, and almost out of a personal dare I decided to contact him. After swiping him into crossroads, we talked about different aspects about living a fulfilling life and he helped me sort out what I really wanted to do with my time here at college. I could not have been the same person without that dinner.

The other was getting lunch with Gerald Fong. I never paid for his wrap at Qualcomm cafe because he had his own meal plan, but it was the lunch date that counted. Gerald taught me what it takes to build a good network of friends and how to support this network through generosity and genuine interest in their lives and outcomes.

From these meals with other people, I’ve learned more about life than I ever did before, and it was certainly worth more than a coffee tumbler (or several). I want to learn more from you. Almost every UC Berkeley student I’ve met, I’ve had something profound to learn from, and in the end, we’re a really intelligent school! So if you have something that you want to say, let me know.

2. I am only human, sometimes all I want is someone to talk to. At the same time, I very much love making a difference in other people’s lives. Whatever it is you would like to know about me, I could tell you. If you want to talk about your problems, that’s fine too, we can figure it out together. I’ve made a personal commitment (from a good friend Alton Sun) that every person I meet, I’ll find 2 ways I could help them, either by giving advice, connecting them to the right person, or helping them out directly.

I have no particular expertise in any subject, but I do retain particular interests in psychology, sociology, philosophy, game theory, computer science, dating, and big ideas. So at the very least, if you ask me about something in these particular fields, I’ll have something to say.

In the spirit of the community, I also propose that other people who also have ludicrous amounts of meals points do something similar. As much as you would like to spend your exorbitant prices on yoga mats and sour patch kids, nothing is as rewarding as getting to know someone over a meal. Reach out to an old friend or help out someone in need. Buy someone late night, they will always be grateful for your generosity.

So reach out to me. Say hi, ask me for lunch and ask me to swipe you in, I’ll gladly do it! Let’s talk some time, about anything you want. I’m screaming here “I am an available resource! I am a free friend!” Because in the end, it’s either use-it or lose-it.

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