Berkeley is big, it is a great acedemic institution, it is a cool place to be...
once you get used to it that is.
It has one of the most recongizable name in the country, if not the world. That means that anywhere you go, europe... china... or whatever, a Berkeley Degree will open doors. It's reputation is universally known.
However, like many people have said before, this is really a sink or swim place. Professors expects you to work hard, the work load is insane in ANY major (yes i know the EECS guys often brags and waine about their EE stuff, but even as a Poli Sci student I have about 400-500 pages of heavy reading to go through per week on average, more sometimes) And because everyone in your classes are bright, hard work is what counts here, if you don't put in the effort, you won't do well in class, that's a fact. I guess this is why Berkeley prepare you for real world so well, it instill into its graduates a sense of self sufficiency and good work ethics. Couple that will good brains, you have a proven formula to a successful life.
Campus can be very overwhelming, people in general are superfacially friendly, in my opinion it is very hard to make good friends at Cal, mainly because so many people spend so much time studying and worrying about their grades. You'll find a general sense of school pride and arrogorance, lot's of people here geniunely think they're smarter then kids at just about every other universities.
As for social life, there is some, but you have to actively go out and find it. Because it is such a big campus and meeting people can be challanging, a lot of folks though social life don't exist, which is not true. Acedemically rigious or not, it is a college and people party and do the college thing. On the girls issue... yes, most girls are ugly, but some are pretty hot, although the hot ones are usually bitchy and/or have boyfriends that are way older or somewhere else... but hey, if you're at Cal, you probably don't have time for a serious relationship anyway. Furthermore, going out to shops and resturants are great here, there are a lot of small and unique places to go, however, Berkeley by in large is an expensive place: Rent is sky high, there's no place to park and stuff cost more in general. So be prepare to fork out some dough if u want an eventful life.
Still, all in all, Berkeley is worth it, it really is. It's not a place where you can chill and mellow out and things and support will come to you. But then again, what part of life is?