If other Berkeley students are anything like me, they went through high school taking the maximum amount of AP and Honors credits, doing sports and extracurriculars in and out of school, staying up late to finish every assignment, and living in fear of letting themselves–or the people around them–down by getting *gasp* a B! When I was admitted to Berkeley, I had a gut feeling that this was where I would end up, whether I liked it or not. I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by the amount of people and that I would never be able to succeed here academically. After reminding myself that (1) I’m a fairly outgoing person who just has to join clubs and continue to put myself out there and (2) that college is a place to learn from people who have been working in specialized fields for decades, I realized that I pretty much just had to come as I am!
Some of my friends tell me I have a great eye for aesthetics – a compliment I take with honor. Since I was a little kid, I’ve loved taking amateur photos, whether with a point-and-shoot, my iPod touch, or my phone, and making seemingly mundane things more exciting. I feel as though photos can make pretty things uglier and ugly things prettier. This may seem like a hot take, but hear me out. When you take a picture of the sky, specifically the moon and stars, it never comes out as beautiful as your eyes behold it in real life. Conversely, you can take a picture of something like trash on the side of the street in New York – yes, something as simple and brash as trash – and romanticize it. There is beauty in everything!
Being a live music junkie is easy in Berkeley, almost too easy. Being located in the Bay Area, a favorite spot for many artists, makes this the perfect city for concert lovers of all types. Whether you want to attend a small show at Cornerstone, conveniently located right off Shattuck, or you want to Bart over to the Civic Center in San Francisco for a rave at Bill Graham, the opportunities are virtually endless!
Being able to buy a ticket for a friend and I to see one of our favorite artists and know that, one way or another—bus, Uber, or Bart—we’ll get there and have the time of our lives is one of the best feelings! Some of my favorite memories of my college experience thus far have been at concerts with my closest friends.
Life at Cal can be rather stressful at times, and what better way to cope than with retail therapy? Lucky for the fashion forward student body, there are so many places to go and find a new favorite item. Or, better yet, a renewed favorite item! Consider this a go-to guide to all of the vintage, thrift, and small-business clothing stores around campus.
Indigo Vintage Located down Telegraph, this is one of my personal favorite stops. I will admit that it is one of the pricier options, but if you only go when you want to treat yourself, it is definitely worth it. The employees are always so kind and ready to help you find everything you need and make you feel SO good about yourself! Also, if you’re for any reason looking specifically for Harley Davidson, Disney, or wolf shirts, this is the place!
With the only Starbucks being at least a 10 minute walk from campus, students have become pretty good at expanding their coffee horizons beyond the world’s largest chain, but students still seem to settle on what feels comfortable and convenient. When it comes to coffee, and to life in general, you should never be afraid to explore! Here’s one gal’s review of a few places and recommendations for more!
Caffe Strada, conveniently located right across from Phoebe Hearst Anthropology Museum and easily accessible from Unit 1 and many Greek houses, is the first coffee stop for many visitors and incoming students, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it has a great outdoor seating area making it perfect for studying! Great vibes, but the coffee itself? Overpriced and subpar. I would also knock them for their customer service, as the employees never seem that excited to help you out.
Tired of your human friends? I get it, being around the same people can get old, even out of quarantine. But, gee, do I have exciting news for you! There are so many squirrels roaming campus just waiting for you to take a seat on the glade with a charcuterie board curated just for them!
Up in the trees or right at your feet, walking to your 8 am or getting out of your 8-10 pm midterm – these fun little critters can be spotted all throughout campus and at any time of day. If you’re really craving some squirrel time, I recommend heading to the Eucalyptus Grove. That’s where I made my first squirrel friendship and I have a lot of hope for you too! All you gotta do is make kissy sounds and your friend crush (the squirrel) will immediately hear you, see you, and love you. You may need to kneel down and pretend to reach out, but I assure you, you’ll have it’s attention. Boom. Friendship. I don’t recommend, however, getting too close to the squirrels or feeding out of hand because they are known to carry West Nile Virus and may not be able to tell fingers from food if you’re trying to give them, say, a peanut. The goal is to form a friendship from afar.