daily californian logo


Berkeley through the eyes of an anthropologist

article image


We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

NOVEMBER 07, 2013

By the time senior year rolls around, we’ve all developed our own unique relationship with our school and the surrounding city. The units might remind us of freshman year, and La Burrita might evoke memories of late-night snacking. But how might a newbie freshman view our campus? Read our satirical take on how a new student – acting as armchair anthropologist – might commentate on our beloved Berkeley:

One might assume that UC Berkeley, the top public university in the United States, would be like a state-funded Harvard University of the West Coast. Somewhere between passing the second Top Dog and the third Peet’s Coffee & Tea, you will realize that is not necessarily the case. What Berkeley lacks in harmonizing brick buildings, it makes up for in variety: South Hall looks as if it were air-dropped from Harvard, the Hearst Greek Theatre obviously time-traveled from the classical era and Dwinelle Hall is some weird phenomenon out of “Alice in Wonderland.”


Synchronization of architecture aside, students seem to love this school and see it as the center of the universe. Students affectionately refer to their school as “Cal” because there must not be any other universities in California.

Outside the campus, the city of Berkeley is a scary place mainly populated by pot-smoking hippies and, worse, liberally-minded students who shove flyers at you. Also, the streets are occupied by a colorful cast of characters, some of whom keep their cats on leashes, perhaps to make some sort of political statement.


UC Berkeley’s long-time rival is Stanford University, which for some reason is very difficult for students to spell. “StanFUrd” appears on social media and T-shirts much more often than “Stanford.” Berkeley and Stanford constantly attempt to steal the Axe from each other in a battle to prove that one school’s students are sharper than the other’s.


Moving from sports rivalries to the team itself, Berkeley’s mascot is a squirrel-looking creature named “Oski.” There are rumors that he is supposed to be a bear. He smiles too much and has no tail. We figure the squirrel must be the actual mascot of UC Berkeley because there is an actual Facebook page devoted to UC Berkeley squirrels.

cal squirrel

In addition to supporting their football team, UC Berkeley students study a lot. However, it seems they do not know how to show up on time. Berkeley classes are scheduled right on top of each other without any time between to get to the next class. Students often arrive at their classes 10 minutes after the hour. If only there were a scheduling plan that accounted for those 10 minutes …

Maybe more like fifteen minutes after the hour ...

Image sources: Downtown Berkeley AssociationBenjamin Chen, Randy LevineHairOfTheBear and Mike McGrath under Creative Commons

Jessica Rogness does actually go to Cal. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jessarogness.

NOVEMBER 07, 2013

Related Articles

featured article
featured article