Picketers are our homies
On numerous occasions, you may find yourself walking to class, and someone will be yelling through a megaphone while a group of people chant some clever, rhyming jingle. It’s OK if said jingle gets stuck in your head and you belt it out like Queen Bey later that night to your roommate. It’s Berkeley, people protest protests (true story). Kudos to you, brobies.
Crazed homeless people
I receive golden pieces of advice from homeless people on a regular basis as I walk by them on the streets. For example, apparently, it would be a really, really bad idea to take a lawyer’s son with no car insurance out to lunch. Who knew? And then there’s that old man in the funky clothes who dabbles in interpretative dancing on Sproul and who I always try to meticulously study and emulate for my next dance party.
We’re pretty much all liberals …
“If my daughter goes to Berkeley, will she turn into a filthy, good-for-nothing liberal hippie?” Yes. She’ll probably grow out dreads and not wear shoes to class and shit. Just kidding. But seriously, mention that the trickle-down theory is dope, and you just might get slapped by a shoeless granola-eater with dreads.
… and hipsters, too
I was told, “Don’t turn into too much of a hipster up there,” before I left for UC Berkeley my freshman year. But I don’t really remember who said it, because I was too busy thinking about the greatness of Wes Anderson’s symmetrical style and how Ed O’Brien’s background vocals are magical on Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.”
Anything and everything goes
This stereotype is comforting: You can pretty much do and wear absolutely anything, and you still won’t be the weirdest one on the streets. You got a skin-tight leather bodysuit you’ve just been itching to flaunt because you know you got the bod of a god? Work it, girl, work it. Or boy — we don’t segregate. Berkeley lets you do you.
We care about food
There are tons of vegans and vegetarians here, which is totally cool, but it means you have to go live in the woods with nothing but a loincloth — so tell me how that goes. Just kidding. But not kidding about the abundance of these healthy, environmentally conscious eaters. Regardless of what you eat, there is definitely a foodie culture here, which is good for my constantly unsatisfied appetite — but not quite as beneficial for my upcoming Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot, for my version of foodie culture involves endless Cheese Board pizza and Ici ice cream.
Classes make our brains hurt
Everyone who goes here probably felt like a superstar at his or her high school and that he or she should be on Oprah because they’re, like, prodigies or something. Then you get that less-than-A grade on your first midterm and feel like giving up all career ambitions to lead a life of interpretive dancing on Sproul.
People say “UCB” stands for “University of Competitive Bastards.” Well, it’s true.
UC Berkeley students, bless their hearts, are more hardworking and ambitious than the average bear. This may lead to trying to one-up other students and comparing the merits of your extracurriculars to theirs. Haas-holes (students at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business) are notoriously prone to this behavior (given the nickname), and as a humanities major, even I get competitive when it comes to analyzing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” or something.
When in doubt, we try to be intellectual
Everyone seems to have something profound to say about that squirrel that totally just exhibited signs of Freudian’s discourses about everyone being nuts. Don’t worry, just study some random facts on Wikipedia before you go to sleep, and you’ll be set for the next intellectual conversation or debate you’re bound to have with your friends. But then again, we all think we’re intellectuals here because, hey, it’s UC Berkeley — of course we are!