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Why UC Berkeley alumnus Tyler Fredrickson will win "Survivor"

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MARCH 03, 2015

It’s not exactly a secret that UC Berkeley graduates leave this university with a wide range of skills. We know how to miraculously make it all the way from Dwinelle Hall to Etcheverry in a ten minute passing period. We know how to navigate public transportation like a boss. And we know how to … survive tropical wilderness with 17 other people for 39 days? Apparently so.

Meet Tyler Fredrickson, a former Cal football player who graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in film studies and totes a master’s degree in education also from UC Berkeley. If you were a college football fan back in 2003, you might remember Fredrickson for kicking the winning field goal in triple overtime to beat No. 3 USC. He also just so happens to be a contestant on the 30th season of CBS’s reality TV competition show, “Survivor.”

Even if you possess limited knowledge of “Survivor” and know nothing about Fredrickson, it should still be obvious that he’s going to win the whole thing. He’s a UC Berkeley alumnus, after all! As anyone with any sense knows, he’s better prepared than anyone to take home the title of Sole Survivor. We at the Clog came up with just a few of the reasons why being a Berkeley grad will help Fredrickson win those million bucks.

1. Immunity and reward challenges will be no problem after the madness of navigating Sproul Plaza.

Mary Zheng/File
Mary Zheng/File

When Fredrickson’s “Survivor” tribe is faced with physical immunity challenges, he’ll be more than ready. “Survivor” is rather fond of various types of obstacle courses, but Fredrickson had years of practice at UC Berkeley just by learning how to avoid flyers on Sproul Plaza. If you can make it from Bancroft Way to Sather Gate during the first two weeks of the semester or election season without feeling weirded out by preachers shouting at you, making eye contact with someone waving a sign at your face or being guilted into taking so much as a quarter sheet of paper, there is no obstacle you can’t dodge or overcome.

2. He’ll have no issues mastering the wildlife — he’s had plenty of practice with Berkeley squirrels.

Arya Aliabadi/Staff
Arya Aliabadi/File

Plain and simple: If Tyler can defend his muffin from a horrifyingly large squirrel, he can fight off any wildlife that might pose a threat during his time in the Nicaraguan wilderness. Berkeley squirrels are terrifyingly resourceful animals. They know how to get what they want. They’re not scared of people. And a combination of cunning and natural selection seems to have caused them to evolve into a new, supersized sub-breed of squirrel. Fending off these bad boys is no easy feat, especially when they’re after your food. Lucky for Tyler, he knows how to deal with pests who might roam into his tribe’s camp in an attempt to forage valuable resources.

3. Almost no food, sleep, changing clothes or being clean for an extended period of time?  That’s just Dead Week. 


Be honest. We’ve all spent more time than we’re willing to admit studying at an ungodly hour on an empty stomach wearing the same thing we initially put on two days ago. Who has time to do things like eat a full meal or shower during Dead Week? Fredrickson’s dealt with this before. He was an undergratuate AND a graduate student here, after all. Really, the survival aspect of “Survivor” is pretty similar to a handful of Dead Weeks condensed into a single five week period. And we don’t really see much difference between rationing out a bowl of rice per day and somehow finding the time to scarf down one bowl of ramen daily.

4. After Tele-BEARS, puzzle challenges will be a breeze.

Erum Khan/File
Erum Khan/File

We all know that no puzzle in the world compares to the mental stress of navigating waitlists, backup classes, registration times and watching all of your Phase 1 classes fill up days before your time slot. UC Berkeley students and alumni know better than anyone how to take what seems like an impossible nightmare of waitlists and somehow miraculously end up with a working full schedule of classes by the new semester. If that doesn’t make someone a puzzle master, we don’t know what does.

5. Manipulating his fellow players will be just like pretending to know what he’s talking about in papers or discussion sections.

Kore Chan/File

“Survivor” is a game of manipulation — it’s nearly impossible to win without lying. That should be fine for Fredrickson because he’s had plenty of practice during those stressful midterms weeks. He just needs to channel that feeling of accomplishment we all get when we don’t have time to do the reading for class but somehow still manage to say something intelligent in discussion section. Alternatively, he can tune in to the paper-writing skills he surely developed during his time here. He spent years here learning how to say something in just the right way where it would make him sound like an expert in a given subject, even if he didn’t feel like he was. Appearing prepared when you don’t feel like you are? That’s all practice in the art of deception, which is a necessary skill in “Survivor.”

Whether or not you’ve seen every episode of “Survivor” over the past 15 years or you’ve never tuned in once, we hope you’ll join us in cheering Fredrickson on this season as he undoubtedly destroys his opponents with his mad skills. Because if anyone has what it takes to become the Sole Survivor, it’s a Golden Bear.

Image Sources: Calvin22, yum9me under Creative Commons

Contact Kelsi Krandel at [email protected].

MARCH 03, 2015