The “Berkeley Plague”: Are you infected?

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There’s no denying that UC Berkeley students occupy a unique social, academic and cultural realm in this country. Elements of this environment inevitably seep into our brains and bodies as we settle into life at Cal, a phenomenon we have coined as the “Berkeley Plague.” While there is currently no cure, you may diagnose yourself using the following symptoms.

1. You’re perpetually running 10 minutes late.

It’s a well-established fact that “Berkeley time” can permanently alter students’ circadian rhythms, shoving every activity back by 10 minutes. Even during vacations, you may find yourself running a tad late for meetings with friends, dates or even your job. If you suffer from recurring tardiness, you are not alone; this is a perfectly normal symptom among Cal students. But when you do get an interview for that fancy internship this summer, make a conscious effort to arrive early; after all, waltzing in 10 minutes late is never the best way to emphasize the “I go to Berkeley” part of your resume.

2.   You’re still having nightmares about last semester’s finals.

Here at Berkeley, you’ve probably been confronted with a class that sends fear tingling down your spine. Just the mention of Physics 7A makes countless engineers’ stomachs drop, and it’s been said that organic chemistry always takes part of your soul. Chances are you’ll survive the class. But if Math 1B horrors are still hindering your sleep on Christmas morning or the Fourth of July, don’t be alarmed; after all, your lingering anxiety will soon be replaced with fear of a much more difficult class.

3.   Your leg muscles appear enlarged and nicely toned.

Some will argue that the walk from Dwinelle to Foothill is a mile longer than the trot from Foothill to Dwinelle. Whether you’re a dedicated triathlete or someone who vehemently avoids the RSF, Berkeley’s daunting slopes always make you breathe a little harder. But all this toil is not in vain; after a few semesters at Cal, you’ll probably accumulate some of the sexiest legs on the West Coast!

4.     The homeless man urinating across from VLSB doesn’t faze you. At all.

Berkeley’s boundless homeless population intimidated most of us when we arrived at Cal for the first time. It takes a few strolls down Telegraph or a couple rides on BART to get acclimated to this inevitable presence. But once you truly settle into the fibers of Berkeley life, few vagrant activities surprise or startle you. The homeless man contentedly urinating among the trees, the incoherent woman demanding “100 dollars” from a stranger on Shattuck and the cats on leashes all become commonplace in your desensitized Berkeley eyes.

5.     Moderately attractive people seem really, really, really … ridiculously good-looking.

Have you ever hooked up with someone at a party and been disappointed by his or her Facebook pictures during subsequent stalking? Or pulled a double-take to check out a perfectly average-looking stranger? You may be under the influence of “Berkeley goggles,” which Urban Dictionary attributes to the “UC Berkeley bubble, where a lesser amount of typically attractive people exist.” While this discrepancy is most visible to freshmen from places like Los Angeles or San Diego, older students gradually adopt a deeper, more holistic approach to understanding their peers. Others join the Greek system.

Image Source: Katherine Velicki, The Daily Californian