Things your campus tour guide didn’t tell you

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Lorenz Gonzales/File

Now that summer classes are kicking into gear, new and old students are flocking to campus. But as many of the returning students know, the new students are about to see those campus tour guides didn’t tell them a whole lot. Have no fear, I am here for you.

  1. The Wi-Fi is mediocre. AirBears2 will soon become your most used Wi-Fi network, but just because it is your most-used does not guarantee that it is your most reliable. The campuswide Wi-Fi is patchy on many areas of campus, and at times when students are bombarding the system, painfully slow. The good news? Many coffee shops and food places near campus offer free Wi-Fi, so you can mosey off campus and get some quality snacks with some quality internet.
  1. The site Berkeleytime.com will be your best friend – if you don’t know, now you know, and you’re welcome. This website will show you the ratings of classes, their degree of difficulty and the average grade received before you enroll in them. The website is a catalog for most all classes offered by UC Berkeley, and has filter options by major, class requirement and most popular classes.
  1. Getting classes is a nightmare. If you are in a larger department on campus, such as many majors in the College of Letters and Science, it is likely you are not going to get all the classes you want (especially those with an “A” rating on Berkeleytime). There are two phases of registration, so you should always pick your most important classes for Phase 1 and accept the fact that you may have to rearrange your options for Phase 2.
  1. Stepping on the seal won’t actually ruin your grades, just as not stepping on the seal will not guarantee you good grades. It is a fun myth on campus that you should never step on the seals that are spread around campus. But if one day you accidentally saunter over the seal, don’t freak out – you’ll be fine.
  1. You can study for finals in classrooms when the libraries and the ASUC Student Union are packed to capacity. Come finals season, the libraries and most on-campus study places will be impenetrable for most of the day. But a hidden secret is empty classrooms. No classes are held during dead week, but the buildings remain open. You can go into Dwinelle Hall and claim a classroom and have productive study sessions with friends.
  1. The housing situation is a feeding frenzy. Your first year here, you will likely be living in the freshman dorms – relish it. Come early spring semester, it becomes the Hunger Games for housing. Many aspects go into finding housing, but efficiency is key. There is quality off-campus housing, you just have to find it. Craigslist and common realtor websites are your best bet for finding an apartment or a house.
  1. Gamedays aren’t about the game. Cal football has an impressive fanbase considering the strength of the team, but gamedays are far more about the fun of “Game Days” and far less about the actual football game itself. Pregame festivities take place at the fraternity houses and often they steal the spotlight of the day. But gameday parties are fairly exclusive and you’ll often need a bid (a wristband “invitation”) to get in.
  1. Dining hall food tastes a lot better when you’re broke. Yeah, the dining hall food isn’t great, when it’s all you’re eating, but if you offer to swipe someone in, they are likely to accept the offer in an instant. After paying ridiculous amounts of money for books and other necessities, free food almost always tastes good.

There you have, the things your tour guide didn’t tell you – including the good, but mostly the bad.

Contact Christie Aguilar at [email protected].