Doing Berkeley the tourist way during commencement

campanile
Jessica Gleason/Staff

Its commencement time! After all of these weeks (and, let’s face it, years) of struggle, sweat and tears, it’s finally time to celebrate all of our hard work.

When we’re not celebrating with our friends and taking pic after pic in front of Sather Gate (and pouring bottle after bottle of champagne down Doe’s sacred steps), it is time for us to play host to our family and friends who aren’t familiar with our Bear territory (our Bearkley, if you will).

It’s easy to get disenchanted with Berkeley after all of this time we spent holed away in our rooms and libraries, fumbling for a grade that won’t entirely ruin our prospective futures amid fears of grade deflation and crushed dreams… but that time has passed!

As we have our most supportive relations pouring into Berkeley, filled with excitement and hopes about our time at the No. 1 public university in the world, maybe what we need is to take a step back to remember what it was like when we first arrived at Berkeley and see the city through their eyes.

Be a tour guide

Show your family and friends the places you know you were excited to see. Go on, tell them Sather Gate is the gate that inspired Monster University. Talk to them about how the Campanile is the tallest campus tower (or taller than Stanford’s, anyway). Take them to the Free Speech Movement Café and talk to them about the birthplace of the movement. When you do, you’ll remember why you were proud to be a Golden Bear in the first place.

Venture off the beaten path

You don’t have to take them to the most popular joint in town — your family and friends will be more excited to see where it is you spent your time while you were a Berkeley undergrad. Show them your home away from home, introduce them to U-Cha, or Abe’s Pizza, or Half Price Books. They’ll be thrilled you want to share this part of yourself with them, too.

Don’t be afraid to do something new! 

Say your mom decides she wants to go to the Berkeley Rose Garden, but you have no idea how to even get there in the first place! That’s OK. Graduation is an adventure. Don’t be afraid to leave your safety net — just maybe bring a map. Or if there’s a place you’ve always wanted to try but never found the occasion, there’s really no time like the present to get acquainted with these unvisited Berkeley treasures.

Having a fresh pair of eyes can make any experience a good one. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these last days we have in Berkeley and the Bay. Go see the Golden Gate Bridge, splurge on that concert at Oracle Arena — and take your family and friends with you. No one will deny that our experience at UC Berkeley has been a challenge, but it’s up to us to change our perspective and remember what made our time as Golden Bears truly great.

Lauren West is the assistant blog editor. Contact Lauren West at [email protected].