3 lessons you’ll learn at Berkeley (whether you want to or not)

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While getting a higher education at Cal, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll learn some valuable lessons. Sometimes, these lessons are learned through hours of hard work, take a highly qualified professor to relate the ideas and are forgotten at the end of the semester. However, there are other lessons — more pragmatic ones — that have nothing to do with the classroom and everything to do with life in general. Some of these lessons are inseparable from Cal’s culture. Here are a few life lessons that all Cal students eventually learn:

Lesson No. 1: Studying at a cafe feels infinitely cooler than studying in a library. As a Cal student, chances are you know your way around a library. You’ve read Melville in the elegant Morrison Library; you’ve conquered chemistry in that utilitarian supermarket called Main Stacks; you’ve pondered the depths of Nietzsche in the elegant North Reading Room. But no matter the sophistication, efficiency or downright grandeur of these locations, studying in the lively bustle of a Berkeley cafe just feels cooler. Whether it’s the cosmopolitan ambience or the smell of a fresh brew, every Cal student knows that when it comes to cool, no library can compare to a cafe.

Lesson No. 2: When a character is questionable, walk fast and avoid eye contact. Whether you like it or not, Berkeley is home to some questionable characters. Some of them are familiar, and some of them are strange — but by and large, these individuals are quite harmless. However, every once in a while, there will be characters of questionable stature and stock, which necessitates a certain maneuver. Even if you just don’t feel like dealing with people on a particular day, this trick is good to have in your mental toolbox. It is not subtle, but it is composed and it works when done correctly; for that reason, it is on the short list of lessons that all Cal students learn. See the above title for specifics.

Lesson No. 3: Berkeley Time saves, and it’s a shame the real world doesn’t utilize it. Have you left 15 minutes early to an interview only to get stuck in traffic and arrive seven minutes late? Yes, we’ve been in the real world, and like you, we’ve realized that real-world time is unusually averse to our casual tardiness.  If you’re a student at Cal, chances are that you’ve wondered why the rest of the world doesn’t operate on Berkeley Time. Not only does it make perfect sense, but it always gives us some breathing room for life’s unexpected delays. For now, however, it looks like we’ll just have to enjoy the beautiful life-saving 10 minutes among ourselves.

Do you learn any particularly salient, important or just plain hilarious lessons during your time at Berkeley? Let us know in the comments!

Image source: Sharon Hahn Darlin under Creative Commons.

Contact Griffin Mori-Tornheim at [email protected]