4 signs you’re visiting from Berkeley

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Whether you’re a full-time resident or just adopted the area in the name of higher education, Berkeley has a pretty strong influence on most of us. Sometimes without even realizing it, we bring some of that with us in our travels away from the Bay. If you catch yourself doing any of these things away from school, you’ll know you’ve somehow inhaled enough of our city to have gotten it permanently in your system.

1. Saying “hella.” Of course this had to be the number one sign. There is nothing more indicative of having spent time in NorCal than tacking this on to every other word in your vocabulary. We guess NorCal inhabitants aren’t the only ones who use the … well, can we actually call it a word? Anyway, in this state, it’s a sure sign of where you’ve spent your time. Exclaiming, “That was hella fun!” anywhere in SoCal practically screams that you’re not from around there.

2. Planning a trip by bus. Being economical and good to the environment by taking the bus is definitely nothing to scoff at, especially when we have the benefit of the Class Pass as students, but Berkeley and the Bay Area are somewhat unique in that you can  rely on public transport to actually get you places. As much as we can argue the punctuality of AC Transit, the fact remains that you can get by pretty well without a car. That isn’t the case everywhere else — especially in SoCal. Tell your friends you guys can just take the bus to the mall, and you might find them giving you strange looks. Don’t worry; they’re probably just used to getting behind the wheels themselves. It’s not like they walk everywhere. What a silly notion!

3. Recognizing the smell of weed. You could argue that this is something all college kids have in common, but there’s no denying that as UC Berkeley students it only took us a matter of days to immediately recognize this lovely (or sometimes not so lovely) aroma. Passing the Eucalyptus Grove on campus, you’ll probably catch just one whiff of it and know right away why you suddenly feel lightheaded. We give you full permission to be proud of the fact, if you wish; we just don’t recommend sharing it with everyone. Like your parents, for one.

4. Checking the weather before going out. Sure, there are other parts of the country (and world) with erratic weather. But Bezerkely always seems annoyingly intent on catching students who have to spend all day outside between classes off-guard. We always have to be on the lookout for gray skies and constantly on our phone and computer for the weekly weather forecast. Should we layer today in case it gets hotter? Do I need to slip into my clunky rain boots, or will Berkeley mock me with sunny weather? If you find yourself repeating the habit of getting online before going out, even in SoCal’s world-famous pleasant weather, you haven’t shaken the Bay. And that’s okay. You may find yourself thinking you never want to and that you’ll always be a Berkeleyan at heart.

Can you think of any other habits or traits inherently linked to life in Berkeley or the Bay Area? Let us know in the comments!

Image source: John-Morgan under Creative Commons.

Contact Erum Khan at [email protected]