Bruins vs Golden Bears

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As students of the first University of California (hence the sometimes obnoxious nickname “Cal”), a lot of us were fortunate enough to get into multiple other schools under the system. And very often, the decision of where to spend four years of our lives comes down to two great places: UCLA or Berkeley. Obviously, we all chose the superior institution (after all, they only wish they had the Clog for entertainment). But have you ever wondered what it would be like if you’d chosen differently? In a parallel universe, what would your student life look like? We decided to perform a short analysis:

No AC transit. Whether or not you find Berkeley’s bus system reliable, it’s still there. And whether or not you voted to keep the Class Pass, you still have it and can hop on any bus coming through without paying (technically you’ve already paid, but that’s a whole different story). Our UCLA counterparts either have to deal with the hassle of pricey parking permits or buying a bus pass of their own. So even though Cal isn’t exactly known for public transportation, so even though (technically speaking) you don’t need a vehicle to get around Westwood if you live there, it’s still a bit of a drawback not having that option. If you know nothing else about the area, you should know how infamous it is for congested streets and freeways. Los Angeles does have the Metro, so that’s convenient. But you’d probably have to find a way to get to Union Station from campus before hopping on any train.

Mainstream shopping. Did you know UCLA’s campus has a Target nearby? And Trader Joe’s and Rite Aid and … we can barely even remember what else. Sure, we have a few of those things somewhere nearby too but not nearly as conveniently placed. We can’t walk to a Target if we need something for our apartment or dorm room. No, we have to get on one of those buses we were recently praising and go all the way to Emeryville if we hope to accomplish any substantial shopping. Can you imagine just walking a few blocks to buy shampoo? You could even go nearby for clothes (assuming Urban Outfitters and American Apparel aren’t your go-to places here). Gosh, Berkeley; why do you have to make everything so difficult?

Nice streets. We’re not trying to downgrade Berkeley, but the area surrounding UCLA’s campus is undeniably cleaner and nicer than Berkeley’s. We may love Telegraph Avenue for sentimental purposes, but it’s not a place anyone would recommend strolling along alone late at night. You might not want to do that on any street, but our L.A. sibling seems a little better off in terms of safety as well as aesthetic appeal. With wider sidewalks and red brick buildings all around, there’s no denying the area has a much prettier feel. At least we have more personality, though. No one visiting Berkeley could doubt that. We have a place called Asian Ghetto, for crying out loud! And unique, mouth-watering places like Cheese Board. Mmm …

Despite the vast (and we really mean vast) differences in atmosphere, we do have a few things in common as well. UCLA has a residence hall called Sproul. And a SoCal version of CREAM, Diddy Riese. We think CREAM is better, but maybe we’re biased. They have places like Hollywood and Beverly Hills nearby, and we have San Francisco. We’re both also bears, although we think Oski is more original than their Bruin (They must have been jealous of our choice of mascot. Bruin is just a baby bear). We also both happen to be highly ranked public universities that any student would be lucky to attend. Either way, not too shabby, huh?

Image source: alohavictoria under Creative Commons.

Contact Erum Khan at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @erumjkhan

Contact Erum Khan at [email protected]