Items you can’t live without as a UC Berkeley student

Zahira Chaudhry/Staff

One of my favorite professors once said UC Berkeley is not for the meek. After spending a considerable amount of time as a student, I can now confidently concur with that statement. Everyone knows that UC Berkeley provides a very challenging academic load and that the city can also take some getting used to (especially if you had never lived in a busy place before).

If you have your eyes set on UC Berkeley as a prospective university to attend, or if you’re still trying to get the hang of living that Berkeley life, here are some essentials that might come in handy.

UC Berkeley attire

Wherever you are, on campus or around town, chances are you’ll see students wearing Cal gear. After all, if you go to the original No. 1 public university in the world, why wouldn’t you want to show off your Golden Bear pride a little bit?

Cal 1 card

Your Cal 1 Card is your golden ticket to meals (if you have meal points or money on your debit account), exams, the RSF, computer labs and bus shuttles. Also, your Cal ID is your access key to most (if not all) buildings on campus, which makes this a very important item to keep track of!

Blue books

Even though they’re just a few pieces of lined paper stapled together with a flimsy blue cover, blue books are mandatory for basically all of the exams you will take. Luckily, they cost less than a dollar at GBC!


If you need a stress-relieving snack or something that will satisfy your sweet tooth, you can stop by one of the many boba shops near campus, such as U-Cha, Sharetea and Purple Kow (just to name a few).

Freshens smoothies from GBC

These freshly made smoothies are sold for only a few dollars (or a few meal points, if you have a meal plan) at GBC right across from Sproul Hall. The lines can get pretty long, especially on warm spring or summer days, but the wait is definitely worth it.

Hydro Flask bottle

Whether you want to bring ice-cold water to school get through a hot summer day or sip on some homemade hot chocolate to keep you warm in the winter, these bottles can maintain the temperature of any beverage that’s in it. They are definitely a UC Berkeley staple, considering the sporadic weather conditions in the Bay Area.

Pepper spray

The Nixle alerts students receive from UCPD almost every day are proof that Berkeley can be a pretty sketchy city at times, to say the least. Investing in pepper spray doesn’t necessitate using it, but having it can at least act as a deterrent for that extra protection.

Although these items may seem inconsequential, you’ll soon find that the Golden Bear lifestyle is basically incomplete without them.

Contact Claudia Marie Huynh at [email protected].