How to survive orientation week at UC Berkeley if you’re not an incoming student

Alice Langford/File

Golden Bear Orientation week is an important time if you’re new to campus, as it tries to help students get their footing at UC Berkeley. If you’re not an incoming student, however, it can make being around campus quite a nuisance. It’s like the school year has started one week early with a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing, and everything is still closed. If you have the misfortune of being in Berkeley during GBO week (and not there to participate), here are some tips that should help you survive the week.

Stay indoors.

The best way to avoid crowds of freshmen is to just stay inside where you live. The only crowd you’ll run into if you do that is one you invite. If you have to venture outside, then you probably can get a quick respite from the crowds by going inside somewhere. Unless that place serves boba or ice cream/frozen yogurt and is close to campus or the dorms, it’ll probably be relatively empty. Limit your time outside or in popular spots, and you’ll limit the time you have to deal with large groups of new students.

Stock up on groceries.

Even though people are moving into the dorms, it doesn’t mean the dining halls are open. For GBO week, they’re open only to those participating and therefore not to every student. If you’re used to popping into Bear Market and grabbing a snack, you’ll have to wait at least one more week. Buy all the snacks and food you need to survive the week, and you’ll get through fine.

Avoid driving (if possible).

GBO week can make driving in Berkeley even more harrowing than it already is. Large groups of pedestrians combined with people moving in at the start of the week and right before classes can make traffic terrible around all the residence halls. If you can avoid driving during GBO week, then please do, as it’ll save you the headache of having to deal with all that. If you can’t, at least try to avoid the dorms as much as possible. It should limit the number of wild pedestrians and rushing parents you’ll have to deal with.

Have backups when it comes to boba and food.

Chances are, the incoming freshman class and the new transfer students will be about as addicted to boba as you are. This might result in your favorite boba place having a long line for most of the week. Having a list of other places to get your boba can help you avoid the frustration of having to wait out a long line. This piece of advice also goes for restaurants, especially if the place is close to campus or the dorms. There’ll be plenty of freshmen who’ll avoid the GBO food and be looking for food close by. They might make a long line in front of your favorite place, so have a backup in mind just in case.

Avoid Sproul and the Glade.

There are certain places where you’ll most likely run into a large crowd of incoming students. If you do have to go on campus, you can avoid the GBO event festivities by circumventing these areas. This places, of course, are Sproul Plaza, Memorial Glade and the Strawberry Creek lawn. GBO groups will use these areas to meet up or hold activities, so you’re sure to run into new students if you go through there.

Hopefully these tips will help you have a decent week despite it being GBO week. This isn’t to say GBO week is bad, just that it can make life in Berkeley for those not participating more annoying from time to time. However, no matter how annoying it gets, it’ll all be over soon. After this week, you’ll just have the craziness and crowds of the fall semester to deal with.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .