Lessons from Stephen King stories that could help at UC Berkeley

Illustration of Pennywise in front of Sather Gate
Vivian Du/Staff

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From movies like “It Chapter Two” to “Pet Sematary” to the upcoming “Doctor Sleep,” it seems like Stephen King and his novels are becoming culturally relevant again. That isn’t to say that his work hasn’t been relevant for UC Berkeley students. He may not have written about the horror of back-to-back finals or mandatory 8 a.m. classes, but there’s still a lot to be learned from his novels. Here are some lessons to help you get through UC Berkeley, pulled from Stephen King’s stories.

Sometimes dead is better

The tagline to “Pet Sematary” might warn the viewer about bringing pets or loved ones back from the dead, but it also applies to grades. If you got a bad grade (or two) in a class, there’s nothing you can do about it now — that class and grade are effectively dead to you. Don’t keep dredging it up and bringing it back to life because all that’ll do is cause you pain.

IT might not be so bad

There’s one thing the shape-shifting monster Pennywise, who feeds on fear, and exams have in common: Both are only as scary as you believe them to be. The way to beat IT is to not view IT as scary in the slightest, or at least impossible to defeat. Same goes for a scary test — you won’t get anywhere just being scared of it or thinking you’ll fail. Imagine that you can beat it and chances are, you will.

Don’t be cruel to others

It’s not good to be mean to others. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the competitive nature of Berkeley might trip you up. Help people out, even if the class is curved. You don’t want to piss people off and get them to dislike you. There’s always a chance they have telekinetic abilities and will attack you (and the entire school) when you take it a step too far. Example: pouring pigs’ blood over them at a dance.

Overworking can make you go mad

All work and no play makes anybody a dull boy (or girl). It may not drive you to murder your family with an ax, but it’s still not good for you. Take breaks and don’t push yourself too hard. Also, it’s alright to be stuck. Don’t just try to push through using sheer force — you might end up writing the same sentence over and over again and not get anywhere.

Hopefully your time at UC Berkeley won’t be as stressful or horrific as a Stephen King novel, but know that there’s still plenty to learn from his many, many works.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .