How a semester at UC Berkeley can be like a bad horror movie

Richard Chen/Staff

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Tis’ the season for spooks and ghouls; it’s now officially October, and Halloween is almost right around the corner. Right now can also feel like a time of fear and stress due to the fact that we’re in the middle of midterm season. When you think about it, a semester at UC Berkeley is quite similar to being in a bad horror movie. Here are some similarities between going to UC Berkeley and being in a bad horror film and some tips on how you can handle both situations. 

Jump scares

A sign that a horror movie is going to be awful is if it uses a lot of jump scares. You’ll probably see them coming from a mile away, and they’ll always be loud and obnoxious. Exams and large papers can be like those jump scares — you know they’re coming, that they’ll be obnoxious, but there’s nothing you can do to stop them. The way to deal with frightening tests and papers is the same way you deal with bad jump scares: You prepare for them. In the case of a jump scare, you turn away from the screen and put your fingers in your ears — that way, the loud noise and sudden image won’t be as grating on your senses. For more school-related terrors, review the material way ahead of time, so you won’t be surprised or stressed.

Bad decisions

The characters in a bad horror movie might be some of the dumbest people in cinema. They constantly make bad decisions that usually make things so much worse for them. Likewise, a semester at UC Berkeley can be filled with bad decisions. Whether it’s deciding to skip lecture or putting off a big assignment until you have to pull an all-nighter to finish it, bad decisions can make life stressful and just worse overall. A way to combat this is to take advice when it’s given. In bad horror movies, when people see someone about to do something stupid, they tell them not to do it. Don’t be like a stupid horror movie character and ignore the advice you’re given — listening might just save you. 

Things that are hard to understand

Usually in bad horror movies, there’s some threat or monster that’s explained in a confusing way. The characters act like it makes perfect sense, but from your perspective that threat or monster just make things even more confusing. That’s how some lectures or classes can feel at times; the professor acts as if they’ve explained all there is to a topic, but you’re still just as confused as ever. If this is the case, act like a confused character in a horror movie and ask a lot of questions, even if they have obvious answers. This might be a lazy way to drop some exposition in horror movies, but in the real world, it’s the best way to gain at least some understanding.


Many bad horror movies have similar plots and tropes. Some just repeat the same type of scene over and over again until the movie is over. Life at UC Berkeley can be repetitive as well. Every week it’s the same routine: homework, studying, club meetings and whatever you do for fun. Often, the only minor changes to this schedule are midterms or large assignments. Don’t get caught up in the dull monotony. If all you see are bad horror movies, you should probably watch something completely different to change things up. So go out there, try something new — it should make things feel a little less stale.

Hopefully these tips will keep your semester from being an actual bad horror movie. If it still feels like one, then maybe consider watching some horror movies to relax and escape — sometimes a flesh-eating ghoul really is less scary than an upcoming midterm.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .