An American horror story: College life

Beverly Pan/Staff

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Northern California has suffered quite a bit this October, putting us at the Clog in a reflective mood this Halloween season. With so many things happening around us, Berkeley must be haunted in some way. Of course, besides these natural disasters or even the traditional Halloween scares such as zombies, clowns, ghosts, skeletons, what have you, we’re here to remind you that what’s really scary is college life. 

First up, declaring a major. For some, declaring a major is a simple process — you either have something you’re completely passionate about or you’re the kind of person who just wants to do whatever is easiest and graduate. If you’re not one of those people though, you ultimately have to decide what’s going to be the main focus of your undergraduate years. To make matters worse, you only really have about four semesters to figure that out, which translates to roughly 16 classes.

Seems reasonable, right? Uh oh, here come the UC Berkeley requirements that you need to complete, better knock that number down to 12-ish classes. Oh wait, there’s more because here come your college-specific requirements, so now you’re looking at about 8 classes to figure out what you want to do with the first part of your career. But wait, how could you forget about your breadths? With all the general requirements that you need to fulfill before you graduate, the amount of time that you actually have to explore possible paths of study is quite small. At this point, it’s more frightening to figure out what you want to major in than it is to face a group of murderous clowns. 

Next, study abroad. Do you want to study abroad? If you do, you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to get out of your lease or housing agreement for a semester, unless you decide to study abroad in the summer. But let’s be real here, spending your summer studying is pretty freaking scary. Say you figure out your housing situation; where are you going to go? The world is fairly large, so good luck choosing from the multitude of countries you can study in — oh, and say goodbye to game days as well if you choose to go during the fall semester (less scary, but still a little unsettling). 

Walking to and from class is also pretty scary. Not only have strong-arm robberies and other scary instances occurred, but so many people ride boosted boards, bikes or even plain old regular boards that all seem to go really fast. We at the Clog have a conflicted relationship with these people as some of us have been physically run into by bikers or skateboarders — suddenly it’s seemingly your fault for walking in an area that’s built for and designated to pedestrians, not vehicles. Anyway, whether it’s a robbery you fear or people on boosted boards, walking around is scary. 

Finally, independence is pretty scary; no, not independence like freedom or what we at the Clog like to call the George Washington-style, but independence like being an adult — making decisions and having no one to shift the blame onto. Essentially, this is what college is, because with no parents and no supervision, you’re left to fend for yourself. With that, you’re also free to make terrible choices that may wreck your life. So, if you’re reading this and you’re an incoming college student, we apologize for any nightmares or squashed dreams, but college life is scary.

Contact Zachary Abuel-Saud at [email protected].