I’m sure we’re all aware of the tradition of Groundhog Day: every year on Feb. 2, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil comes out of their burrow in Pennsylvania and if they sees their shadow, winter will last another six weeks. But most people are unaware of Squirrel Day, a special holiday that occurs on UC Berkeley’s campus every year at the start of the third week of the spring semester.
Each year, Berkel the Berkeley Squirrel ventures down from his favorite tree overlooking the patio at the Free Speech Movement Cafe at 10 a.m. on this special Monday morning to gauge the stress level of the students on UC Berkeley’s campus. If students are sufficiently stressed this early on in the semester, Berkel steals a granola bar from an unsuspecting victim, signaling an additional six weeks of midterms for each student for the semester. If students seem to be relatively relaxed, however, Berkel returns to his tree without stealing any snacks, signifying an overall midterm season that’s two weeks shorter than normal.
For those of us who have been following Berkel’s actions for the past few years, this year’s results should not come as a surprise. Given that most students have been stressed about something since before the semester began, we are sad to report that stress levels rose to unprecedented highs Feb. 3. These levels were so high that Berkel took three different snacks back to his tree: his typical granola bar, an apple and a few pieces of spilled boba — he is the Berkeley squirrel, after all. Since this has never happened before, it remains to be seen whether or not these extra snacks will signify an even longer midterm season.
Now you can choose whether or not you want to believe in Berkel the Squirrel’s predictions or not, but either way it’s important to be prepared for the very real possibility of an unusually long and strenuous midterm season. Thanks Berkel!
Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].