Myth busters: Debunking myths about UC Berkeley

Addison Briggs/File

At UC Berkeley, it is important to acknowledge that every student’s experience is different based on the tracks they choose, the decisions they make and the people they surround themselves with. Rumors and myths come to be as a result of these experiences, but some just need an additional assessment before they become set into the stone of the school’s reputation.

Every semester is cursed

Ever since the 2016 fall semester, something seemed to go wrong and caused a large upset every semester — the class of 2020 could especially attest to that. It is, however, important to acknowledge that these events are what caused our college experience to be interesting, especially since the majority of us were pushed far out of our comfort zones. Remember, “regression to the mean” could very much be a thing, so all the good could be just around the corner.

UC Berkeley is a “radical, far-left campus”

It’s pretty obvious that our school does get a lot of attention from the media and may be described as this right off the bat, if not in other words. Believe it or not, today’s UC Berkeley is a lot tamer than it was in the 1960s. Our student population is so diverse, and with that diversity comes more political differences. Quite the opposite of what one might expect at a very liberal campus is that we have the largest College Republican organization in the state of California. Having all of these differences in viewpoints at our fingertips is something to be proud of because we have the luxury of being able to have stimulating conversations.

UC Berkeley is a Stanford-reject school

This is entirely untrue. There are students who have been admitted to Stanford University after having been rejected from UC Berkeley and vice versa, yet no one calls Stanford a UC Berkeley-reject school. Both schools are entirely different, and UC Berkeley is not for everyone, anyway. We need to be proud of all of the achievements students before us have attained for our institution, as there are many that surpass Stanford’s, although the latter’s private funding will always surpass ours. But the additional stress and demand of UC Berkeley’s atmosphere, especially for students, is what gives the school its identity, and that’s something that should be only admired and not looked down upon.

Good grades are unattainable

Yes, grade deflation and how you do compared to your classmates are things, but it all depends on the classes you take. Everyone is different in the way they approach academics and studying, but that process takes time, just like anything else. Make use of organizations and opportunities available to make this process of finding “your grind wavelength” faster. There are so many resources left untouched by many students, such as sessions at the Student Learning Center, office hours or just the mere ability to email your professors.

Students here have a poor quality of life

Myths that have seemingly been floating around since the start of our school’s time are that UC Berkeley students are particularly antisocial and that academics are the only things that matter to us. But believe it or not, we’re just like any other college. The Facebook pages Overheard at UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley Memes For Edgy Teens tend to circulate many posts about terrible experiences and everyone hating their lives here, but they are mere exaggerations. Just like any type of workplace or institution, you’ll be more than fine if you are pursuing activities and studies that you enjoy and if you surround yourself with the right people.

It is very unsafe

Depending on where you come from, Berkeley and its surrounding areas may be very intimidating or it just may be the norm for you. It is important to acknowledge the fact that you are going to school in a large city. This brings a lot of advantages, like the option of tapping into a huge network and coming across something new every day. With a larger population, however, you are more likely to come across crime. Take additional precautions: Don’t walk alone at night, insure your valuables, lock down or keep your bikes indoors and download applications like Wildfire and Citizen so that you are always aware of what is going on.

Contact Anna Kurianowicz at [email protected].