Words of Wisdom
From CBE GSAC Wiki
Adrian Brush, 2011
Berkeley can be an intense (yet amazing) place, both academically and culturally. I thought that having a general “words of wisdom” document for things that don’t really fit into the other documents might be a good idea.
- There is a lot of homelessness in Berkeley, but don’t let it get to you. The homeless in Berkeley are numerous, loud, often a bit off their rocker, and can be somewhat verbally abusive. However, despite all of that, they are generally harmless. It can be intimidating, no doubt, but I have almost never heard of a homeless person even physically touching someone, let alone being actually dangerous to them.
- Strangers like to talk to each other in the Bay Area more than most other places, so don’t get freaked out if some random stranger starts talking to you (even if they seem a bit odd or eccentric). And, I know this sounds odd, but if you’re up for it, have a conversation with them. You meet the most interesting people and hear the most interesting stories this way.
- Always, ALWAYS, carry a hoodie with you, especially if you are going into the city. Bay Area weather will change instantly. It may be 85 and sunny, but all of the sudden, the fog will roll in and the temperature will drop.
- Oakland’s pretty awesome. Sure, there are some areas you generally don’t want to visit (west oakland and east oakland), but oakland’s awesome. Give it a chance and explore it a bit.
- Keep exploring. It can be easy to get stuck in your own world of going to lab and going home when you’re working hard. You live in an amazing area, and even 5 years is not enough time to explore it all. Force yourself out of your comfort zone. Explore new places and cultures.
- Find yourself a perch. There are a lot of places on campus that offer some serenity, either in the redwoods next to the creek or on the balcony of a building overlooking the Bay. I’ve found it’s very useful to have a place like this nearby for when you need a good little break from working.
- Explore the natural areas around the Bay. You have some of the most beautiful landscape in the world within 1-5 hours drive of you. Take advantage of that.
- Visit the city. It’s only a 25 min BART ride, yet it’s amazing how sparingly some people visit the city.
- Get some good, quality rain gear. Comfortable rainboots, a sturdy golf umbrella, and a trenchcoat or some other kind of rain outer layer. Trust me, splurge a little at the beginning of your time here, and you’ll be so much happier in the winters.
- Read the free weeklies (SFWeekly, SFBay Guardian, East Bay Express). They come out on Wednesdays, and are available at the BART and several newspaper boxes around campus. Great source for things to do and gives you a look into the politics and whats going on around the Bay.
- Don’t get too disengaged from undergrads and undergrad life. There’s actually some really cool organizations and performances that, while seem like more “undergrad” type things, are still very cool (for example, free concerts put on by Superb).
- Go to the festivals around the bay. They usually take place in the late spring through late fall. There’s usually a list of festivals put out by the Guardian or SFWeekly. Festivals are the thing to do over the summer.