For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2017 05 29 at 10.34.42 am
May 29 2017
by Joyce Cam

The 6 Berkeley Bear Necessities

By Joyce Cam - May 29 2017

College is a completely new playing field that has new rules and regulations. Especially at Berkeley, things are done differently. However, knowing these six essentials WILL make your transition easier and help you escape giving off the dreaded "freshman vibe." Here are a few things that make Berkeley students, well, Berkeley students.

1. Comfy Shoes 

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH! Berkeley is infamous for its hills, long walks and uneven pavements. You will regret your whole decision to come to Berkeley when it’s only 11 a.m., you’re on your way to your next class and your feet are crying for sweet release. From running shoes to fancy shoes, make sure they are shoes you can walk around in for more than a few hours.

2. Berkeley Time 

Something I will always hold near and dear to my heart is Berkeley time. What is Berkeley time? Basically, all of your classes start 10 minutes after the initial time they're scheduled. Think of it as a passing period, but a lot more valuable. Remembering Berkeley time is the most satisfying and happiest feeling in the world. Knowing you have an extra 10 minutes can lead to so many possibilities. You can grab a coffee, chat with some friends or even stop to smell the roses!

3. 51B Schedule/App/Route 

The 51B is the holy grail to saving your feet and saving your time (kinda). Knowing the 51B schedule and its stops will be one of most crucial things you’ll learn at Berkeley. However, if you’re lazy like me, you can always download an app (I use xtBUS).


The 51B can be your angel and your devil due to how unpredictable its schedule can be. Being in a hustle-bustle city like Berkeley makes the bus late sometimes, which may have you waiting for another 15 minutes. So, use the bus at your own discretion!

4. Key and ID Holders 

Wallets, bags and pockets are a great way to hold your essentials. On the other hand, the fast-paced life of Berkeley might not give you enough time to grab everything and go. I have found that wrist coils and stick-on phone wallets make it so much easier and more convenient to keep your basics on hand and ready to go. These two things have helped me from being 20 minutes late to only 10 minutes late (and because of Berkeley time, 10 minutes late means I’m still on time)!

5. Big Kid Backpacks 

Back in the day, getting flashy backpacks was a way for us to show off to our peers and show them what was up. In college, no one cares how big and bulky your backpack is; everyone carries at least 10 extra pounds with them. The fun, flashy Jansports and rolling backpacks will not cut it in college when you have to go on long treks with basically another human attached to your back. A comfortable backpack with a laptop sleeve and water bottle pockets is CRUCIAL! It will cost a little more than your usual Jansport, but your neck, back and heart will be thanking you for providing some support!

6. Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle will save your life. In Berkeley, we are very eco-friendly and we are actually trying to reach zero waste by 2020, so help out your fellow bears in achieving this goal! Any brand of water bottle works, as long as it’s reusable! However, Berkeley favorites are Hydro Flasks and Kleen Kanteens. These bottles come in many different shapes and sizes and yes, they stay cold all day. They are DEFINITELY worth the money, but if you aren’t trying to spend that much, you can buy reusable water bottles with your meal points at some locations around campus!

These are the basics that will come in handy during your first year at Cal! Soon enough, no one will even be able to tell that you're a freshman! Good luck and go bears! 

Lead Image Credit: Pinterest 

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Joyce Cam - University of California, Berkeley

Joyce attends the University of California, Berkeley. Follow her on twitter/instagram @Joyce_Cam !

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