As you’re reading this, I’m at the Cal Alumni Association’s Annual Reception for Newly Admitted Students. We alumni are rubbing elbows at the swanky Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, and charming admitted high school seniors into choosing Cal. These out-of-staters are worth the big bucks.
Despite my current animosity toward my alma mater, or perhaps because of it, I’ve composed 16 unsolicited pieces of advice for the Cal Class of 2016:
1. Treat with suspicion and contempt any exam that declares itself “take home.” It’ll be twice as much work as an in-class exam, and you won’t do any better.
2. Don’t buy books from the Cal Student Store. Ned’s is a rip-off, too. Shop online.
3. Pick a foreign language your first semester and stick to it! If you graduate without fluency in at least one foreign language, your peers will mock you, and you will feel completely inadequate.
4. You may have been the smartest person in your high school, obviously, but you’re still only 18. You’re going to get stupid drunk or stupid stoned or just plain stupid and lose your clothes. Own the shame and move on.
5. If you plagiarize, there is a good chance your professor will humiliate you in front of a hundred other students. You’ll deserve it, so take it like a (wo)man. No tears.
6. Do not join Berkeley College Republicans. Just please. I’m laughing at you already.
7. No one cares if you’re 20 and still a virgin. No one cares if you’ve slept with 20 people. Just, for the love of Oski, wear a rubber. You can get free condoms all over the place. No excuses.
8. Someone once got caught jerking it in the stacks during finals season. It’s 80% hilarious, 20% disgusting, and 100% the reason I don’t use library books. You’ve been warned.
9. Do the Bare Run once. It’s the only time the administration won’t arrest you for running through the stacks butt-ass naked. Bonus points if you throw glitter as you go.
10. Take the time to appreciate politically relevant graffiti:
The administration will have it down before you can say, “She’s just working her way through college.”
11. Prepare to do real research. Berkeley is, foremost, a research university. If this doesn’t appeal to you, I’m afraid you’ve made a grave mistake.
12. Don’t wear anything Stanfurd unless you want people to yell vulgarities at you. Seriously.
13. Talk at least one of your seminar professors into holding class next to Strawberry Creek on a nice day. Jump on the first seminar that sounds interesting. The same topics don’t usually come around twice.
14. Learn the Cal Drinking Song so you’ll be prepared when a spontaneous chorus of “Oh, we had a little party down in Newport!” breaks out.
15. Get to know your professors. You’ll learn that true genius is often quite hilarious, as well.
16. Most importantly, AnonCon.