It may seem surprising to hear people refer to Berkeley as a “college town.” At a school so large, you might not expect people to feel like they’re regulars every place they go, yet with its relatively limited number of quality places to hang out, study, and eat, this reputation makes sense. For some people, it’s a good thing because with a school as large as Berkeley, the feeling of closeness in the community is a nice counterbalance. But for others, the closeness is more of a nuisance than a true benefit. While you may see the same people on your way to school every day, they’re often people you don’t know by name, or people you want to avoid.
The city of San Francisco is a nice escape from the college town doldrums—it’s a necessary reminder of what the world outside of the “Berkeley Bubble” is like. If you manage your time well, going to the city—or anywhere outside of Berkeley—doesn’t have to be an all-day affair, and you can fit this breather in easily between class, studying, and extracurricular activities. Also, many clubs and student groups organize events outside of Berkeley for people to attend during the week and on weekends. Getting outside of Berkeley’s altered reality is not only good for your social well-being, but it is helpful for maintaining your grasp on the more moderate outside world.