Sunday, September 09, 2007

Just Like California

I've been in California for about a month now. This marks the longest period of time I've spent west of the Mississippi river. Having lived most of my life in the midwest, with short experiences in the south and east coast, California is a whole new affair.

I've been slowly collecting observations about the differences in culture and universities.

UC Berkeley, a large public school, is obviously very different from Case, a small private university. I'm still not used to the "small fish in a big pond" aspect just yet. But beyond the obvious, Berkeley has an entirely different feel. Students here (mostly the undergrads) are remarkably. . . hip. I'm not accustomed to half the people around me looking as if they belong in an American Apparel ad, or should be at an indie concert. There's nothing wrong with that style, of course. I'm just not used to it at such high concentrations. I kind of miss the general awkwardness of kids at Case.

More tangibly, I'm still adjusting to the hills here. I clearly took the flatness of Case's campus (and the Midwest in general) for granted. I'm starting to think that people's more leisurely walking pace is less related to the laid-back west coast attitude, and more a result of the "if I walk quickly up this hill, I will be sweaty when I get to my destination" issue.

I walked up a one block long hill at the UC San Francisco campus before I was told there was an elevator in one of the buildings that would take you up. Going up that one block of the hill: 8 floors in the elevator. How do people do this on a regular basis?



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