You may be familiar with the Mandela Effect, a phenomenon wherein mass amounts of people recollect a past that is factually untrue. The most famous example of false memory is when Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013 and countless people claimed they remembered him dying in the 1980s, even stating they recollected TV broadcast of his funeral. The internet has buzzed with dozens of these theories since. Berenstein Bears vs. Berenstain Bears, Kit-Kat vs. KitKat, and Star Wars quote “Luke, I am your father,” vs. “No, I am your father” make the list.
But the most recent eerie example of false memory involves UC Berkeley itself. Tell us, weren’t you under the impression that UC Berkeley was a cool, great place to be? Am I the only one freaking out about how it’s suddenly not?
When I decided to come to UC Berkeley I knew it for its beautiful campus, great reputation, social justice heritage, lively parties, friendly student body filled with all kinds of people, and stellar academics. This wasn’t just hearsay. It was proven to me when I came to campus on Cal Day after my exciting acceptance letter, during GBO when I signed up for a plethora of fascinating classes, and in that magical first week when I walked into my dorm room and met my sweet roommates. I remember UC Berkeley as awesome, thrilling, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
But now? Everything has gone haywire. I’m not exactly sure when everything shifted, but what I thought was heaven is actually hell. By the end of the first semester, I was getting the lowest GPA of my life, had been celibate ever since saying sayonara to my high school sweetheart, and developed an iron deficiency from the bleak buffets of Cal Dining. This trend has continued. Suddenly UCLA was the number one public university even though I swore Cal was on top when I came here. Whenever a political atrocity occurs, I expect a grand outcry from the student body where we come together for change as I thought we were known for. But instead, a mere 17 students or so gather with a megaphone for 20 minutes while thousands of ‘slacktivists’ walk by and take a photograph to prove their ‘wokeness’ through their Instagram stories. Instead of enthralling classes and bountiful learning, I’ve been torn apart in ‘weeder classes,’ shoved into bell curves of mediocrity despite my hard work, and laughed at in office hours by every professor I try to connect to. What the hell is happening?! I really remembered UC Berkeley as a chill, great place to go to school! Is anyone else freaking out about this? Didn’t this place use to be cool?