You’ve finally settled in. On your desk, beneath midterm assignments, sits the brochure you were given as you arrived on campus, walking an awkward three steps ahead of your parents.
You stare down at the brochure. In the photo, a quintessential LA sunset fades in front of a boy wearing khakis. At this point, you know that the slight right the student is taking suggests he is turning towards the Cooler. You know that the photogenic sky pictured was not specific to that night. Regardless of the consistent beauty, seniors still take out their phones to capture it on the steps between Johnson and Fowler as they make their way out of 5 p.m. class.
We’ve all been there, wondering where the mysterious boy in khakis on the front of the brochure was last Friday night, still unclear if we’re allowed to walk into the Cooler through the checkout section. We’ve all questioned how it’s possible that inseparable 10-person cliques were formed during O-Week. Being a new student at Occidental, it will take a while before you are able to answer these pressing questions; there will be trial and error before you learn the secrets to loving it here.
It doesn’t hurt to have a leg up along the way though. Here’s the guide you always needed, written by the mentors you never knew you needed, ready to take you under their wing.
While the most social studying spots can be found around the newly renovated tables in the Green Bean and on the main floor of the library, Laura Bedalov (senior) suggests that the best place to do group projects is in the rooms above Choi auditorium. The rooms — equipped with floor-to-ceiling walls of whiteboard — offer an ideal setup for splitting up presentation points or collaborating on an econ problem set. Once a migraine from the fluorescent lighting sets in, move to the tables outside the Hameetman Career Center, Dumke patio or the balcony located on the second floor of the Hameetman Science Center to find the best outdoor studying spots on campus, according to Nikolai Birch (junior).
As for late night studying paired with soft bachelorette watching, Lexi Banbury (sophomore) prefers Berkus Hall classrooms for their seclusion. When all hopes of doing academic work breaks down, move to Choi Auditorium or rent a projector from the library for more of a movie theater feel.
We all have those days when we need a break from saying “hi” to everyone we pass on campus. Josie Pesce (junior) offers that the best places to hide from people are the solar panel parking lot or Swan Hall.
Finding study spots and hiding from people requires trekking all around campus. So, it is inevitable that at some point your treasured student ID card will go missing.
“Best way to never get locked out of your single? Duct tape your door,” Joe Kahn (junior) said.
Once back in that dorm room, there are some ways to make sure dorm living doesn’t get you down. Purchase a velcro towel to make mornings easier, allowing you to confidently walk down the hallway without malfunctions, shower caddy steadily in hand. To make nights easier, Tudor Ceara (senior) suggests downloading f.lux on your computer to avoid a glaring computer screen at 2 a.m., resulting in a headache during your 8 a.m. class the following morning.
Eventually, you’ll find the time to lug your overflowing laundry hamper down to the basement. To avoid having a meltdown about your newly washed clothes being thrown across the floor or worse yet, your Lulu Lemons stolen, set a timer for your laundry even if you think you can mentally gauge it, Nora Killian (junior) suggested.
In the final hours of an Occidental student’s waking day, it seems almost inevitable that the sounds of the city will prevent sleep from setting in. If you’re more curious about the source than concerned about your sleep, Daniel Stigall ’16 suggests checking social media.
“If a whirring nearby is keeping you up, check the Eagle Rock 311 Twitter for knowing why helicopters are circling nearby,” Stigall said.
Rebecca Goodfriend’s (junior) Parfait: “Get a Chobani yogurt of your choice (pomegranate is preferable) and a Nature Valley bar. Mash up the granola bar in its package and then pour into yogurt.”
Sam Royall’s (junior) Weekend Breakfast Bowl: “Order two over-easy eggs. Get potatoes from Chef’s Corner, mixed greens, chickpeas (and any other salad toppings you desire), olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon from the salad bar. Grab an avocado and mix it all together in one of the bowls from near the cereal and top it off with some nutritional yeast.”
While it’s not self serve in The Cooler, you can still get creative with the off-the-menu specials.
The Cooler’s Henry Special: Order the Henry to enjoy a chicken (or regular) philly with onion rings, chipotle mayo and BBQ sauce.
Raihana Haynes-Venerable’s (senior) Steak Sandwich: Ask for a steak sandwich on toasted sourdough then add A1 sauce found at the table located next to the cashier.
Where to take your parents:
Two wicker baskets filled with blankets sit next to tables outside at Little Beast. From its cozy atmosphere to its $25 entrees, the restaurant located eight minutes from campus has parent weekend written all over it.
“There are big portions and good beer … overall a quaint, yet high class atmosphere,” Oliver Benezra ’16 said.
Best birthday spot for a large group:
With a menu perfect for sharing a variety of Taiwanese-Chinese dishes, Pine and Crane located in Silver Lake takes away the stress of ordering with a large number of people. The food comes out shortly after you sit down and the lights dim ever so slightly as the night progresses, creating a sexy, celebratory ambience.
“The Dan Dan noodles are an experience. They have layers of taste,” Tessa Blum (junior) said. “Honestly, all the food there feels as though it was made with how the customer will experience eating it in mind.”
Best date spot:
Casa Bianca, an Italian restaurant located on Colorado Boulevard has Occidental students swooning over it — and in it.
“The service is that perfect kind of slow, where it’s not bad enough that you’re uncomfortably hungry but gives you enough time to actually feel as though you can, you know, get to know someone,” Mac Larsen (senior) said. “There’s also really fun Italian music.”
As the college’s publicity loves to mention, Occidental is located in Los Angeles, but too many students tend to get caught in the campus bubble. As the allure of the quad starts to wear off, step off the corner of Bird Rd. into “The Rock” and beyond.
Feeling yourself — how to:
For a haircut that leaves everyone you pass wondering what it is about you that you look hotter than you did two days earlier, visit Natalie Nicole Hair Salon on Eagle Rock Boulevard.
“I like the haircuts I get there. They shampoo my hair and s— so it feels really good. Also, there’s a good student discount,” Tudor Ceara (senior) said.
Then, after losing your sunglasses for the 18th time, head down to Cotton On in Pasadena to purchase two for $15. With a fresh cut and new shades, head over to One Down Dog to get in a session of feel good yoga that comes with an Occidental student discount.
Feeling yourself — where to:
To dance like no one is watching, make your way to Dance Yourself Clean, a weekly dance party at The Satellite in Silverlake.
“Everyone’s there to have a good time and the taco truck outside is amazing,” Laura Bedelov (senior) said.
For a more intimate music experience apply for Sofar Sounds tickets, free shows located at surprise venues anywhere from Echo Park to Hollywood. For a night out just off campus, bowl at All Star Lanes.
The brochure writers would blush at the inclusion of the swankiest, calmest and most aesthetically pleasing bathrooms in a description of the college, but the Weekly doesn’t shy away.
Swan is central to the quad and no one is ever in there. Also the stalls are a nice mahogany — Josie Pesce (junior)
It’s definitely Weingart because it’s a single stall and has cute pink floors — Claire Krelitz (Sophomore)
Never traffic in there. — Chris Stern (junior)
It’s close to my job at the SAC and also the sleek design is appealing — Danny Gross (junior)
It overlooks the track and is secluded. — Nora Killian (Junior)
It’s the most private bathroom on campus and they always have toilet paper stocked — Tudor Ceara (Senior)
It is single stall, really big and has a nice tile floor and no one goes in there — Laura Bedalov (Senior)
Most of the time, you get to hear cello music in there. — Graham Tuggle (Sophomore)