Congratulations, Bruins! You get to traverse one of the most stunning campuses in the country from the iconic Royce Hall to the picturesque Sculpture Gardens. Whether you’re heading to south campus to learn the difference between Boelter Hall and Math and Sciences (Pro tip: there’s almost no difference) or you’re trekking to Public Affairs in north campus, you’ll use Bruin Walk to get there. Bruin Walk is like the 405 of the UCLA campus. Acquaint yourself with some of the challenges it will present.
Keep reading for the 10 Bruins you’ll encounter along the way.
1. The People Who Flyer
Have you ever met the human version of an online pop-up ad? If not, you will daily when you walk down Bruin Walk. “Pre-med or pre-health?”, “Free comedy show tonight!”, “Donuts for $1!” “Do you care about the environment?” Clubs and students orgs take advantage of Bruin Walk’s helpless population to advertise knowing that students have nowhere to escape.
Their tactics vary. Typically a cheer squad screams above the rest to let you know they’re selling Porto’s for $5. Then there’s the guilt-tripper who, whether you respond with a “no” or simply don’t reply, will make a comment along the lines of “Really? K, guess you don’t care about the animals.” Next, you’ll see the student who just really doesn’t want to be there but needs to get flyering hours for their club. And of course, check out the entertainer. They spin, dance and trick their way up to hand you a flyer, wearing an inflatable T-Rex costume or cracking jokes when almost everyone awkwardly ignores them.
2. Stealth Mode
Stealth mode students avoid all human interaction at any cost. Most experienced stealth mode students don’t even go on Bruin Walk and find ways to avoid it. But in the event they need to get to Kerckhoff Hall, they will take the adjacent bike path (or the “chicken path” as the guilt-tripping flyer-ers call it) to avoid the harassment.
You might not even realize you’ve encountered a student in stealth mode. They’re masters at the art of hiding in plain sight. But if you ever want to spot one, take a moment to pause and look for people wearing big headphones, sunglasses, RBF and walking with a purpose. You’ll see how quickly they zoom in and out of the crowd or tail the end of a group to avoid getting flyered.
3. First-Year Flock
Adorned with their new BearWear and lanyards, first years travel in slow-moving packs for safety as they will inevitably get lost in the vast wilderness of the UCLA campus. If alone, their behavior is a dead giveaway. Double checking their phones and squinting at the buildings with blatant confusion, the first year is absolutely clueless as to where they’re going. Don’t be surprised one approaches you, asking you about the difference between PAB and the Public Affairs Building. Dear first years, please just look it up before classes start.
4. Phone Zombies
This Bruin is constantly to glued to their phone while walking down Bruin Walk. A hazard to themselves and others, these students will not look up no matter what happens around them. You can run straight into them and they still will not take their eyes of their precious glowing box.
Watch these phone zombies shuffle down Bruin Walk and bump into everyone they encounter. It’s like watching a very slow car crash or a not-so-intense game of chicken. Bonus points if you see two phone zombies heading straight towards each other.
5. The Reunited Friends
They appear at the most inconvenient of times when you’re late to class and the afternoon rush floods Bruin Walk. You’ll be speed walking your way down Bruin Walk when suddenly the person in front of you stops dead in their tracks. You run straight into them as they yell out to another person across Bruin Plaza, “ASHLEY! OH MY GOD I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN FOREVER!” Oblivious to the stream of students trying to get around them, these long-lost friends will continue to hold their conversation in the middle of the most crowded path on Bruin Walk.
6. Tour Groups and Guides
Like a horde of zombies from The Walking Dead, tour groups are massive in size, slow-moving and dangerous to the UCLA student. They take up entire sidewalks as they mindlessly follow their overly-enthusiastic leader and the density of their crowd means you can’t just slip by.
Listen for a tour guide who can typically be heard from miles away. If you can’t hear them, another sign that the tour horde is coming is an eight-clap. For anyone who doesn’t know, the eight clap is UCLA’s school cheer that’s done at just about every sporting event. If you start to hear an increasing “Ahhhh” and a count to eight, start running.
7. The Runner
We’re not talking about the athlete here, we’re talking about the kid full-on sprinting up those hills to get to their class. Whether it’s superhuman speed or the fear-induced adrenaline of missing an exam, these students somehow manage to get from Hedrick Summit to Bunche Hall in ten minutes.
The runner is generally spotted during the end of the quarter, especially during finals week. But if you happen to hear the slapping of sneakers against the pavement coming up behind you, step out of the way and wish them godspeed in their journey.
8. Need for Speedsters
This category includes anyone riding any type of wheels—skateboards, scooters, bikes and Birds. These rule-breakers ignore the huge signs everywhere saying, “Bruin Walk is a dismount zone” and attempt to impress everyone as they weave in and out of the crowds. Ask any Bruin and they’ll share a story about how they almost got ran over by a skateboarder or how someone tried to squeeze through a crowd of pedestrians on a Bird and tragically failed. You’ll encounter these Bruins daily. Avoid getting hit by one by remaining still if you start to hear the deafening sound of a skateboard coming up behind you.
9. ‘Scuse Me Sir
You know him from the meme page and you love his enthusiasm… it’s the “‘scuse me sir/miss, can I ask you a question?” guy. No one knows where he came from or how long he’s been here, but what Bruins know will pick you out from the crowd and ask his iconic question.
Those who have obliged him say he’s asking for donations for homeless youth but no one is quite sure what charity he works for. So if you’re a first year or a confused international student, it’s probably best to follow the stealth mode students on this one or give a polite “no, thank you.”
If the ‘scuse me sir guy is chaotic good, the preachers on campus are chaotic evil. Whether it’s the guy with the giant sign saying “Repent or Go To Hell” or the one with the giant paper-mache Bible propped up on Kerckhoff lawn, these guys really know how to get an audience riled up. They usually carry a loudspeaker and draw a crowd of hecklers within minutes. If you’re bored or need a cathartic release during finals week, join the spectators at the top of Kerckhoff steps and watch as the same argument unfolds for the next two hours until UCPD shuts it down.