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When do people start looking for housing for the fall semester? I'm wondering because I won't find out my fellowship results (and thus, whether I'll be going at all..) until mid-June, and I'm wondering if it'll be too late to find something decent. On the other hand, I've heard of people coming to Berkeley the day before classes start and ending up with a place.

and is cal rentals worth the $20?

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When do people start looking for housing for the fall semester? I'm wondering because I won't find out my fellowship results (and thus, whether I'll be going at all..) until mid-June, and I'm wondering if it'll be too late to find something decent. On the other hand, I've heard of people coming to Berkeley the day before classes start and ending up with a place.

and is cal rentals worth the $20?

Hi Kandeya,

Usually people start looking for housing a month or two prior to the fall semester. I did spend the $20 for cal rentals and depending on your needs and budget, it can be useful. I found a place through there and would recommend at least checking it out once. C'mon, $20 won't kill you (though it can take away a week's worth of grocery) haha.

P.S. Make sure you're an informed renter. Ask ALL the basics such as: rent, deposit, lease term, parking, utilities (included or not), size of room, internet, etc. Generally speaking, I am more in favor of the people who show lots of pics of the rental place (means more or less they've got nothing to hide).

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padmapper.com is a nice website for looking at housing geographically. It's sometimes easier than browsing craigslist.

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padmapper.com is a nice website for looking at housing geographically. It's sometimes easier than browsing craigslist.

Great website, thanks! Makes it much easier to see where places are.

I'm starting to apartment hunt in San Francisco, now that I know I'll have class there four days a week. (Yay journalism!) My first semester I will only have class on campus on Fridays -- what a change!

To kandeya: I think mid-June leaves you a safe amount of time to find a place. Good luck with your fellowship results! I hope you'll be at Cal.

I've never considered using Cal Rentals...will look into that and whether it's any good for SF.

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Hi everyone! I'm starting Berkeley in the fall as well (Go Bears!) and I'm really grateful for all the websites and other information everyone has posted on finding housing. I never got the chance to visit Berkeley, so any new information is incredibly helpful.

I was wondering how long it usually takes to find housing in Berkeley. A lot of people say "not long," but I'm not so sure what that means. I'm heading over at the end of July. Will that will be enough time to get everything settled before the semester starts?

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Hi everyone! I'm starting Berkeley in the fall as well (Go Bears!) and I'm really grateful for all the websites and other information everyone has posted on finding housing. I never got the chance to visit Berkeley, so any new information is incredibly helpful.

I was wondering how long it usually takes to find housing in Berkeley. A lot of people say "not long," but I'm not so sure what that means. I'm heading over at the end of July. Will that will be enough time to get everything settled before the semester starts?

Most people I know secure places about the end of July / early August -- but usually after looking for a good part of the month. So you'll be getting there right when pickings start to narrow down, but I think you'll be fine.

Many new grad students I know are already snapping up places because they're too nervous to wait, but I don't think it's necessary. I'm waiting, probably until late July / early August myself. It depends on how much you mind quirky places. They are plenty of not bad, but quirky places in August. People are getting the nice, normal places now through June and July. tongue.gif But there will be a few left.... And still close to campus, too, if that's what you're after.

Anyone know where summer school people tend to stay? As they leave in August (?), there should be some better options.

Edited by Jae B.

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Hi Berkeley folks,

I have a general question regarding where to live for ease of commuting, except I have a bit of a unique situation:

I'll be a grad student at Berkeley beginning this fall, so obviously my teaching and course-taking will all be at Berkeley. However, my lab is located across the bay in Tiburon at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies.

I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice as to where the best place would be to live (I plan on spending 50% of my time at each location)?!? Without actually being there and just looking at a map, it seems that somewhere in northern San Francisco may be a nice central local (but expensive), or I could opt for Albany/El Cerrito and be closer to Berkeley (and possibly spend less on rent).

Of course, as time progresses, I plan to spend more time at the lab, so I am also keeping that in mind.

I'm really struggling with this! Please help!

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Hi Berkeley folks,

I have a general question regarding where to live for ease of commuting, except I have a bit of a unique situation:

I'll be a grad student at Berkeley beginning this fall, so obviously my teaching and course-taking will all be at Berkeley. However, my lab is located across the bay in Tiburon at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies.

I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice as to where the best place would be to live (I plan on spending 50% of my time at each location)?!? Without actually being there and just looking at a map, it seems that somewhere in northern San Francisco may be a nice central local (but expensive), or I could opt for Albany/El Cerrito and be closer to Berkeley (and possibly spend less on rent).

Of course, as time progresses, I plan to spend more time at the lab, so I am also keeping that in mind.

I'm really struggling with this! Please help!

Ooh, you're lucky to get to work in Tiburon! Very nice area, and ritzy.

I currently live in Marin County (which Tiburon is part of) and commute to Berkeley via public transportation. It's not a bad public transit commute; cheapest way is BART to El Cerrito Del Norte and Golden Gate Transit to San Rafael, but you can also take BART to SF and then GGT across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin. (Taking GGT buses -- when you don't have a free AC Transit option -- is nice because you basically pay the price of bridge toll alone without the care and keeping of a vehicle.) Traffic gets VERY heavy in Marin County during peak hours -- not enough lanes for recent population growth, causes short distances to take a ridiculous amount of time -- so I advise you to always be an early bird! 6 - 7 a.m. the traffic is light, and again after 6 - 6:30 p.m. traffic lightens. 3 - 4 p.m. traffic is terrible, often bumper-to-bumper in downtown areas.

However, Marin and SF are generally more expensive than Berkeley and El Cerrito. Everyone I know who lives in El Cerrito loves it, and as I indicate above it is a good commute spot (BART from El Cerrito to Berkeley is pretty cheap, and you'll have free bus access to Berkeley via the 7 going through the hills or 72 line on San Pablo Ave. for when you're pinching pennies), though perhaps it's not the best for Tiburon, which is much closer to SF.

I'm not sure about deals in SF (I can tell you that the price of BART between SF and Berkeley is annoyingly expensive, but the trip saves a lot of time and the effort of difficult and costly parking in Berkeley), but I can talk about Marin. Generally speaking: high rent, low crime, nicely kept, not for people who want to party all the time but there's a decent music and arts scene that's attracted some great musicians and creative people to areas like Mill Valley, great public transportation, designed for commuting -- that's why we got the Golden Gate Bridge! The only places you can really get a deal are certain parts of San Rafael (like near the Canal district and the Terra Linda area -- though you'd want to stick as close to downtown SR as possible for ease of commute) and Marin City (which is closer to where you'll be working, and has a nice newish shopping center with great transit and freeway access). Terra Linda is a tame place, but a little out of your way unless you lived close to the hill to downtown SR, near Northgate Mall (which is newly remodeled and very nice), where there's great freeway access to the East Bay and Tiburon (though I'd rate the public transit access as okay). The other two areas -- the Canal district (with limited shopping without going to downtown SR, but it's close enough and they are improving the area) and Marin City -- are not what most would call desirable for Marin, but frankly compared to other places in SF, Richmond and Oakland, they are pretty tame and actually nice! Do some research and get to know the relevant areas where you think a commute is manageable.

I live in a small Marin town further inland than you'd want to live and have lousy freeway access, but I still have a manageable commute to both the East Bay and SF as long as I set out early enough to beat traffic.

I'm not sure Marin or SF would be that much more expensive than Albany unless you get a deal on a really small place there, or maybe a granny unit on someone's private property plus yard chores or dog or kid sitting. I've seen lots of funky little opportunities like that, but maybe that's not what you're looking for since it sounds like you'll be pretty busy!

I hope that helps, and good luck!

Edited by Jae B.

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Jae B.,

Wow, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative response! It is nice to gain the perspective of someone already living in the bay area (especially making the commute from Marin to Berkeley). Just hearing that it's possible eases my nerves a bit! For the first two months I will actually be living in Corte Madera, housesitting for someone, so I have time to search for an ideal place in the meantime.

Do you have any experience with commuting via bicycle? I am trying to decide whether or not it would be doable to live in El Cerrito and commute via bike to Tiburon and Berkeley. If I'm not mistaken, when I visited for interviews, I saw people bring their bikes on BART.

Also, do you make use of the ferry system at all? My research mentor mentioned briefly that there is a ferry that runs to Tiburon from (I believe) Berkeley (may be SF, I can't remember!).

Cheers,

Evolve :D

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Jae B.,

Wow, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative response! It is nice to gain the perspective of someone already living in the bay area (especially making the commute from Marin to Berkeley). Just hearing that it's possible eases my nerves a bit! For the first two months I will actually be living in Corte Madera, housesitting for someone, so I have time to search for an ideal place in the meantime.

Do you have any experience with commuting via bicycle? I am trying to decide whether or not it would be doable to live in El Cerrito and commute via bike to Tiburon and Berkeley. If I'm not mistaken, when I visited for interviews, I saw people bring their bikes on BART.

Also, do you make use of the ferry system at all? My research mentor mentioned briefly that there is a ferry that runs to Tiburon from (I believe) Berkeley (may be SF, I can't remember!).

Cheers,

Evolve :D

Corte Madera is awesome. I used to live in Larkspur, the neighboring town. Cool parks and two outdoor malls.

I don't have any experience commuting via bicycle. I've never taken mine out of Marin, because dealing with it on public transit just seemed like too much of a hassle. The farthest I've heard of people commuting via bike is SF to Oakland, so SF to Berkeley wouldn't be that much farther. El Cerrito to Berkeley would be fine, but El Cerrito to Tiburon would probably be arduous.

To be honest, Tiburon's a pretty out-of-the-way place in general. mellow.gif

Marin is a pretty bike-friendly place, except some drivers adamantly hate cyclists (on racing bikes in spandex outfits) because we have so many of them. Watch out for those guys! I haven't seen buses run out of room and have to leave someone behind in the Bay Area, but I've seen maybe two close ones in Marin where all the bike spaces (on the front and in the back of the bus) got taken. BART has certain times outlined in their schedule when bikes aren't allowed, but I don't know how strictly that's enforced. I see bikes on BART all the time.

I really wish there was ferry service from Marin to Berkeley! I don't believe there is a ferry from Tiburon to Berkeley, although there may have been one in the past -- I've read Berkeley ferry service ended in 1989. As far as I know, Berkeley is debating adding a ferry service, at least to SF.

You can take a ferry between Tiburon and SF, but I believe there's only the Blue & Gold Fleet service, which is more expensive than Golden Gate Transit's ferry service, and even they are expensive. Blue & Gold is $10 one way, $20 round-trip. Golden Gate ferries operate out of Larkspur and Sausalito to SF, and they cost $8.25 one way if you pay with cash, but it's only $4.40 from Sausalito to SF (and 5-something from Larkspur) if you use a Clipper transit card (used to be called TransLink) that can also be used on GGT and AC Transit buses (though you won't need to pay for AC) and BART. So with Clipper, the GGT ferry costs about the same as their out-of-county bus rides. But I'm not sure how to get there from Tiburon.

I generally just take the bus since getting to the ferry seems kind of slow. I could be wrong about that, though.

Edited by Jae B.

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Corte Madera is awesome. I used to live in Larkspur, the neighboring town. Cool parks and two outdoor malls.

I don't have any experience commuting via bicycle. I've never taken mine out of Marin, because dealing with it on public transit just seemed like too much of a hassle. The farthest I've heard of people commuting via bike is SF to Oakland, so SF to Berkeley wouldn't be that much farther. El Cerrito to Berkeley would be fine, but El Cerrito to Tiburon would probably be arduous.

To be honest, Tiburon's a pretty out-of-the-way place in general. mellow.gif

Marin is a pretty bike-friendly place, except some drivers adamantly hate cyclists (on racing bikes in spandex outfits) because we have so many of them. Watch out for those guys! I haven't seen buses run out of room and have to leave someone behind in the Bay Area, but I've seen maybe two close ones in Marin where all the bike spaces (on the front and in the back of the bus) got taken. BART has certain times outlined in their schedule when bikes aren't allowed, but I don't know how strictly that's enforced. I see bikes on BART all the time.

I really wish there was ferry service from Marin to Berkeley! I don't believe there is a ferry from Tiburon to Berkeley, although there may have been one in the past -- I've read Berkeley ferry service ended in 1989. As far as I know, Berkeley is debating adding a ferry service, at least to SF.

You can take a ferry between Tiburon and SF, but I believe there's only the Blue & Gold Fleet service, which is more expensive than Golden Gate Transit's ferry service, and even they are expensive. Blue & Gold is $10 one way, $20 round-trip. Golden Gate ferries operate out of Larkspur and Sausalito to SF, and they cost $8.25 one way if you pay with cash, but it's only $4.40 from Sausalito to SF (and 5-something from Larkspur) if you use a Clipper transit card (used to be called TransLink) that can also be used on GGT and AC Transit buses (though you won't need to pay for AC) and BART. So with Clipper, the GGT ferry costs about the same as their out-of-county bus rides. But I'm not sure how to get there from Tiburon.

I generally just take the bus since getting to the ferry seems kind of slow. I could be wrong about that, though.

Thank you for all of the advice/info! I am here now (Corte Madera) and have already begun to learn a lot about getting around the area. I think I will just live in Berkeley this year and drive to Tiburon when I have to (won't be as much this first year as it will be in later ones).

Regarding cyclists, you are absolutely right! I can't believe how many there are around Marin...especially Paradise Dr!

Now I just have to find the best open-late, outlets & wifi-equipped, coffee shop near campus. I was really surprised to see that the main library isn't open 24 hours.

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Hi All,

I just started apartment-hunting in Berkeley (whoohoo!) and found this very nice and very affordable studio. However, it's in North Oakland (near Telegraph Ave.), and I've read on here that Telegraph Ave. is not a nice place to be at night, so I'm a bit concerned about taking the place.

I looked on the Oakland crime map, and it seems like a lot of the more violent crimes (assault, aggravated assault) in the past couple of months have happened slightly to the North and East of the place. There just seems to be a good deal of auto theft in my general area. But I don't have a car (and am not planning on buying one), so that's not such a big deal, right?

I looked back several months and I can't find any crime whatsoever that happened on my specific block. I did like the place and the area did seem pretty nice and quiet. I walked there and back from campus, and I felt completely safe. I'm just worried about the nighttime situation. Is this going to be a situation where it's highly likely that I'm going to get robbed/mugged on my way home? Should I try to find another place?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Edited by American in Beijing

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Now I just have to find the best open-late, outlets & wifi-equipped, coffee shop near campus. I was really surprised to see that the main library isn't open 24 hours.

All the coffee places close too early for me...please report if you find a good one!

Moffitt & the Main Stacks are traditionally open 24 hours during finals, plus the café, and that's a lifesaver every year!

I also think that, in my department at least, grad students can enter our building and work all night if they wish...maybe this is a back-up option for your department, too? Definitely not as nice as a café, but I'm really happy to know I can stay on campus if I get absorbed in a project and can't make it home.

Is this going to be a situation where it's highly likely that I'm going to get robbed/mugged on my way home? Should I try to find another place?

Unfortunately, no one can really tell you your odds in that area at night (or day, really). Weird, random stuff happens -- I've seen people try crap in broad daylight within a crowd, so walkers need always be on guard. Best advice is not to stay out late unless you can take a bus almost directly to your place. Or have someone walk you or drop you off. That's my policy for most of Oakland, for South, Downtown & westward Berkeley, and all of Richmond after dark. It's worked out so far and hasn't been too difficult. Just be mindful of the bus schedule, especially what time you can catch the last bus to your apartment.

If you're living alone and worried, you can master the bus schedule and vary the times and ways you get home -- sometimes I feel safer when I'm not as predictable. :) And definitely bond with people at your building, find nearby buddies, make friends on your route, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't let the location stop me from living there. There will be other students to make you feel at home, but it is funky, there will be characters, and I bet sometimes you'll see things that will make you uncomfortable -- that's the way it is from the South-side on -- but usually it'll be harmless or people hurting themselves. :( Mostly, that area just makes me sad sometimes! Otherwise, it's pretty cool.

I like Telegraph Ave. locations because (as you probably know) you can take the 1 or 1R from Cal to get to them pretty easily, which is a hell of a lot safer than places you actually have to walk to. I've always chosen work locations off of Telegraph for this reason. Right now I work on 40th near Telegraph.

Edited by Jae B.

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All the coffee places close too early for me...please report if you find a good one!

Moffitt & the Main Stacks are traditionally open 24 hours during finals, plus the café, and that's a lifesaver every year!

I also think that, in my department at least, grad students can enter our building and work all night if they wish...maybe this is a back-up option for your department, too? Definitely not as nice as a café, but I'm really happy to know I can stay on campus if I get absorbed in a project and can't make it home.

Unfortunately, no one can really tell you your odds in that area at night (or day, really). Weird, random stuff happens -- I've seen people try crap in broad daylight within a crowd, so walkers need always be on guard. Best advice is not to stay out late unless you can take a bus almost directly to your place. Or have someone walk you or drop you off. That's my policy for most of Oakland, for South, Downtown & westward Berkeley, and all of Richmond after dark. It's worked out so far and hasn't been too difficult. Just be mindful of the bus schedule, especially what time you can catch the last bus to your apartment.

If you're living alone and worried, you can master the bus schedule and vary the times and ways you get home -- sometimes I feel safer when I'm not as predictable. :) And definitely bond with people at your building, find nearby buddies, make friends on your route, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't let the location stop me from living there. There will be other students to make you feel at home, but it is funky, there will be characters, and I bet sometimes you'll see things that will make you uncomfortable -- that's the way it is from the South-side on -- but usually it'll be harmless or people hurting themselves. :( Mostly, that area just makes me sad sometimes! Otherwise, it's pretty cool.

I like Telegraph Ave. locations because (as you probably know) you can take the 1 or 1R from Cal to get to them pretty easily, which is a hell of a lot safer than places you actually have to walk to. I've always chosen work locations off of Telegraph for this reason. Right now I work on 40th near Telegraph.

Thanks! That information helps a lot, actually! My landlord mentioned a bus, but I didn't know the exact line number and I assumed it just stopped service at 6 - 8 pm like a lot of the other buses in the area (grrrrr American public transportation). But the 1 actually stops close to midnight. Definitely a lot more convenient!

Maybe I will take the place. I was drawn to the area because it's relatively flat and biker-friendly, unlike the ritzier, hillier North side. The apartment itself is my favorite place I have seen so far. Then I looked at that crime map and started having second thoughts . . .

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So, what are the chances of getting a safe place to live if I start looking now? Berkeley still hasn't gotten back to me with my FLAS fellowship information (delays at the Department of Education what now), so I haven't bothered looking for a place yet, since I can't go if I don't get the fellowship. I assume I'll hear back some time this month because it'd be absurd if I didn't, but I'm worried there won't be places left to take by the time they get back to me. Any advice for room-hunting on such short notice?

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So, what are the chances of getting a safe place to live if I start looking now? Berkeley still hasn't gotten back to me with my FLAS fellowship information (delays at the Department of Education what now), so I haven't bothered looking for a place yet, since I can't go if I don't get the fellowship. I assume I'll hear back some time this month because it'd be absurd if I didn't, but I'm worried there won't be places left to take by the time they get back to me. Any advice for room-hunting on such short notice?

Sooner is always better for options, but you an still find a safe place...especially as summer schoolers move. Don't worry too much. It's mostly about how nice of a safe place you'll get. :P

An awesome friend of mine has a great room available in an excellent location in Oakland, if you're starting to look. (She bikes everywhere and good transit options are nearby.) Let me know if you'd like her contact info.

Edited by Jae B.

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Sooner is always better for options, but you an still find a safe place...especially as summer schoolers move. Don't worry too much. It's mostly about how nice of a safe place you'll get. :P

An awesome friend of mine has a great room available in an excellent location in Oakland, if you're starting to look. (She bikes everywhere and good transit options are nearby.) Let me know if you'd like her contact info.

Awwww, thanks! I haven't started looking yet--if I get lucky I might know by the end of the week, but I'm not counting on anything until I receive word. One of my friends goes to Berkeley for her Ph.D, so I figure if it comes to it, I could get something with a September lease and crash with her for a few days--I'm moving across the country if I go to Berkeley, so it's just weird to think I still don't know what's going to happen with less than a month left.

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Awwww, thanks! I haven't started looking yet--if I get lucky I might know by the end of the week, but I'm not counting on anything until I receive word. One of my friends goes to Berkeley for her Ph.D, so I figure if it comes to it, I could get something with a September lease and crash with her for a few days--I'm moving across the country if I go to Berkeley, so it's just weird to think I still don't know what's going to happen with less than a month left.

Wow, good luck! Nice you have someone to crash with after that big a move.

Time has flown. My orientation is on the 19th and 20th. I register for classes on the 5th!

...Time to get my summer homework done!

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So, what are the chances of getting a safe place to live if I start looking now? Berkeley still hasn't gotten back to me with my FLAS fellowship information (delays at the Department of Education what now), so I haven't bothered looking for a place yet, since I can't go if I don't get the fellowship. I assume I'll hear back some time this month because it'd be absurd if I didn't, but I'm worried there won't be places left to take by the time they get back to me. Any advice for room-hunting on such short notice?

I wouldn't be too worried. I started looking for housing early, but I still haven't secured a place. Padmapper.com shows that there are still many, many places still available.

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Going off on a (well, mostly unrelated) tangent, does anyone ever shell out for the season student football tickets? I assume it's mostly crazy undergrads that do, but surely there must some crazy grad students as well? :D I'm kinda tempted to...but that may just be my sports-deprived undergraduate life speaking.

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Going off on a (well, mostly unrelated) tangent, does anyone ever shell out for the season student football tickets? I assume it's mostly crazy undergrads that do, but surely there must some crazy grad students as well? :D I'm kinda tempted to...but that may just be my sports-deprived undergraduate life speaking.

I'm not sure whether grad students buy those tickets. My impression is they're more mellow about games than undergrads. I've only heard them talk about non-collegiate, professional games.

The season football tickets are hugely popular with undergrads -- I felt like the only person who didn't buy them. Friends would remind me to buy them, and later were always like, "See you at the game?!" and I'd have to sheepishly say, "Nope...."

Surely you'll be able to find some grad students who are interested, though. So go for it?

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Going off on a (well, mostly unrelated) tangent, does anyone ever shell out for the season student football tickets? I assume it's mostly crazy undergrads that do, but surely there must some crazy grad students as well? :D I'm kinda tempted to...but that may just be my sports-deprived undergraduate life speaking.

I think I'm going to! I hope somebody from my dept gets them too. I was sports-deprived too...my undergrad's mascot was the "green wave" and I don't think our football team ever won. Sooo if you need a grad school buddy to go to games with, I'll go!

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