Myths about Mills Life

  1. You’ll hear gunshots all the time. There are a couple of factors that contribute to this myth. First, Mills - especially up in Ethel, Mary, Prospect, and Underwood - is located in the perfect place to hear noise from all over Oakland. We didn’t realize how true this was till last year’s Rolling Stones concert, when Mills women could identify each song being played all the way down at the Oakland Coliseum, which is almost in Alameda. If you hear gunshots, they’re as likely to be happening ten miles away as they are to be outside our gates.
    Second, what you’re hearing probably isn’t a gun. This area is full of old, belchy cars that backfire all the time, especially with the high traffic outside the front gate.
    Finally, even if it was a gun, it’s probably someone messing around and shooting it off into the air. This is a big city; people do stupid things, and you can hear most of them from your dorm.

  2. Oakland is really dangerous and crime-ridden. People will tell you to stay on campus and do all your shopping in Berkeley. Even the Mills Van only recently started letting students off in Oakland, and you couldn’t get a key to the back gate until last year. (By the way: go down to Public Safety in Carnegie, behind all the M Center desks, and ASK FOR A KEY TO THE BACK GATE! They call it the “Pedestrian Gate;” there’s all kinds of goodies out there!)
    Just practice common sense: don’t cross against the light if you’re going under the freeway to High Street; don’t go out alone late at night if you haven’t taken a self-defense class (Mills’ is excellent, and the teacher’s a hottie!); and remember what time the buses stop running! Pretend you’re Cinderella and start home before midnight.
    Want the college-level analysis of why everyone thinks we’re so violent and dangerous? Oakland’s crime-ridden reputation can be traced directly back to racism. The main thing that makes the news is violence. The only kind of violence that makes the news with any frequency is the stuff people expect to see and stuff that’s really unusual. Rape, people holding up liquor stores, anything with guns and/or drugs. They don’t report on crimes like getting a monopoly over the steel industry and firing 10,000 people because there’s nothing visual to show and people who commit those crimes have economic power over the news corporations. On top of that, news folks feel a need to emphasize stuff that makes you different. Like, the basic average person is supposed to be straight, white, male, and middle-class. If you’re not any of those things, they’ll usually mention it. Like “the female sargeant,” “the black businessowner....” or “the black rapist,” “the hispanic bank robber,” “the female gunman, uh, woman.” So when you hear about crimes, someone’s either a murder suspect or a black murder suspect, and only one or two races get mentally associated with crime. And Oakland’s an extremely, satisfyingly diverse city, so the media not only gets to talk about “the hispanic suspect” but also gets to associate it with gangs and use the words “ghetto” and “urban blight.” If they actually walked the streets of Oakland, shopped in their neighborhoods and hung out on their sidewalks, they’d have a very different mental image of this fab city.

  3. The Mills Van is the best/only way to get around. Oh, come on. The Mills Van breaks down every other week, leaves early so you miss it, leaves late so you miss your appointment, skips a departure time because a driver was late to work, or won’t let you on cause it’s full. It’s great if you’re walking by and you decide to take off, or if you don’t have a scheduled time to be somewhere, or if you want to get to BART. But don’t you wish you had another method of transportation?
    Here’s what you do. First, figure out which of your friends have cars. Second, figure out who you know in your dorm who has a car, and make friends with them. And I mean real friends, cause I’m not about to start some kind of “use ‘em and leave ‘em” trend on campus. Third, walk allllllll the way down to the front gate and look at that bus stop right there. See how many numbers and letters are on it? You see, Mills is on MacArthur Boulevard, which you knew, and MacArthur goes right down the middle of the whole city, which maybe you didn’t know.
    Bus and BART Lesson

    The 57, the 58, and the N all go down MacArthur all the way to Lake Merritt; from there, the 58 goes to Downtown Oakland (two BART stations, Jack London Square, and more restaurants than you could eat at in a year); the 57 goes down the rest of MacArthur (Piedmont, Berkeley, and all of Oakland at your fingertips); and the N goes to San Francisco!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What buses go near Mills? Besides the three buses mentioned above, there’s also the 40, which goes to Berkeley via a whole lot of Oakland. If you miss the Mills Van, you can take this. Take your back gate key and turn right onto Seminary, and walk down for about ten minutes until you hit Foothill. Then find a bus stop on the right side of Foothill and sit down. If you’re really smart, you’ll get yourself a bus schedule when you get on the bus - they’re at the front next to the driver.

    The 56 goes down Seminary, as you’ll notice when you’re going towards the 40. The 56 goes to the Oakland Zoo, in the opposite direction from Mills and Berkeley and so on. The 56A goes to the Knowland Arboretum and Park. They also go to several golf links, according to the “BART and Buses” booklet, if you’re into that.
    If you go to the AAMC (the Alumnae House, by the Art buildings) and look around, you’ll notice some really old, hand-drawn maps of Mills Campus “back in the day” about seventy years ago. Up on one corner is Chabot Observatory. That’s not on our campus, but it’s still there, and you can still go check it out. Take the 58 down to High (or walk!), turn right on High, and catch the 48 on the right-hand side. It’ll take you right there.
    Rule of thumb: If you take anything down MacArthur for any length of time, you’ll cross the paths of most any bus you could ever want.

    What’s with the letters and numbers? AC Transit’s numbered buses are the ones that stay on this side of the bay. They’re in Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro, and a ton of other cities. The lettered buses, like the N, are “transbay lines;” they all go from East Bay cities to San Francisco, and stop a couple places on the way. So you can take the N to Lake Merritt or Lucky’s, but they might charge you for the full trip.

    How much do bus rides cost? Regular numbered buses cost $1.25 one way, or you can pay $1.50 and get a transfer for a pretty random amount of time up to three or four hours. (Hint: They rip off a sort of receipt with your date and a bunch of times on it. They have different rolls for morning, afternoon, and evening. Basically, the times on the afternoon roll, for example, go from noon to five. If you get a transfer at one, it’s good until five. If you get a transfer at four, it’s good till five. Remember that when you ask yourself if it’s worth the quarter.)

    The transbay buses cost $2.25 one way, and you can’t get a transfer. You can buy books of tickets that really cut the price down; a packet of ten transbay bus tickets costs $18.00, making it $1.80 each instead of $2.25. There are a bunch of places you can buy these, but I usually get them at the Transbay Bus Terminal, during regular business hours. There are also various passes available. A monthly bus pass costs $45, but it goes up to $80 if you want to use it on transbay buses. You can also buy a “BART Plus” ticket at the downtown BART stations; they start at $28, and give you free passage on just about all above-ground public transportation. They only last two weeks, but on the other hand nobody looks at them closely enough to note anything except the month.

    Where does BART stop? BART stops all over both sides of the bay. Here’s a list of all their stops:
    Richmond-DalyCity/Colma (the red line): Richmond, El Cerrito Del Norte, El Cerrito Plaza, North Berkeley, Downtown Berkeley, Ashby, MacArthur, 19th St. Oakland, 12th St. Oakland/City Center, West Oakland, Embarcardero, Montgomery St., Powell St., Civic Center, 16th St. Mission, 24th St. Mission, Glen Park, Balboa Park, Daly City, Colma. (Only goes to Colma during rush hour, hence the slash in the title.)
    Richmond-Fremont line (the orange line): Richmond, El Cerrito Del Norte, El Cerrito Plaza, North Berkeley, Downtown Berkeley, Ashby, MacArthur, 19th St. Oakland, 12th St. Oakland/City Center, Fruitvale, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Hayward, South Hayward, Union City, Fremont, and soon Irvington and Warm Springs but they’re still under construction.
    Pittsburg/BayPoint-DalyCity/Colma (the yellow line): Pittsburg/Bay Point, North Concord/Martinez, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Rockridge, MacArthur, 19th St. Oakland, 12th St. Oakland/City Center, West Oakland, Embarcardero, Montgomery St., Powell St., Civic Center, 16th St. Mission, 24th St. Mission, Glen Park, Balboa Park, Daly City, Colma.
    Daly City-Fremont (the green line): Daly City, Balboa Park, Glen Park, 24th St. Mission, 16th St. Mission, Civic Center, Powell St., Montgomery St., Embarcardero, West Oakland, Lake Merritt, Fruitvale, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Hayward, South Hayward, Union City, Fremont, and soon Irvington and Warm Springs but they’re still under construction.
    Daly City-Dublin/Pleasanton (the blue line): Daly City, Balboa Park, Glen Park, 24th St. Mission, 16th St. Mission, Civic Center, Powell St., Montgomery St., Embarcardero, West Oakland, Lake Merritt, Fruitvale, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Castro Valley, Dublin/Pleasanton.

    All colors refer to their color on the BART maps. The BART trains themselves are all silver grey.

    What BART stations can I get to from Mills? You can take the Mills Van to Rockridge Bart, which is in Oakland just before the Berkeley border. It’s on the yellow line, Pittsburgh/Bay Point. It’ll take you northeast to Orinda and Walnut Creek and so on, or southwest to San Francisco’s many stops and suburbs. The line is named according to its final destination: a trainon the yellow line going northeast will be “a Pittsburg/Bay Point train,” and going the opposite direction will be “a Daly City/Colma-bound train.”

    Where can I get more information? Get to a BART station and grab a copy of an orangey pamphlet titled “BART & Buses: A Guide to Public Transportation From BART.” It has nice, clear maps of all these different cities, along with all the bus lines you can catch, and parks, observatories, auditoriums, theatres, zoos, and colleges. The maps focus mostly on areas surrounding BART stations, but they stretch out pretty far.

    Random Collected Thoughts

    Taking BART is fun because you stick the ticket in and it goes “snick!” and gets sucked through. * Above-ground buses are slow; take underground Muni and BART when you can. * The reason BART’s more expensive is because they’re assholes; they want to keep it to the business crowd. * On the same note, BART started banning “criminals” who were ever caught doing graffiti, for example, which screws kids and anyone else they don’t like cause BART’s the only way to get to a lot of places. * Mills Liquor cards. * Getting on the bus going the wrong way sucks. * Trust your instincts and ask the driver as soon as you think you’re on the wrong line. * Mills dorm food used to be the best college food in the country. * Five years ago, Ben and Jerry’s donated ice cream to Mills and they had it every day. What’s that about?! * Talk to the upperclasswomen. Find out which professors are boring, which ones give everyone As, which ones won’t grade higher than a B+, what each of them is looking for. Why keep reinventing the wheel? *