When you’ve grown up in one area your whole life, you start to notice all the distinct groups of people. Being born and raised in the Bay Area of northern California, I’ve compiled a list of twelve types of people you’re bound to meet here. Most are groups I’ve noticed in high school, but they definitely exist outside of school as well. Here are some of these groups of people.
An abbreviation of the title, Asian Baby Girl, ABGs can be found at every Bay Area high school. These girls usually form cliques, often dating Asian boys with similar reputations. They drive around in search for the newest trendy food places, go on photoshoots, and rave. If you ever stumble across an ABG’s Instagram account, you’ll likely find captions with a basic song lyric, phrases such as “I love puppies,” “take me back,” “night with my girls,” or a few well placed emojis. The signature look of an ABG consists of “on fleek” eyebrows, falsies, and plenty of highlight.
From the second you meet this person, you already know they’re going to end up in an Ivy League school. These perfect students can range from extremely sociable and outgoing to virtually unknown except for their squeaky clean academic records. Sometimes, they can be a bit condescending, casually dropping statements such as “I did so badly on this test, I only got a 90%” and receiving groans from the rest of the class. Overall, they excel at pretty much any academic subject and is every teacher’s favorite.
The CS Genius
Most likely Asian, the CS Genius has probably programmed several smartphone apps and started a club related to computer science. True to their name, he or she has a never-ending passion for computer programming and likely a group of friends who share the same interests. They are very predictable; they’ve probably been accepted in Cal as a Regents Scholar or head off to a prestigious private school for CS. Throughout high school, they’ve dabbled in other interests such as sports, but no other activity means as much to them as CS.
The Kpop Fan
It isn’t a surprise that most Kpop fans are female, and you’ll definitely find a couple groups of these female fans scattered around at any school. These girls are hardcore fans of groups such as BTS, Blackpink, Exo, Got7, Red Velvet, you name it. Especially with the recent rise of BTS’s influence on the American music industry, the Kpop Fan will likely be happy to introduce you to all seven members of the Kpop band, overly excited that more people are noticing their music. They will probably own articles of clothing, posters, or any other items supporting their favorite groups and talk excessively about recent Kpop comebacks, songs, and performances.
The Hardcore Parent
This is someone you wouldn’t regularly meet at school, but he or she plays a large role behind the scenes at any high school. Usually the parent of the Overachiever, he or she encourages academic excellence to the extreme. From a young age, they will sign their kids up for a wide variety of activities, often tutoring them at home to help them get ahead of the class. When their kids enter high school, they play an even bigger role, spearheading parent organizations to rally against the school if they feel anything unjust is happening to their children. Also known as the “Tiger Mom” in Asian culture, they’ll do anything to get their children to be the best, their ultimate goal being an Ivy League or similarly reputable university.
Often part of the Yearbook or newspaper staff, or just well known for their photography skills, the photographer is likely carrying one of his cameras when you see him or her. They are also seen with the ABGs and their friends often, acting as the curator for their Instagram feeds during the group’s adventures. You’ll see a proliferation of these people once prom season rolls around, and everyone is scrambling for a photographer to shoot their pre-proms. Otherwise, these photographers will be out shooting rising models, nature scenes or Instagram pictures for their friends.
With the Bay Area’s large Asian population and solid reputation for its excellent school districts, it’s only natural that parents from other countries, especially Asian countries, to send their children here for their education. Known as the Fob, or “Fresh off the Boat,” these people often stick together, rarely becoming close with native students, and can be found in very specific locations around town, such as a particular boba shop or cafe. Sometimes, they are looked down upon, generalized as filthy rich (how else could they have come all the way here for school?) and sometimes these assumptions are correct. You might see a few of these people sporting expensive brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Boy London casually.
The Soundcloud Artist
This group of people is not very big, and are often quiet and unknown at school. Because their peers are usually focused solely on academics, their friends and/or college, they go unnoticed. You might consider these people the “hippies,” who don’t comply to the stereotypes and definitely do not stick to the status quo. It’s no surprise that they’re rare, but if you find one, he or she will probably be reserved, artistic, and have very small, specific group of friends. A number of them will probably dabble in music, hence their title, the Soundcloud Artist.
The Smart Athlete
Jocks are characterized with less than excellent academic performance, but not in the Bay Area. Sure, there may be athletes who fit the stereotypical American description, but more likely than not, athletes here are equally strong in brain as brawn. This means that they may fit into the Overachiever category as well, while juggling one or more sports at school. These people will probably go to college on an athletic scholarship, but they’ll make sure to use their academic records as well. Popular in school, these people have no trouble establishing a social circle and/or finding a partner in high school.
By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that even the “Druggie” in the Bay Area can get decent grades and maintain an active social life. Far from the movie scenes of druggies sitting around their cars and wasting away their lives, these people manage to keep their record relatively clean and have a solid group of friends. Vaping is common in the Bay Area; the e-cigarette is seen as healthier and “cooler” than a regular cigarette. The Druggie can be found at certain cafes after dark, yet they manage to keep the darker parts of themselves hidden at school. Although everyone knows what they do, they don’t look down upon them for it.
Now, every community has to have the older citizens who have been living in the area since forever. They’re often lamenting about how much the Bay Area has changed, and if you start a conversation with them, they’ll never stop reminiscing. Usually a neighbor, these adults have a set routine and despite their complaints about change, they’ve remained in the community for a long time with no intention to leave their home. They’ll probably be able to tell you what Silicon Valley looked like before all the tech giants took over and schools became mostly Asian American.
The Rest of Us
If someone doesn’t fit into one of more of the categories I’ve described above, they’re “the rest of us,” just plain citizens who happen to be living in the Bay. At school, this is the majority; average students doing their best with their studies and having a moderate group of friends. In the community, these are the parents who encourage their kids to study but also give them freedom to pursue other interests, likely working a 9 to 5 job in the tech industry. The Bay Area is full of interesting people, and this list does not even begin to describe them; the only way to experience the community here is to come see for yourself!