Life as a Senior in Off-Campus Housing.
Ever wondered what it’s like to live in off-campus housing for the first time? Here’s a day in my life to help you get a better idea of what’s in store for you should you choose this option!
In the Morning…
9:00 a.m. – Wake Up and Breakfast
Every morning, I wake up around 9 a.m. to the competing sounds of my alarm and my grumbling stomach. After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I go through my section of the refrigerator and pantry to gather some ingredients for breakfast. My housemates and I prefer to divide up our food storage space instead of sharing groceries because we find it easier when we don’t have to figure out how to divide grocery costs. However, I find that many houses do the opposite. This is just one of many instances where communicating with your housemates is vital for a good off-campus living environment.
Today’s breakfast is egg and toast!
10:40 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. – Wait for the Bus
Every Berkeley student knows that walking through hills to get to campus is a sure way to arrive to class sweaty and gross. Luckily, UC Berkeley students can use AC Transit to ride the bus to campus for free. If you haven’t done it yet, get your EasyPass and start exploring the Bay Area by bus and BART for free. The ride from my nearest bus stop to campus usually takes just 10 minutes.
11:10 a.m. – Class Time
It’s finally time for the first class of the day — Political Economy 101. I personally love this time slot for classes because it isn’t so early that I’m tired, and it allows me to have free late afternoons. This enables me to stay engaged and participate more in class. It also helps my professors recognize my face, helping me build a relationship with them more easily during office hours (which can be super helpful in case you need a letter of recommendation down the line!!!). I’ve always found that at least one out of my four classes each semester can both fall in this time slot and keep me on track for graduation. I find my friends to sit and chat before lecture begins; then, it’s time for learning!
In the Afternoon…
1:00 p.m. – Lunch and Work
After class, I get a little exercise by walking back home (20 minutes) just in time for lunch. Usually, I’ll heat something up that I cooked the night before. This way, I can eat quickly before I start my shift for the Student Affairs Communications’ social media team (check out @ucberkeleylife on IG and @ucberkeley on TikTok)! I found this job through Work-Study, and there are tons of other work-study jobs on campus that are just as fun. Be sure to check out the website if you’re in the market for a flexible, student-supporting role!
4:30 p.m. – Basketball
After clocking out from work, I need some time to unwind. My favorite way to destress from the day is to head to the RSF — a gym on campus that UC Berkeley students can access for free — to play some pickup basketball. This is an easy, cheap, and healthy way to meet a ton of new people and make a lot of new friends. It’s also the perfect way to get a group going for the intramural sports season.
Here’s a picture of me and my intramural team!
In the Evening…
7:00 p.m. – Dinner
After a few hours of work and exercise, my stomach is sure to let me know that it’s time to eat again. Right after showering, I take some of the ingredients from my weekend grocery runs at nearby Berkeley Bowl or Target to whip up a tasty meal, making sure to prepare extra food for the next day.
8:00 p.m. – Homework
After basketball and dinner, it’s time to get back to work. I take the bus, then walk over to Doe Library to make some progress on my assignments for class. Thankfully, the walk through Sproul Plaza is bereft of crowds and club tabling by this time. On days where I study a bit earlier, my favorite study spot is the Valley Life Sciences Library; but on days where I study a bit later, my ideal spot is Heyns Reading Room in Doe Library. If you’re looking to find your ideal study spot, check out our list of the “Top 5 Library Study Spots”.
11:30 p.m. – 12 a.m. – Head Home
After a couple hours doing homework or working on other projects, I pack up my laptop and water bottle and head back home. Usually, I’ll study with a friend who lives close by and we’ll walk home together (20-25 minutes). For times where my friends or I have studied late alone or stayed out at a party where nobody lives in the same direction, we make sure to take advantage of Berkeley’s night safety resources like BearWALK.
1:00 a.m. – Bedtime
I go through my nightly routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth before finally going to bed after a long but productive day.
Finding Your Own Routine
It took me a while (and some trial and error) to finally find a routine that worked for me. If you experience the same thing, don’t worry. It’s completely normal. The complete freedom of living off campus and away from parents can take some getting used to. Some questions that might be helpful to consider when creating yours are the following: Do I study better alone or with friends? Am I a morning person or not? How much free time do I need? And, perhaps most importantly, what resources are available to me for any routine that I do land on?
I hope reading about a day in my life gave you an idea of what off-campus life is like, connected you to some resources you didn’t know about, or was helpful to you in other ways. Good luck in finding your own routine, Bears!
Lucas Yen is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Political Economy.