Living On Campus: 2021

Left to right: Gaby Allaf and Sophia Dumesny, two students living on campus in spring 2021.

Left to right: Gaby Allaf and Sophia Dumesny, two students living on campus in spring 2021.

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Everyday Life This Semester

You might wonder what it’s like for students who are living on campus this year in the residence halls, especially if you’re living off campus. We talked to two students, one of them a Resident Assistant (RA), about their experiences to give you a glimpse of their everyday life on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introducing Sophia Dumesny, a freshman Business Administration (GMP) major and French minor (she/her), and Gaby Allaf, an RA, senior Political Science major and History and Spanish double minor (she/her).

What has been your experience living on campus?

Sophia: My experience has been great despite the COVID-19 restrictions! I’ve still been able to make friends and explore Berkeley and the surrounding Bay Area.

Gaby: My experience living in the residence halls this year is definitely different than previous years because students are not interacting with each other as much. Sometimes it can feel lonely, but I think this can be good because it forces us all to take initiative in making friends, and more of us want to attend res hall activities as well.

Has anything surprised you about living on campus?

Gaby: Sometimes I am surprised by how strict the policies are—no guests allowed and you always have to wear a mask outside of your room—but I think that these policies are necessary and they are really crucial to keeping us all safe and healthy! I have also been surprised by how well students have followed the policies. Most of my residents always follow the rules and understand that it is for the greater good.

Sophia: I was surprised by how much space I have in my res hall. I’m living in a double room alone, and it’s been great to be able to set up the additional bed as a makeshift couch. 

What’s it like getting tested for COVID-19 twice a week?

Gaby: Having to get tested twice a week has generally been very easy. The whole process of getting tested takes me less than 15 minutes. It takes me less than five minutes to walk to the location, less than five minutes to get tested, and less than five minutes to walk back. 

Sophia: Getting tested is super easy! I just make an appointment on the Tang Center portal, and then I walk to the testing site which is right across the street from my residence hall. It only takes 5 minutes total for me to complete the whole process.

How do you exercise?

Gaby: I exercise by going on walks around campus and on hikes around Berkeley. The Berkeley fire trails offer stunning views of the entire bay so it is nice to go up there with some of my friends.

Sophia: I have been able to exercise by walking everywhere! Berkeley is super walkable. 

What do you do for fun?

Sophia: I enjoy doing outdoor activities with my friends, like hiking or going to San Francisco!

Gaby: For virtual fun, my friends and I get on zoom and play games or just catch up with each other. We also watch movies together via zoom. In person however, I like going out for socially-distanced trips for boba with my friends in Berkeley!

What is the dining situation on campus this spring?

Sophia: The Den, connected to Crossroads dining commons, is definitely my favorite place. I love using my meal plan flex dollars to buy Peet’s coffee or shop in the mini “grocery store” that stocks things like ice cream and fresh fruit.

Gaby: I really like the new layout of Crossroads and I think that the staff have done an excellent job adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines. I love the Golden Bear Café’s new menu, and I appreciate that they now take meal plan meal swipes.

How have you found community?

Sophia: I have found community through the Global Management Program, the specialty program I am a part of! Being able to take classes with a small cohort made it really easy for me to make friends.

Gaby: I have found a community as an RA, because the rest of my staff and I have a lot in common. Additionally, I think that our role really brings us together because we empathize with each other. Even as a second semester senior, I have made some great new friends in the res halls this year.

No matter where you are living this semester, there are a lot of virtual programs for students to get involved in and get to know each other. Check out Find Your Fun at Cal for ideas and ways to connect.

Kaylie Chen is a senior (Class of ’21) majoring in Legal Studies.