Like it or not, the spring 2013 semester — and maybe your first year at Cal — is already halfway over. Your time in a dorm, suite or campus apartment is dwindling away. Now it’s time to find a “real” apartment or house. Here are some of the luxuries you should keep in mind when the frustrations of apartment-hunting get you down:
1. Sharing the bathroom with three other people instead of an entire floor. You may have to clean the sink and toilet yourself, but the days of awkward smiles with a mouth full of toothpaste and trying very hard to be quiet while you take care of business will be gone for good. Look forward to taking your toiletries out of the cubby at Stern and putting them around your own sink!
2. Having an actual kitchen. You will no longer be limited to the five or six snacks that can fit in your mini fridge, or to microwavable pizza on the nights Crossroads sounds unbearable. You real chefs may be so bold as to want to cook more than Easy Mac and Top Ramen, but even if you’re not at least you’ll have a stove to boil water on instead of the microwave. You’ll also have more room in your fridge to store all those Asian Ghetto leftovers.
3. Cheaper rent and more time. If you’re in a suite or campus apartment, you’re already used to having more space and a kitchen, but you would love a lower rate and more wiggle room to stay at the place that your money goes toward. (Seriously, what’s up with forcing us out of the residence halls 12 hours after our last final is done on a Friday night?) You’ve heard glamorous tales of cheap apartments that you can stay in over break if you want but even if you are heading home, your apartment runs on your personal schedule.
4. Inviting friends over. Unless you take over a lounge in your building, having a party or kickback is never all that feasible in the dorms. In an apartment, you’ll have real space to have people over instead of cramming into one side of your double room and awkwardly deciding whether or not to make use of your roommate’s desk chair. No quiet hours either! People may have to trek further down College Avenue to get to your place, but it’ll be totally worth it. And if you lived in Clark Kerr, chances are you’ll be closer to everyone else anyway.
5. No security monitors. You’ll be free to waltz in and out of your building any time of the day without having to whip out your school ID. No more juggling a take-out box and card after 6 p.m., and no more silent judgment about the questionable state you come back in way into the night. Plus when you have your awesome new parties, your friends won’t have to file in and crowd the Wada entrance as they wait to be swiped in.
As you can see, moving out opens up a plethora of advantages. But there is one distinct disadvantage and that is the uncertainty of moving out of the residence halls. As much as you have daydreamed about next year, you’re not ready to seriously think about it. It’s barely the middle of the semester! How do you even begin to find an apartment in Berkeley? How will you actually set up rent and pay your electric bill? You’ve heard of PadMapper, but unless you have had the time to sift through all the postings, you have no clue what you’re getting into.
What’s your backup plan if you don’t find anything else? Well, it’s campus housing. You have until Sunday to accept or decline your housing offer but that’s way too soon! That’s a sly move, ResHall, making continuing students decide their fate for next year when they have almost no time to look at alternative living arrangements and are in the middle of midterm season.
The Clog suggests taking the leap of faith and moving into the real world — college-style. The dorms are a great place to celebrate coming to college, but how will it feel when all the freshman next year are so excited to head out to the frats on a Friday night for the first time? Pretty awkward. So do you know of any good housing options for those looking for housing? Post them below!