How to make Berkeley feel more like home this summer

Two people sitting and reading books
Katrina Romulo/Staff

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a soon-to-be senior, Berkeley is our home — whether we like it or not. But some days, Berkeley can feel as far away from home as it gets. And as summer approaches, when more than half of the UC Berkeley population disappears, that slightest sense of home seems to disappear along with it. So the few of us still left in Berkeley who have to take class, work or even both are left feeling a little lost in this city we share.

One of the hardest parts about summer in Berkeley is that a large proportion of your social life disappears. But instead of viewing this as a incentive to stay inside and not socialize for three months, why not use it as an incentive to meet new people? That could mean making new friends in your summer classes or trying to expand your social group beyond just other UC Berkeley students. Try joining a Berkeley community group that isn’t affiliated with the university. We suggest volunteering at food shelters or retirement homes, joining workout classes at a local gym or getting involved with one of Berkeley’s many nonprofits.

As college students, it’s easy to get caught up into our busy schedules, but how often do you take the opportunity to appreciate the place that you call home? It’s easy to fall into routine of walking straight to class or work and then walking straight home. But in order to feel at home, try to dedicate just a few minutes every day to taking a walk around your neighborhood during those warm summer evenings. You might just begin to appreciate the area that surrounds your apartment or house while also beginning to recognize the familiar faces of your neighbors and house cats.

If you’ve been living in Berkeley for a while, you’ve already figured out your favorite places to study, eat or just relax. But Berkeley has so many corners and streets to explore, and you’ll never run out of places to go for the first time. So this summer, try to explore something new at least once a week. This could mean going to a new coffee shop, visiting a new park or even taking an alternate route to class or work. The more you explore, the more you’ll feel a sense of place in this city.

Living in Berkeley isn’t always easy, especially when summer rolls around and some of your favorite people leave for three months. But if you think of summer in Berkeley as an opportunity to get to know this place a little better, maybe you won’t feel as lost as before. And maybe you’ll be able to start feeling a little more at home in this crazy little city we all share.

Contact Emily Denny at [email protected].