Pros and cons of going back to Berkeley for fall semester

Kavya Narendra Babu/Staff
The stainless steel sculpture at Hearst Mining Circle is one of five from Bruce Beasley’s “Rondo” series around the UC Berkeley campus.

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Given the recent announcement of optional in-person classes for the fall semester, you have a decision to make. Either you could go back to Berkeley for the semester or take the semester remotely in your home (or wherever you’re spending your summer at the moment). To help you make up your mind, here are the pros and cons of going back to Berkeley for the fall semester or staying where you are.

Parents aren’t there to tell you what to do, but you have to do your own chores

College is a chance to be more independent. For a parent to nag you in college, either they have to call or make the trip out. If you’d rather not have your parents nagging you all the time and telling you what to do, this is a major plus of staying in Berkeley. This is especially true if you are sick of sheltering in place with your family.

The downside is, of course, that you have to do more things for yourself. You’ll have to deal with all those chores (and more) that your parents used to nag you about doing. No one else (besides maybe a nice roommate) will do them for you. So, if you want clean clothes or your place not to have a funky smell, it may be up to you. After all, your roommates might just decide to spend the semester at home.

Same-age roommates provide company, but you have to deal with roommates

If you’ve been social distancing in your home for some time now, then chances are you haven’t seen someone the same age as you (and not just through a computer screen) for a while. Coming back to your apartment or dorm room will have you living with these people. Also, your roommates are your friends. That means you’ll be able to hang out in person, possibly for the whole semester. That could be a definite plus.

The only problem is that you’re going to have to live with and possibly be stuck with those roommates. Having to share a space or even a room with other people can become unbearable, especially if the people you share with get on your nerves. There’s also a chance that conditions change, and you’ll be forced to shelter in place with them. That means that your roommates might end up being the only people you’ll be able to see in person for weeks or months. Whether your roommates will end up being a downside depends, but keep it in mind.

You can do school work at home, but your family may distract you

There is also a benefit or two if you don’t go to Berkeley to attend the semester in person. Attending the semester at home can make the semester less stressful. If you have fond childhood memories in your home and in your room, then it might be a nice reprieve and reminder that life exists outside school stress. That can be all the difference in making the semester more tolerable.

You just have to remember that your parents and possibly even your siblings are working or taking classes at home at the same time. All these people going about their lives and talking might make it hard for you to find a corner of your house quiet enough that you can focus on a lecture or study. Family members could also walk in at the wrong time and break your concentration. The downside is that sharing a house with your family could make it a harder semester as well.

You’re in an academic environment, but it won’t be as comfortable

Sometimes it’s easiest to do school work while on campus. It has settings designed for studying and learning. That can make it a lot easier to get the motivation to get that homework done or put in a productive study session. There are also resources at the library and elsewhere on campus that can help you learn the material, but they’re much harder to access if you’re not actually on campus. To summarize, it’s easier to be a student at UC Berkeley if you can actually be on the UC Berkeley campus.

Going back to Berkeley also means, though, that you’re back to being a regular UC Berkeley student. That means your classes, tests and the transit time to and from class will determine your schedule. If you have a morning class, you have no excuse not to wake up and go to it. The classes might be recorded, but then you’re just doing what you could have done at home in a probably much smaller living space. So, if you’re the type just to watch all your classes, then maybe you won’t get much out of returning to campus.

So, now it’s up to you to make the decision. Hopefully, this list has helped you realize the pros and cons of either decision you make. Whatever that decision is, have a good, informative and productive fall semester that isn’t too stressful.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .