A guide to residence halls from a freshman who’s never set foot on campus

Photo of Blackwell Dorm
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We at the Clog are dedicated to keeping you informed about our campus. That’s why I set out to put together a guide to all the different residence halls on campus. To be honest, though, as a freshman who has yet to step foot on campus, I don’t really know anything about them. I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one, but here we go.

Unit 1

Wow, I really thought I’d be able to at least power through the first few, but I’m already pretty much lost here. Just from the Google street view alone, it looks pretty decent — but then again, I can’t know for sure. 

Unit 2

They must have liked the first one so much they made another one. Again, not really sure what to tell you about this one. From the name, it’s safe to assume that it’s another building just like the last one. If you want somewhere to live, this should pretty much fulfill that function.

Unit 3

I checked this one out on Google Maps, and it looks like it’s pretty close to campus. That could be either a positive or a negative, depending on how much you like suffering. One possible downside is that it’s right next to Blackwell, which is even closer to campus. I really don’t know anything about inter-dorm relations, but this might cause tension or something.


Foothill is a pretty funny name when you think about it. I know it also refers to some kind of geological formation, but just imagine a giant foot that people mistake for a hill, or a hill covered in feet. That’d be pretty funny.


Stern is probably a building, probably near or on campus, where students can live. I really couldn’t tell you anything more about it.

Clark Kerr

OK, I have to be honest. At some point, while clicking through the street view from Stern to Clark Kerr, I completely lost the thread of this article. I don’t know how I expected myself, a freshman, to be able to succinctly summarize the good and bad points of each residence hall building. I can make up for this, though. 

Here’s a story about the time I had to collect materials for a high school group project. I had been assigned to find gray poster paper. Since we were all apparently extremely delusional, we had agreed to start the project the day after it was assigned. That being said, I just had to find gray poster paper within an afternoon, which I thought would be extremely easy. Fun fact: There is not a single piece of gray poster paper in the entire Bay Area. I gradually realized this as trip after trip to various Staples failed to yield even a single piece of gray poster paper. Infuriatingly, almost every other color was widely available. Please, ask yourself, in what context would one need to use purple poster paper? Office goods suppliers, please investigate your profit margins on purple poster paper. Eventually, tired and sitting in a parking lot about an hour away from school, I started calling every place that would conceivably stock paper to ask if they had any gray poster paper. Eventually, I caved and just bought white paper, hoping my project partners wouldn’t notice. However, to this day, whenever I go into Staples or Michaels, I always look out for gray poster paper.

Martinez Commons

You know what, I think I really turned this one around. I didn’t really know how this story was going to go at the beginning, but now I’ve incorporated a whole personal anecdote into it. Yeah, this might turn out OK.


Oh, who am I kidding, this guide is a mess. I’ve really disappointed you, the readers, with this one. You just wanted to know about the different residence hall buildings, but I couldn’t even do that for you. Instead, you got some random story about paper and a bunch of vague descriptions. How can I even make this up to you?

OK, I won’t pretend you’ve learned anything from this. We’ll just say I sort of finished the job and leave it at that. I’m sorry about not really knowing what I’m talking about. I’ll take this as a lesson and try again next year, hopefully with some more knowledge on the inner workings of Cal Housing. For now, though, maybe I’ll write a guide on how to react to jokes on Zoom or something.

Contact Allen Chen at [email protected].