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Moments in the dorms that altered my brain chemistry as a homebody

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APRIL 21, 2023

I lived in Christian Hall at Unit 1 and was very lucky to be put into a corner room suite (which meant our suite was larger than normal). Our suite is divided into two rooms: a triple and a double. I was in the triple room, and the five of us shared a restroom. Let me introduce you to my suitemates, who I never could have gotten through freshman year without.

Keiren my first roommate, who I went to the same high school with. We had known each other through a mutual friend, but before deciding to room together, I hadn’t exchanged even an hour’s worth of conversation with her. Now, I don’t even hesitate to express my doubts and fears to her.

Juliana my other roommate. Without her sharing her energy to the rest of us, the suite was too silent. I can now also recognize a Miata when I see one because of her.

Angie one of my suitemates who lived in the double next to my triple. She seemed to have the widest range of interests out of all of us. She could be playing Valorant one moment and then gymming the next, but still had enough time to introduce the rest of us to new people.

Katelynn Katelynn, my last suitemate, was the one who had the most similar interests as me. Whether it was Webtoons or anime, she understood why I liked this character or why I didn’t. Also, I could always count on her to make those long trips to Berkeley Bowl with me.

As a homebody, I’m not always aware of trending topics and often find things funny when others don’t. Here are a collection of moments with my freshman roommates that I found special, no matter how simple they might seem to others:

Watching another Snap video Angie sent to the group chat when her TidePod got stuck to the door of the laundry machine

When doing her laundry, I think Angie would put her TidePod in the machine after all her clothes, so when the machine started spinning, the TidePod would roll to the front and get stuck in the laundry machine door. Since the door had ridges, the laundry ended up swishing around with no detergent. This happened to her frequently enough where I exclusively remember only Angie sending these videos even though I’m certain it happened to all of us.

Making a “water drawer” from Croads water bottles because Keiren and I were too lazy to go downstairs to fill our Brita

During my freshman year, Crossroads still offered to-go boxes, along with a drink of choice. Although I can’t remember exactly, I think we were limited to two water bottles per meal. Keiren and I took advantage of that policy and took two water bottles every time we went to grab food. This happened because the two of us shared one Brita and the water in it ran out very quickly. After a week, we probably had around a case of water gathered. After stocking for a while, we stopped grabbing the water bottles and when we were about to run out, we started the cycle up again.

Listening to Juliana explain her entire situationship just five minutes after we met

On move-in day, only Angie and I were in the dorms. Like Keiren and I, Angie and Katelynn had also gone to the same high school, so the meeting among the four of us was not awkward. However, I remember all of us being nervous about Juliana because no one had a connection with her.

On the day Juliana moved in, I was the only one in our dorm, nervously hoping that she wouldn’t turn out to be the main character in those horror roommate stories. Not five minutes into her moving in, she had told me about her entire situationship, and as someone who finds it hard warming up to others, her charisma was definitely a shock to me. 

Trying not to laugh when the Uber driver turned up the volume to “Mad World” by Gary Jules very suddenly on my and Keiren’s trip back to the dorms at midnight

While living with Keiren, I came to find out that we were both fruit fiends. On a certain night when we were both craving fruit, Keiren and I decided to take a trip to Safeway to buy some. Since the buses were inactive, we took an Uber there and spent some time picking out a variety of fruit, including melon, tangerines and strawberries. On our way out, we needed someone to escort us because a person outside was scaring us. When our Uber arrived, we were a little tense from the previous scare so the ride was silent. In the middle of the drive back, the radio that had been playing suddenly dialed louder as “Mad World” came on. We got back to the dorms safely.

Being paid to visit a teamLab exhibition in San Francisco with Katelynn for our English class

For our English class, Katelynn and I were able to visit a teamLab exhibition at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. We were given compensation for transportation, but I think it ended up being a net positive for me. I know that teamLab exhibitions are very popular, so I had high expectations going in. I felt that the experience was very reflective of teamLab’s brand. Since my English class was online, no one knew what the other looked like, so I was very thankful that Katelynn was there to help me feel included.

Watching Keiren sleep while I was up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning taking an organic chemistry midterm trying to name enantiomers like “(1S, 3R)-3-Fluoro-3-methyl-1-(methylthio)cyclohexan-1-ol” and draw others like “(S)-2-(4-Cycloheptenyl)-3-mercaptopropan-1-ol” while still half asleep

Some lucky students may have had the experience of a lifetime taking an organic chemistry class for a semester. Since I did not want to get ready to go to a library to take my midterms and final (especially at 8 a.m.), I took them in the dorms. My desk faced Keiren’s bed, but it was usually blocked by my laptop stand, so I didn’t really see her. However, when I was taking these cruel exams early in the morning, I was a bit envious of Keiren who I saw sleeping very soundly from the corner of my eye.

Throwing a surprise going-away party for Juliana who decided to move on from Berkeley, while we all tried not to cry so much

To make sure Juliana’s move out from Berkeley would be a positive experience, Keiren, Angie, Katelynn and I planned a surprise party for her. A night or two before she was to move out, we all took a trip down to West Berkeley and had dinner at Italy on Gilman. After the food, while Katelynn and Angie distracted Juliana outside of our room, Keiren and I set up streamers and car-related decorations all around her bed. We placed a gift from all of us, along with cupcakes on her bed and eventually revealed the surprise to her. I hope she liked it.

Experiencing the iconic end to our life in room 311

I think there’s a universal sentiment that living in the dorms is not the best experience, especially if you end up stuck with people you don’t like. From the five of us starting as strangers to eventually becoming friends, I can personally say that Berkeley at least did me some good when it gave me these four people.

Contact Aileen Park at 


APRIL 24, 2023