Moving is never a fun experience; it can be exciting, however it’s usually littered with stress, anxiety and attempts at organization. Moving into your first apartment is an even more exciting experience when you’ve only ever lived alone in dorm-style housing. Dorm life can be described as the trial of living alone due to the construction and routine that comes along with it. Dining halls are close by and there are always people around to watch out for you and share experiences, whether they are good or bad. This housing situation helps students transition to life outside of the watchful eye of their parents and helps in the adjustment process of living in a new area.
Unfortunately, UC Berkeley is dealing with a housing crisis that doesn’t guarantee any student on-campus housing, much less nice dorms for sophomores. Thus, most second years opt to live in standard apartments on Southside, Northside, or Downtown Berkeley.
Although I can appreciate dorm life for what it is, I am incredibly excited to be moving into my own apartment. I’m especially excited to get the opportunity to cook my own meals without having to rely on the repetitive UC Berkeley dining hall foods as well as using a bathroom that isn’t being shared by an entire floor. Something that isn’t often discussed is the fact that in college — especially at the beginning –– it is very easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant presence of people while simultaneously feeling very alone.
By the end of my dorm experience I was ready to go home and have my own room again. Although I became good friends with my roommate, I was excited to have my own space and dabble in the simple joys of sleeping with the lights off, listening to my nightly show out loud and keeping my space looking the way I wanted it to look.
Sharing a bathroom with an entire floor was often unsettling despite my extroverted nature. Sometimes on a stressful day I wanted to hide away but would always still have to find the energy to interact with a smile on my face whenever I ran into someone in the bathroom. It was definitely difficult on days when I felt far from one hundred percent. I’m excited to be able to have days off in an apartment environment where I can take a break and not see someone at every corner.
Another highlight that has definitely left me feeling excited is the prospect of more study areas. Before, I was confined to my dorm and ground floor lounge. Now, I’m excited for the opportunity to study at the island, desk, outdoor patio and comfy couch that my apartment provides. I’m hoping that the variety in study spaces helps me clear my mind and focus on my study material in a fresh way. I always find that switching up my scenario really helps sharpen my mind and I know apartment living will provide more opportunities for inspiration and concentration.
There are plenty of pros and cons to both apartment and dorm living, but I’m incredibly excited to experience an apartment after my last year of on-campus dorming. I think dorm living is a great way to make friends and adjust to college but I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my college experience in the apartment.