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May 25 2017
by Zehra Naqvi

Freshman's Guide to Living in UC Berkeley Residence Halls

By Zehra Naqvi - May 25 2017
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One thing every Cal freshman should know is that dorming is a one-time thing unless you’re a resident assistant. Due to the growing number of admitted freshmen, UC Berkeley only allows freshmen to dorm while all other undergraduate students occupy school apartments. Because this year is possibly your first and last time dorming, here is how to make it the best experience.

1. Academic Center

andreas160578 via Pixabay 

During the first semester, everyone tries to study in their room and assumes the lounges are more for hangouts. Don’t make the rookie mistake and not discover the academic center until second semester. Not only do you get access to computers and have a decently quiet place to study, but it also has a color printer and extra study rooms. The Academic Center is almost like a library next door.

2. Late Night Meals

Brain Chan via Unsplash

Some dining halls on campus have late night, which is when you can use meal points to buy food from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Use this opportunity to spend your meal points on a location right by your dorm, as it’s better to get food from the dining hall rather than go around Telegraph at such a late hour.


3. Weekday Laundry Days

Nik Macmillan via Unsplash

One poor circumstance is that you’ll be sharing a horrible ratio of washers and dryers to the amount of residents. You may have to literally sit by the washer to be able to use it. But, you can monitor the washers online with Berkeley Laundry. Just Google the application and put in your ID. It will let you know which washers and dryers are available, however, it will not tell you when they are broken. Overall, it’s better to do laundry on weekdays, because on Fridays people usually don’t have class and decide to run errands, and on weekends everyone needs clothes for the next week.

4. Residence Hall Kitchen

Pablo Charnas via Unsplash 

Sometimes eating dining hall food or just fast food, in general, can get old. You can whip up something small, like pasta, in your building kitchen. You can grab some ingredients by taking the bus, which is free with your Clipper Card, to Safeway or Trader Joe's. If you don’t want to go too far, you can get ingredients from your dorm market or Walgreens as well. You can even save the food later in your dorm room fridge.

5. Lounges

Steinar Engeland via Unsplash

Though lounges are mostly for hangouts, they can be a great place to study. However, they get dirty quickly because of the dorm’s Zero Waste by 2020 policy, meaning small trash cans in dormitories and no trash cans in the lounges altogether. It’s best to leave the lounge as a hangout and better to study in the Academic Center or in any of the many libraries on campus. 

Hopefully, these pointers will help you make the most of your experience in your first and only time with Berkeley's residence halls. 

Lead Image Credit: Zehra Naqvi

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Zehra Naqvi - University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley Student | Staff Writer

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