I’ve considered Berkeley home for the last three years, and spent every semester and summer in this city since 2017. However, after a semester abroad and a pandemic, I’ve been away for the last 10 months and just came back yesterday. It’s bittersweet to witness how some of my favorite pieces of home have stayed the same, while others have adapted to the state of the world. I feel fortunate to look at Berkeley with fresh eyes and in many ways, fall in love all over again with this place and people.
I just moved into an apartment in the Elmwood area, a charming neighborhood slightly farther south, full of historic homes with gardens that I have always admired from afar. As a senior, I appreciate the peace and quiet that Elmwood offers as a contrast to the busy urban environment that I relished in freshman year.
I started to fall back in love with Berkeley even on the drive here, as soon as the Campanile came into sight. The clock tower majestically stood against the backdrop of the hills and I felt a bubbling energy remembering that building belongs to MY campus, the best public university around. It was the same feeling I felt in August 2017, when I moved here for the first day of my college adventure. How naive and fun it was to feel butterflies for a place that I hold so close to my heart.
I further rediscovered my love for Berkeley when I went on a hike just in time for sunset. I’m born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I firmly believe the best view around is from our very own Berkeley hills, where you can view campus, the skylines of Oakland and San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and the beloved Golden Gate bridge all at once. The pink sky and the distant fog rolling in makes my heart smile even after seeing the same sunset countless times.
And then, I love the food! In my 24 hours back in town, I’ve already had a burrito, boba tea, donuts, and a matcha latte from some of my favorite spots. It is so fun to have so many yummy options all within walking distance of campus (Note, my wallet is NOT so keen about the abundance of food!)
I remembered why I most love Berkeley once I stepped back onto campus, but this time with a mask, of course. I went on a run before the rest of the city woke up this morning and got to appreciate the eerily beautiful stillness of the green spaces, lecture halls, and libraries that hold some of my most joyous and most challenging moments.
Our motto is Fiat Lux, or let there be light in Latin. I love the way the light hits Berkeley in the early mornings and the evening golden hour, the way that Berkeley academics and research have enlightened practically every field with new knowledge, but I mostly love the way that Berkeley has brought out the light in me and my fellow students. While I’ll be spending most of my study time on my computer, at home, instead of on campus this year, being back in Berkeley has reignited a little light in me. It’s never felt so good to be home.