This Fall semester, I moved back to Berkeley, not sure what to expect of college life during a pandemic. I knew that this semester would be completely different from the way I remember my freshman year, surrounded by people all the time, always having an adventure to go on with my friends in this new city. I knew that this semester, only half of my friends would be back in Berkeley, and many things around the city would be closed, as well as social gatherings prohibited to keep students safe. Halfway through the semester, I’ve gathered a list of new things I’ve enjoyed doing in Berkeley during this weird and unusual time.
- Studying at coffee shops. This may not seem creative or unique at all, which I admit it’s not, but this semester I’ve loved doing my work in an outdoor area away from the house I live in. This has been so central to my experience this semester, because I didn’t realize how cooped up I would feel in my room, and how nice and motivating it would be to get a change of scenery. My personal favorite coffee shop to study at would be Caffe Strada (again, not unique, I know) because of it’s large outdoor area. I also love to grab coffee and take it with me to study at an open table on campus. Feeling the fresh air and getting a change of scenery has helped me get through virtual school more than I could have expected.
- Going on walks! Last year, I would walk to get anywhere on or around campus, especially since I lived in Clark Kerr dorms. This year, there isn’t really anywhere to go, so I’ve appreciated getting to take walks just for the fun of it rather than to rush from place to place. It’s made me appreciate the campus and city of Berkeley in ways I never did before, because I had never really taken the time to look at what’s around me the way I do now.
- Trying out different restaurants that have outdoor seating, or getting takeout and eating it on campus. Berkeley Thai House has been in Berkeley all this time, and I’ve barely tried it out this semester since I realized it has outdoor seating. It’s my new favorite place, and I may have never tried it if not for the circumstances of this semester. I’ve also found that getting takeout from one of the yummy restaurants around Berkeley and having a socially distanced picnic on campus is a great way to catch up with friends who also came back to Berkeley during the pandemic.