If you mention sunsets to any UC Berkeley student, they’ll most likely respond with their favorite lookout spot: the Lawrence Hall of Science, the top of the fire trails, Clark Kerr Campus, the view from the upper floors of the certain buildings in the Units, and so many more. Our campus’s prime location in the Berkeley foothills provides us Berkeley students a plethora of opportunities to catch a view of the sun as it falls behind the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. But rarely mentioned is the view of the sunrise from campus — an experience that I recently discovered is almost as magical as the sunset.
While I’m not the type of person to sleep until the early afternoon, I’m also not one to regularly wake up in time to catch the sunrise. Even when I happen to be up at that hour, the chances that I actually leave the house are quite small. But I’ve had a few experiences recently that forced me to get out and catch the sunrise. The first of these came after one of those nights when no matter what you do you just can’t fall asleep. I gave up on sleep and started working on homework, but eventually became too restless and decided to take a hike, something that’s easy for me to do from my off-campus apartment located just two blocks away from a trailhead. As I headed up the fire trails, I quite literally saw the city come alive below me. I caught glimpses of pink and orange in the sky on my way up and was greeted at the top with one of the clearest views of the Bay I’ve ever seen.
A few days later, a friend of mine scheduled her socially-distanced birthday party at only time that fit into everyone’s schedule: at sunrise, before we all started our online classes for the day. Therefore, I found myself leaving my apartment in the dark, trekking across campus and into the North Berkeley hills as the sun rose behind me. The array of colors I saw over the Bay was gorgeous enough for me to forget how tired I was. The next week, I found myself actually excited to catch the view again when I had to get up early again for an appointment.
There’s no doubt that UC Berkeley’s campus somewhat resembles a ghost-town right now, especially when compared to the hustle and bustle we’re all used to in a typical semester. And this emptiness is magnified in the early morning, when the number of people you encounter on campus can be counted on one hand. However, I find it calming to be out and about at this time of day. The emptiness serves as a reminder that everyone else is stuck inside on their computers all day. Not to mention that getting outside before my day of online classes helped me focus much more than I could’ve imagined. I knew that ensuring I get outside everyday is key to my productivity, I just didn’t realize that doing so before classes made a difference.
I know that most college students aren’t willing to get up in time to catch the sunrise, but if you find the motivation to, I would highly recommend it! There’s a chance your experience might even rival that of your best Berkeley sunset, which we all know are absolutely breathtaking. It’s the perfect way to switch up your routine, which I know is something we could all use right now!