It was the summer of 2018. On a peaceful afternoon, my phone buzzed, and the ringtone indicated that I received a new text message: “Hello Annika and Jade. This is Crystal, and I am from LA. We are going to be roommates next semester”. I immediately sat up straight in my chair and searched for “Crystal” and “Annika” on all the social media platforms.
Let me explain. You see, I decided to move from New York to California for college because I wanted to experience the west coast. Although I was excited to become independent, I was nervous about finding a community here since I was the only one from my high school to come to Berkeley. There was a Facebook group for all the new students to post introductions and find roommates. But I did not feel like a five sentence paragraph and a few photos were sufficient for me to decide if I want to live with someone for a whole year. I chose to let fate decide and go random with roommate selection, meaning I filled out a survey about my habits and Berkeley Housing paired me up with other people with similar lifestyles. So when Crystal texted, I was eager to learn more about these girls that were going to be my first two friends in Berkeley away from home. We briefly talked about our hobbies and moved on to enjoy the rest of our senior year summer.
On move in day, I felt intimidated stepping into this city having no friends. Strangely, when I met Annika and Crystal for the first time that day, I felt reassured before they even said anything. We quickly got to know each other: Crystal likes tennis and Annika plays the cello. Later on that night, we met other students from the floor and ended up playing card games on the floor in the hallway. We had many game nights since then in freshman year, and those were my favorite memories from the dorm. It was inspiring to hear about everyone’s passion, and it seemed like everyone is set on making a difference in the world. We got very lucky; since we were on the top floor, our laundry room had a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the entire Bay Area. When there was a beautiful sunset, which happened quite often in Berkeley, my entire floor would gather in the laundry room to chat about life and share the view together. The dorm started to feel like a safe base to me.
At the end of a long day, I loved sharing stories from our days with my roommates. As freshmen, we were not familiar with the environment, so there were frustrating moments at times. It was so valuable to have a comfortable place in the dorm where we can share our challenges and support each other. Although the campus is big, when I came back to our room 810, it felt like an intimate and cozy space. For most weekends, we would go out to try a new restaurant either in Berkeley or San Francisco, and we got closer everyday through our explorations.
I am currently living in an off campus apartment with Annika and Crystal, and this is our third year living together! I have met many new friends since freshman year, but I will always appreciate my roommates for providing me with a community when I first arrived. They are not only my friends; I see them as my family.