Returning to the dorms was something that I’d never thought I’d do. Although I had loved my freshman year experience, I was excited to experience new housing adventures, like living in my sorority house or in my own apartment. While I did end up doing these things, once COVID hit and I returned back to my hometown, I had to rethink my housing situation for senior year.
I ended up applying to be a Resident Assistant (RA), as I fondly recalled how the RAs in my freshman year building had helped me, a shy and scared first-year, navigate the university. I knew that I wanted to help provide other new students with the resources and tools to explore and grow at Cal. After going through the application process and completing our Community Leadership Seminar, I opened my placement email and found … Clark Kerr!
Initially, I was not impressed with my location. I was grateful for the opportunity to have free housing and dining, but I had honestly been hoping to be somewhere a little closer to campus. However, living here for the past 3.5 months has really changed my mind, as Clark Kerr has surprised me in so many ways!
To wake up in a beautiful location surrounded by tons of nature (and sometimes animals, too!) is more than worth the extra 15 minutes that I have to account for in my commuting time. Morning strolls through Clark Kerr always put me in a good mood, as there’s no better feeling than crunching through the fresh leaves and taking in the fall air, coffee in hand. I also do many evening walks here as well. As RAs, we complete nightly community rounds to make sure that things are running smoothly and safely. In addition to chatting and checking in with residents, as well as seeing our home from a new nighttime perspective, you never know what animals you might see – so far, I’ve encountered deer, skunks, squirrels, and raccoons!
Clark Kerr also has a skatepark and while I have yet to muster up the courage to head there alone, I’ve enjoyed practicing my quarantine hobby with some friends here and catching the sunset. Near the skatepark lies a pool and outdoor track, overlooking the rest of Clark Kerr and the Bay. I highly encourage any runners to spend their mornings here. Watching the sun break through the fog as you blast your favorite tunes (currently, all of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” … anyone?), is a feeling that is unmatched and is sure to set your day off to a good start.
If I ever need a break from Clark Kerr, I’m within walking distance to the Fire Trails or nearby neighborhoods – take your pick! I can easily head over to Elmwood or Durant for a quick snack, or head up straight behind Clark Kerr to enjoy a sunset hike at the Fire Trails. Personally, I did not utilize Berkeley’s proximity to this amazing hiking spot during my freshman year, so I’m making the most of it while I can, and spend many studying breaks hiking up here!
Overall, when choosing your dorm, I recommend not overlooking Clark Kerr – the perfect balance between nature and urban life, as well as the numerous amenities, have made it a new home for me.