Living Off Campus
By: Jay Kim
Coming into sophomore year, I had no idea what to expect. Scratch that; I obviously had some idea -- that my tag as a “second year” entailed taking harder technical classes, that I’d be spending more time camped out at Moffitt library, that I’d be applying to Haas soon and most importantly that I would be living off-campus. I was actually pretty excited to live outside the dorms. Living off-campus meant no RA’s to write me up for being too loud, being able to cook on-demand, and the opportunity to live with someone you are actually close with. All of this sounded like a dream come true and I was wrong. What I did not expect was how such freedom would make it almost impossible for me to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course, this is largely due to who I am as a person -- a procrastinator who makes spontaneous decisions last minute. That kid who randomly decided to go to a concert the day before a midterm? That’s me. Yet at the same time, it is also the seemingly small things that negatively impact the way I live, some of which were pretty surprising how I found it an absolute pain in the a**. First and foremost, it’s the cooking. I swear I came prepared more than anyone for this: I had countless packs of ramen, pre-made rice bowls, and dozens of protein bars. What I really overestimated, however, was the number of days you could consecutively eat ramen and microwavable meals. My first few weeks living off-campus, I ate so much ramen to a point where I felt like soup would run in my veins and so many prepared meals that I could play rage cage with the plastic bowls. Obviously not healthy, but in times like beginning of first semester when club apps, midterms, and recruitment season rails you over like a train altogether, convenience and efficiency came first. Then came my Doordash and Snackpass phase. I couldn’t eat the same Shin Ramyun no more and I had to find other (and hopefully healthier) options but eating out got a little costly. If you’re looking for “deals” on Doordash or on Snackpass, there aren’t not many options and a lot of them are probably unhealthier than ramen (but I still love you Nation’s Giant Hamburgers). Consequently, I decided to start making my own food and if I was going to take the time and effort to meal-prep, I wanted to do it right. I tried to integrate some kind of protein in every meal, started counting calories, and generally tried to pick healthier options. This lasted me a couple weeks and I started to really miss Crossroads. I’ve realized how much I took the cafeteria for granted as I gradually began to understand that more meals at home meant more dishes to do and dishes build up fast. Currently, my tendency to eat unhealthy, dovetailed with my laziness, has brought me to a point where my diet consists of PB&J and cereal and I am really excited (not really) to see what my next phase would be. Secondly, it’s the cleaning. I’m not talking about making my own bed or organizing my desk. I’m talking about the absolute disaster that’s left behind after me, my housemates, and friends who don’t even live in the apartment. Personally, I’ve had a great freshman year here at Cal befriending so many great people from the dorms, classes, and joining a fraternity. I enjoy their presence and our house remains unlocked most of the day; often times, I would walk into my house and see none of my housemates home but see some of my friends casually watching TV on our couch, which I find humorous. After a social night at my apartment, there’s usually so much yak in the bathroom I would seriously consider it a biohazard and am tempted to call professional biohazard cleanup every night. This really builds up because the frequency of which this happens is too high, almost as if my friends take turn who would be puking their guts out tonight. Our trash cans are perpetually teeming with pizza boxes.
Of course, not everyone lives like this and I would definitely recommend trying to get housemates that care about cleanliness. In the end, however, nothing beats living off-campus and I absolutely love my apartment for the way it is. Such was the reflection of how I’ve been living for the past 3 months and I am looking forward for the next 9 with THE BOYS.