Welcome back, Golden Bears! Ah yes, the thrill of a new school year. We finally have in-person classes and everyone is eager to form connections with their peers after a harrowing year of hibernation. Fresh starts are great. They make us feel reborn and invigorated, like the aftereffects of a shower after an arduous day of walking miles on campus to get to class. Is it just me who’s out of breath by the time I reach Doe Library?
Whether you’ve been cooped up at home, glued to your screen in hopes of simulating some form of human interaction while under the covers, or you’ve lost a loved one or your sense of sanity from the pandemic, everyone deserves to have their shot at happiness this year. And that’s not possible unless everyone’s basic needs are met, so listed here are a few of my favorite on-campus and online resources that I think will contribute to a smooth sailing semester this year and hopefully during your entire time at Cal.
You can’t ace that test you’ve been cramming for if your stomach is empty and distracting half the class by mimicking the sounds of whales vocalizing in the ocean! The food pantry’s policy is to bring your Cal ID card and “take what you need.” Usually located in the MLK Student Union, the Food Pantry is currently temporarily closed, but rest assured there are pop-up food pantries to satisfy your post-class food cravings (details on their website). However, if there are no pop-ups available to fulfill your grocery shopping needs, there is always the Berkeley Food Network to fall back on. They are located at 1925 Ninth St., Berkeley and operate Mondays through Thursdays from 10 am to 2 pm, extended Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 pm to 7 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm.
- Housing and Homelessness Resources
Aside from satisfying the stomach, it’s important for everyone to have a shelter in place, which is why the Housing and Homelessness page on UC Berkeley’s Division of Student Affairs website is not something to gloss over. On the page, there is a comprehensive guide to different resources on campus that provide case management services, emergency housing, emergency rental assistance, various homeless resources, rent stabilization advocacy, student housing, access to emergency housing security deposits, and contact information for residential life at UC Berkeley (and all of the aforementioned services). Especially in the Bay Area where rent is high, finding affordable housing can be a nightmare, but Bears should find comfort in knowing that there are resources accessible to them that can hopefully alleviate some of their den-hunting stress.
Finally, for a school as notorious for poor mental health as UC Berkeley, I thought an honorable mention to this list should be the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) resource. Registered students can get started accessing CAPS resources for free, and no Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is required. According to the CAPS website, their staff is diverse in regards to their clinical specialties, gender, sexual orientation, race, relational orientation, and ethnicity. Languages spoken include Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Services offered include mental health workshops, career counseling, group counseling, individual and couples counseling, psychiatry, support groups, and referrals for additional on-campus and off-campus services.
Whether you’re in need of food, shelter, or mental sanity, know that you’re not alone and that there are resources on campus to make your situation a lot easier to deal with. Wishing everyone a wonderful semester free of unnecessary stresses and full of time spent on unexpected yeses! Push yourself out of your comfort zone a little each day and you might just stumble upon something life-altering.