Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo


This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Upon committing to UC Berkeley, I was excited about every experience in my near future. That excitement was accompanied by nerves, with a lot of curiosity toward the unknown. Berkeley has a ridiculously early housing deadline, so come May 2, I had to pull everything together and determine the fate of my freshman year. I remember submitting my application with random roommates I talked to twice on Instagram, having no idea what to expect in a city notorious for its housing crisis.

Luckily, freshman year, housing is guaranteed, and I received my second choice of a Unit 2 triple, completely unaware of the hierarchy of dorms here. After signing my housing contract, and paying a ridiculous amount of money for two semesters of barely edible Croads, I was flooded with excitement and fear. I’ve always been a very independent person and valued my space from others, so I worried dorm life would get old quickly.

On August 17, 2022, I went to my assigned move-in day bright and early. After waiting in line, I was told I had the wrong move-in time and was supposed to have moved in the day before. These were the beginning signs of a very ambiguous and elusive housing system, which in this case, worked in my favor since no one else was moving into my building, so I didn’t have to deal with the elevator lines. 

During the first week of living in the dorms, I found two used quips and a perfectly shaped hairball sitting in the soap dish in the shower. There was always pee lingering on the toilet seat, and flushing wasn’t a big priority. Luckily I grew up with brothers, so this only made me feel more at home. I started to understand why dorm life isn’t regarded as particularly luxurious unless you are lucky enough to live in the kingdom of Clark Kerr.

As I started to talk to my roommates and more of the people on my floor, I started forming some pretty incredible friendships. I originally thought I would miss my alone time, but instead, I found myself missing my roommates and wondering where they were when I was home alone. 

Between all thirty-three people on my floor, some are my closest friends, and others I hardly speak to. Even with these differences, the beautiful thing about my floor is that I genuinely value every person who lives there and recognize their contributions to our floor culture.

There’s something so unique and special about sitting in your room bored and having fourteen doors to knock on of friends and acquaintances. Whether it be lying on the floor of the hall, or having 2 a.m. conversations in the bathroom, interactions I don’t anticipate are constantly enriching my life.

When I went home for winter break, somehow, I found myself missing my top bunk twin XL with a broken wood panel on the side I almost fell out of. And when I think about my living situation next year, while I’m excited, I already miss dorm life and anticipation.

Dorm life has taught me so much about patience and finding the value in things I might not inherently appreciate. Even when the elevator is broken for two days straight, and I have to walk up seventeen flights of stairs, I’m beyond excited to see my floormates when I finally make the trek to floor seven.

In life, you’re generally exposed to people you have things in common with. You have mutual friends, or your values drive you to join the same organizations or pursue the same majors as the people you interact with. The dorm experience is unique in its combination of people. I chose my roommates but had no anticipation of the other thirty characters that have since entered my life. It’s crazy to think that people who have been so integral in my college experience and personal growth were brought to me through some randomized housing algorithm.

This has truly been one of the most special chapters in my life, and I will always appreciate the loving chaos of dorm culture. Taking down my maximalist room decorations will probably be one of the most depressing moments of my life. Still, I know this is an experience that I’ll always carry with a sense of gratitude and nostalgia.

Dorm life was by no means what I expected, yet I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Devyn Healy

UC Berkeley '26

Devyn is a first year at UC Berekely majoring in Society & Environment and Legal Studies She is from Los Angeles, California and loves enjoying nature and finding new places to eat!