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

When I got into UC Berkeley, I was beyond excited. After four years of constant breakdowns, all-nighters, and extracurriculars galore, I was so relieved that my hard work had paid off. But one little thing tainted my joy of getting in: I lived too close. I never truly pictured myself at Berkeley; originating from Marin County, it was never something I considered. I didn’t think I would ever get in, yes, but I never saw myself there either. It was too close to home. I had set out to live far away from home, even out of state if I could, to experience what I thought was pivotal and essential to one’s college experience. 

But how could you turn down a college like Berkeley, solely because of its close proximity, or what people may think? That seems irresponsible and shallow. But of course, I care a lot about what people think. I constantly found myself bugged at comments about me attending Berkeley; “Oh, what a short drive! Just over the Richmond Bridge!,” or “I bet you go home a lot!,” or “Wow, I didn’t even apply cause I knew I wouldn’t want to be so close.” I know nobody had ill intentions, and I know that UC Berkeley is obviously a great school, so why was I getting in my head so much? This proximity to my hometown had led me to constantly question whether or not I should have chosen another school, perhaps one further away, in order to have the “true college experience.”

UC Berkeley Sather Gate
Photo by Sophie Ward

One of the main advantages of living close to home is the ability to visit family and friends whenever I want. If I’m ever feeling homesick or need a break from the stresses of college life, I can easily make the drive back home. Who would ever say no to free food and laundry? And yet, I somehow think I’m taking the easy way out. Somehow, when I go home, I feel like I’m cheating. 

Ultimately, no one thinks of this more than myself. This superficial battle is all internal — none of the people who made comments to me actually think of my close proximity as frequently as I do. 

So, at the end of the day, does the distance from home really matter in the grand scheme of things? I would argue that it shouldn’t. Every student’s college experience is unique, and the physical distance from home should not determine the quality or authenticity of your experience. What matters most is how we choose to engage with our surroundings, build relationships, and take advantage of the opportunities available to us. While attending a school so close to home may come with its own set of challenges, stigmas, or temptations, it doesn’t inherently diminish the value of my own unique college experience. As I continue my journey at UC Berkeley, I’m learning to embrace the more unique or unconventional aspects of my college experience, unbothered by others’ opinions. 

Julia Ginsburg

UC Berkeley '27

Julia Ginsburg is a member of Her Campus UC Berkeley, where she contributes as a Staff Writer and Marketing Team member. Julia is currently a first year student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to double-major in Media Studies and Political Science, as well as minor in music. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, Julia enjoys activities like dance, guitar, and singing.