Living on Campus

— Foolish Bubbul

It’s fall of 2021, and with everyone back on campus after over a year of online school, a housing crisis looms over the soon-to-be junior me who has lost his guaranteed housing on campus. La Jolla greeted the students eager for physical social interaction with an insane inflation of housing prices, so finding an affordable and close place to live turned out to be quite difficult. Lots of people that I met in the following year remembered this period as the most stressful time of their lives so far. Eventually, my roommates and I got lucky and found a decent place, but this was the first time the idea to live on campus without a dorm came into my awareness.

Now as school started, club activities, classes, homework, labs, tutoring, and going to the gym kept me occupied almost all day long. I got really comfortable working on campus, so I often find myself spending the entire day there. Sometimes, when I stand waiting for a bus at around 11pm, or when I hop on my bike in the morning to get to school, I think to myself: what if I was on campus already?

What does it take to spend the entire weekday on campus?

First order of business: where to sleep. None of this is going to be feasible if I cannot get a good night sleep on campus. This human behavior is honestly such a disadvantage —- we can’t function if we don’t rest for at least a third of all the time we get in our life. Including the time that we spend maintaining our physical and emotional wellbeing with food and friends, you can totally make the argument that in order to reach maximum efficiency, we should replace all human labor with robots. That’s another topic though.

I have only fallen asleep while laying flat on my back, and I prefer a quiet and dark environment. And also I wear night contacts. They need to be put on in a clean environment and stored in a place that doesn’t move much during the day. Although if I really couldn’t find a reasonable place to store them, I could just wear normal glasses all week long. That’s not ideal though.

Ok, let’s brainstorm some places to spend a night on the UCSD campus.

The obvious option is the Geisel Library. It recently got renovated and staffed so that it’s open all night from Mondays to Thursdays. It has bathrooms to put on contacts and brush my teeth, and couches to lay down on. It would be the perfect place to sleep, except that the lights are never dimmed, and students come here to hang out and chit chat all night long. It could be a very annoying environment to fall asleep in, like sleeping in an airport to catch a delayed flight the next morning.

Another option is to camp in my car. If I paid for an overnight parking pass I could sleep on campus, and if I don’t want to pay I could park at a nearby beach that’s like 5 minutes away. Sleeping in a car would be dark and quiet, but it might be kind of cramped. I have no idea if I could fall asleep in my car, so I will have to try that some day. If I can’t fall asleep inside, I could also try sleeping on the roof of my car.

I do have a sleeping bag, and there are actually some places outdoors I can think of where I wouldn’t be bothered by the campus police or wandering students. There is a small valley by the library with a path leading down to it that only hippies go to. Blacks beach is 5 minutes away from campus and I can easily camp there. There is a building by the BioMedical library with solar panels at the top that I could also sleep under. But these places are definitely worst case scenarios because of the existence of bugs.

Speaking about sleeping bags, if I’m not going to sleep inside my car, I would still probably need it as a storage place for my clothes and sleeping bag. The only other place that I could put my stuff in is my club room, but I can’t imagine the president allowing me to stuff my dirty clothes and sleeping bags in a corner there unless it was some sort of emergency. Wait, but despite that, the club room could be the perfect option to spend the night on campus. The only con I can think of is that I know one other officer that sleeps in the room very rarely. I don’t want to go into the club room prepared for bed, and then see another guy snoring on the couch already.

Now let’s talk about showering. I’m accustomed to showering in the morning, and the gym where the showers are is open every day from 6am to 11pm. I could probably get into a routine where I wake up, get to the gym, workout and shower, then get on with my classes. Yea and if I use the free gym on campus, I can cancel my membership at the gym close to home and save $40 a month. Good plan.

What about food? I would probably have to give up cooking, but I’m not complaining. I can bring some cliff bars with me on Monday, and finish it all over the course of the week, there’s always food at the Price Center, and if I wanted to get anything else I could always take the bus or drive my car. Swearing off cooking does mean that I will definitely spend more money on food. If I earn 150 a week with my tutoring job then I can try to budget myself to 30 dollars a day. That translates to 3 12 inch Subway sandwiches, or a Subway and another meal (Panda Express, Blue Pepper, Pho, Poki, and Santorini are all around 17-20 bucks), so I don’t think I would go hungry. 

Now let’s assemble the packing list.

Car: I will probably request a parking pass.

  • clean and dirty clothes, in different bags
    • 6 pairs of underwear/socks workout shorts/shirts
    • 3 pairs of shirts/pants to wear going out (they will not be sweated in)
  • shoes for different occasions
  • sleeping bag just in case

Backpack: carry around me

  • phone, computer, charger, earphone
  • pencil, notebook, folders
  • water bottle, wallet, utensils wrapped in clean napkins
  • a bag to put my dirty clothes in after I shower
  • contacts in a zip lock back in case it spills during the day
  • toothbrush/paste in a bag as well

Is that all? I guess I will only know if I try it out. Who knows, I may have missed something extremely crucial that I will only find out if I give it a shot. Stay tuned for when/if I attempt this challenge in the future!

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