When you hear the name ‘Manville,’ you probably imagine some stinky apartment filled with dudes. But no, Manville is the name of a grad student housing complex at UC Berkeley. As far as I can tell, the male:female ratio is split right down the middle.
I successfully moved to Berkeley last week. Downgrading from a 1 bedroom apartment in Mountain View to a tiny studio in Berkeley meant I had to get rid of around 50% of my possessions. My original plan was to drive down to my parents’ house in Riverside. But after much consideration (spurned by fear of the 405 freeway closure) I decided to give away my possessions to Goodwill instead.
Manville rooms are small but comfortable. I thought I would hate it. But so far, I don’t. My neighbors are nice and quiet. The walls are thick.
The Manville complex is located in Downtown Berkeley and within walking distance of great food and cheap markets. However, it takes me around 25 minutes to walk to class. I timed myself a few days ago with a stopwatch.
On the bright side, I’ll be getting a lot of much needed exercise walking around town. The last five years of sitting in front of a computer at Google resulted in weight gain. I intend to revert to my lean, former-self while my metabolism is still above-average.
I was initially troubled by the prospect of living by myself. After all, business school is a social affair. The whole idea of getting an MBA is to widen your social circle and meet people who will one day be very successful. As a result, most people live with classmates to get the full experience and have 24-hour study buddies and drinking buddies. By living alone, I feared that my experience will be less than whole.
However, after thinking about it some more, I realized that I’ll be spending most of my time on campus anyway. In the end, a studio apartment will function as my own little den to escape the non-stop networking that will begin soon. I’d much rather have that then risk living with flaky or irresponsible people. Perhaps I’ll live with classmates next year, after I’ve gotten to know them better.
I do wish that Manville residents were more social. People don’t open their doors or mingle. I miss the old days of living in a residential hall at UCLA where people would randomly come by your room and say hello. In Manville, people are private by default.
I think there’s a bit of ‘self-selection’ going on here. Most of the social people are probably at the Ida Jackson House (the other grad student housing complex) where people have shared bathrooms and shared living rooms. If somebody chose Manville over Jackson House, my guess is that person probably is more private.