I finally got my lease yesterday! This is one less thing I'll have to worry about with regards to grad school. Like everything in California, it costs far more than my apartment in Blacksburg: $853/month/person. It's not anywhere near the cheapest I could have done, but I figure that it can't be too bad of a place if it's school-sponsored... it's hard to be sure the place is good when you live on the other side of the country. It's also a block from campus. The apartment is a 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment, and the really nice thing about it is that the cost already includes electricity, water, trash removal, basic cable, and high speed internet, as well as being fully furnished. They also cut $200/month from the bill in June and July if I choose to stay there... I don't have to decide that until February. I'll be living in the Ida Louise Jackson Graduate House Apartments found in block E6 on this map. EE is located in Cory Hall (B5) and CS is across the intersection in Soda Hall (A5), so that's a 10-15 minute walk across campus... not too different from Tech when I lived in Hillcrest. Hopefully they'll let me know who I'll be living with once everyone gets their leases and security deposits sent in.
Now, I need to figure out what to do about parking... the complex doesn't provide any, and even though it's technically located in the city of Berkeley, Jackson House Apartment residents are not eligible for them... The e-mail said "you won't need your car since you are so close to campus. When you do want to see the bay area, you may use your Class Pass, which entitles you to free AC transit bus rides within Alameda County." Well that's nice, but what if I want to leave the bay area? I'm going to be there for a while, so it would be nice to check out other locations on the west coast without having to find somebody with a car. It also looks like BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) workers might be going on strike soon... wonderful. I started looking at student parking passes, and it looks like I can get a "student storage" pass for $30/month, which is a lot more than Tech, but not nearly as bad as a student resident pass. The problem is, I checked the parking maps and couldn't find any spots where that pass could be used, so I guess I'm going to have to call somebody about that one.
I also still don't know what classes I'll be taking or TA'ing... I hope I find that stuff out soon. I should also start looking into what research positions are available again.