Top 5 hidden gems at Cal


Isaac Oronsky

Above, choir students review their music in one of the music building practice rooms. Top right, this practice room is a great place for all musicians to get some individual time in. Below, the library’s quiet room is a great place to study.

It’s the second semester, and by this point in the school year, most of students are ready to call it quits.

It’s hard to continue through the school year when spring break and summer vacation are so close, but not close enough. The glee and determination from the beginning of the school year seem so hard to grasp, so students often trudge along and try to alleviate their moods with cute puppy videos and Instagram confession pages.

But students tend to forget that Cal has a lot of good points, including some hidden gems around campus many don’t know about even though they’re right under their noses.

Here’s The Californian’s ranking of the top five hidden gems on campus.

5. Band Room and Practice Rooms, Music Building

Aside from being decorated wall to wall and floor to ceiling in trophies, the band room is a frequently visited place…for band students. But those not in band would be amazed how cool of a place it is.

There’s a steady flow of students coming in and out during all times of the day, but most people come here during tutorial and after school to meet with friends and have a friendly environment where they can complete homework and relax.

There are several practice rooms in the music building for students who want to play their  instruments without worrying about bothering people in the band room.

There’s one connected directly to the band room, and students go inside to practice for sectionals or individual practice. Overall, it’s a great space for quiet chatter and for fine-tuning technique just in time for the next performance.

4. Fine Arts Building Restroom

The Fine Arts building is arguably one of the better buildings on campus. 

For starters, the restroom is stocked with towels and hand soap. The difference between these porcelain thrones and the main building facilities are like heaven and earth.

“I think it’s really nice that our campus has such a nice restroom,” freshman Carol Chen said. “It really sets an example on how the rest of the students should take care of the other restrooms on campus.” 

For those squeamish about using the restrooms at school, the Fine Arts building restroom is a god-send, so don’t feel nervous about utilizing this top-notch facility.

3. The area in front of the music building

Yep, we’re back to the music building. But now we’re talking about the area in front of the building, which is usually teeming with students hanging out after school and waiting for their parents. 

With two trees and two bike racks, this is the prime pick-up and drop-off zone for many students. Even if someone isn’t getting picked up, most people pass by this area after school towards Broadmoor Drive.

During lunch and brunch, however, the area is mostly empty in a stark contrast to its bustling hours later in the day. Only a handful of students mill about in front of the building during lunch and brunch.

“I feel comfortable being in the area where the teacher is also okay with it,” sophomore David Lee said. “In this case, it’s [band teacher, Kent] Johnson. There’s not a lot of people there [at lunch], so I like it.”

It’s a calm and quiet place away from the main bustle of school, perfect for an in-school getaway.

2. Science teacher Joanna Condon’s Room, S-1

Principles of Biomedical Science teacher Joanna Condon usually opens her room on rainy days for a stream of students.

Condon generally plays a movie during those dreary afternoons for students seeking shelter from the rain and a safe space to chat with friends. Condon has shown all sorts of movies, from horror movies, such as “The Conjuring” to animated comedies like “The 

Emperor’s New Groove.”

“I open it up because I feel that all students should feel a sense of belonging and I want people to be able to gather in my room whenever they want,” Condon said. “But I open it up particularly on a rainy day, because on a rainy day [students] have nowhere to go. Showing a movie is an easy way to get along with people you don’t know. It’s a way to meet people in a non-threatening way.”

1. Quiet Room, Library

The quiet room in the library is one of the least-visited places on campus, and not many people know of it. It’s located right next to the computers and the Makerspace room. It’s the busiest during lunch time.

The quiet room has three desks, two plush sofa chairs, and a large lamp. There are magnets on the whiteboard that can be rearranged to form sentences and plenty of outlets for chargers and other devices.

The room is mostly in a state of perpetual dimness, making it a great place to study for those who need to be in a focused state of mind.

“It’s nice that the library has set aside a room for students to quietly study,” sophomore Isabelle Coburn said. “It’s a good room to focus and you know, the quiet ambiance, is really good for studying if you don’t mind not eating lunch.”

The room is called ‘quiet’ for a reason: a single peep will have you ejected by librarian Nikki Ogden.

These five places aren’t the only ones enjoyed by students, but these hidden gems are among the most underappreciated on campus. So if the second semester slump is hitting hard, one of these spots could provide a nice pick-me-up while waiting for the end of the school year.