The Corona College Experience
No- the title is not a clever reference to the college party scene, filled with beers and cheap liquor.
As an incoming college freshman this year, I felt very anxious about the reopening of campuses. After what seemed like a five-month summer (as classes seemed to drop off after Spring Break as they “moved online”), packing up for my dorm room felt surreal. Emails stacking up in my school inbox, I saw a surplus of emails about mask mandates for on-campus, required coronavirus testing, new sanitation rules for dorm rooms, social distancing, and so much more. On top of navigating an entirely new city and getting used to the college curriculum, I had to memorize an entirely new section of rules, consisting of all of the Covid-19 safety rules for being on campus. While I want to be safe, it makes it so much harder to feel comfortable in a new environment, let alone trying to meet new people without wanting to get sick.
It feels isolating. Sitting in my single-person dorm room, I do not feel comfortable trying to go meet people on campus. For my introverted self, it normally would take a pep talk to even explore the campus. Coronavirus adds a new level of fear for terrible what-ifs. Not only do I feel hindered from meeting new people, but I also lack the ability to have guests in my dorm room as I am not permitted to have any visitors until after Labor Day. That date is not even a guarantee, though. Nothing is anymore.
Moving to campus feels pointless as most of my classes are online. What is the point of paying thousands of dollars for a dorm room, if you could easily be doing your classes at home. Moreover, it feels pointless to even go to a larger university- nothing is the same. If anything, it feels even more dangerous to be at a large university now. If not for scholarships, I could have opted to stay at a local university.
While I have not started classes yet, the first couple of days have shown to be confusing with no clear answers on what life on campus will look like come next week or even next month. Everything seems like a ticking time bomb. With more and more of the tests coming back positive for students, it seems like I may have moved in all for naught. It’s time for colleges to make a choice-put your students in danger as there is no way to ensure safety for all OR send us home. Both options feel like a horrible start to freshman year. At the very least, colleges must make the move towards being more transparent with their students. It is the only way we can feel safe in this time of uncertainty.