What It’s Like to Go to a Major University in a Pandemic

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Walking onto the campus of the University of Kanas, I thought I was prepared for the semester ahead of me. I was not. A week from moving in, I am already weighing the pros and cons of being on the campus of a major university during a pandemic. Let’s just say- it is scary.

Not only am I nervous about being a new student on campus, but I am also terrified of getting the virus. I am terrified that I could get sick and spread the illness to someone who is more susceptible to it than I am.

So, I attempt to stay in my dorm as much as possible. The only problem with this is the feeling of isolation associated with it. I have no roommate and very little in-person classes. Staying in my room all-day tends to make me just feel weird.

I am naturally an introvert, so staying to myself is not a problem. But I feel the need to be hanging out with people more. Don’t get me wrong, I have met a few people and hung out with them. But I feel guilty because what if I got the virus somehow since I have been here and am spreading it to others? (Can you tell that I overthink things?)

Zoom classes aren’t horrible, but they are not great either. Everything feels awkward. Discussions are difficult, class engagement is non-existent, and large lecture classes online just translate to chaos.

My in-person classes feel weirdly lax for a pandemic going on. We are all wearing masks, yes. And we are all socially distancing. But there are also no people wiping down and sanitizing the surfaces between classes. While there are supplies in classrooms to do so, most people, including myself, don’t even think about doing that until we are sitting in our chairs.

The worst part is living in limbo. Our positivity rates keep climbing with every email sent out. It may not be major increases yet, but I can only imagine what they will look like by the end of the semester. It is worrisome. Part of me loves living on campus as it gives me a feeling of independence. But part of me, perhaps homesick, just wants to go back to my comfort zone at home.

Everything is so up in the air — I feel like I could scream. I want the college experience, but I can wait if it means the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and the surrounding city. Send us home before it is too late.

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Abby Peeler

Abby Peeler

Journalism student at the University of Kansas | Ghosted in America Podcast Host