Life on Campus: COVID Edition

Amanda Wampler '24,, Associate Co-Managing Editor

The moment that I, and many other first-year students, have been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived – our first semester on campus. After a semester online and an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about how the spring semester would play out, it is nice to finally feel like the rest of the semester is predictable.

Since August, I have yearned for the experience of walking around campus with friends, stopping at The Quarry for a late-night snack, studying with classmates at the library, and so much more. With months of preparation under my belt, I could not wait to finally step onto campus. Coming into this strange semester, I planned not to get my hopes up too high to avoid a letdown, but so far, my time on campus has been a mix of a lot of good and a lot of not-so-good. 

First, the best part of being here is simply that I am here and with new people. Spending time with friends is something that was missing from my life for so long, and now I am ecstatic to have it back. I love having a pod to spend time with and get close to while being able to let down some COVID restrictions. Additionally, feeling connected with other students going through many similar experiences is making online classes much easier. Sitting in the dorm with my roommate is the closest I have felt to real class-time in a long time. 

Something that has been a point of tension has been the food. While the meals have not been terrible, the limited hours combined with the limited options have made the dining experience less than pleasant. The Devils Den, a spot to get snacks and other food during meal off times, closes at a very early 4:00 pm and is closed altogether on the weekend. The highly restricted dining schedule and dining options have been difficult to adjust to. 

As someone who moved in on the 21st of January, my first stay-at-home order first ended on February 1st along with my other three pod mates. Since the changes to testing caused by inclement weather, the stay-at-home article is now extended until February 5th. The rest of my pod will be moving in on February 5th-8th. This means for me and my current pod members we will have to enter another stay-at-home order on February 8th, totalling to three weeks in a restricted movement order. While it is understandable that all groups have to go through stay-at-home orders, it does not make sense that my group and I will have to go through the second round. It would have been simpler for the college to move me and my few other pod mates to a new pod, separate from people moving in February, than make us change our routine every week for the first part of the semester. Additionally, for students only here for seven weeks, that makes their time on campus feel much shorter and much more restricted.

With the end of the first stay-at-home order coming to an end, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the semester plays out. Will students feel as though they have some freedom to enjoy their time here, or will it be stressful and unenjoyable? I hope, for the sake of myself and my peers, that we will have time to finally feel like a part of the Dickinson community.