While students were permitted to move back into the residence halls beginning on Aug. 19, life on the University of Indianapolis campus is not the same because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The incoming freshman class is having a different experience on campus compared to years past.
Freshman theatre and psychology double major Jeanne Ezell is living on campus for her first semester of college this fall and said she thought there would be more social interactions.
“I knew I just was not going to get the normal college experience, but I didn’t think that it was going to be as boring as it is,” Ezell said. “I knew it was going to be boring, but I’ve been here three weeks, and I haven’t made any … [new] friends.”
Ezell said that she is at higher risk for the coronavirus, so she has not been putting herself into social situations because she isn’t yet comfortable taking that chance. Freshman health and physical education major Summer Martin also said it was hard to make friends on campus.
“At first it was [hard to make friends], but through the UIndy app and then getting people’s Snapchats and stuff — from there, it [was] kind of easy,” Martin said. “It’s still the fact of getting used to wearing the mask all the time and still trying to stay socially distanced while trying to meet new people [that makes it difficult].”
Neither Ezell nor Martin has a problem with living in the dorms during a pandemic. Ezell said that the cleaning staff does a great job, and she does not feel constantly worried while in her dorm, Cory Bretz. However, both of them felt that one of the biggest challenges is the online courses they are taking.
“I’m more of a visual learner, and I can focus better when I have someone in front of me talking to me, more than looking at a computer screen,” Martin said.
To help her focus better, Martin said she has been trying to do her online classes outside of her dorm room.
“The first two weeks, I spent a lot of time in my dorm room, and … it had me feeling down about a lot of things,” Martin said. “So this week, I’ve been spending a lot of time out of it [my room], and I feel like it’s getting more into a routine of doing my classes somewhere else. It keeps me more focused.”
Ezell said that learning on the computer something that was meant to be learned in-person is difficult for her especially because her majors are theatre and psychology.
“I’m a more hands-on learner, so right now learning virtually is OK, like I’m learning, but I feel like I’m just trying to pass [my courses],” Ezell said.
Neither Ezell nor Martin regrets her decision to live on campus this semester, but Martin said she has some advice for those who are struggling with staying on campus this semester.
“If there was anything for me to tell anybody, it would be one, don’t just stay in your dorm room because it will start to get to you,” Martin said. “And two, I would probably say even if there are not very many things to get involved in, if you just try and meet new people, you’ll find things to get involved in.”