2020 has been a weird year, and that’s putting it lightly. For students starting (or going back to) college this fall, things are about to get a whole lot weirder. Although some universities have switched to online classes full-time, many others have decided to welcome their students back to on-campus living. If you happen to be one of those students living at school this year, there are going to be some big changes that you’ll need to prepared for, and you might not be so happy about them.
2-Week Isolation In Your Tiny Dorm Room
For many schools, students are being asked to quarantine themselves before classes start. Also, any student coming to live on campus who has tested positive for COVID-19 (or who has been around others who are positive) will be absolutely required to quarantine. Each school is handling it differently, but many have dedicated quarantine rooms available for COVID-positive students. The isolation will be for the entire 2-week period, and it will be seriously enforced. If you’ve ever seen a college dorm room, you know how tiny they can be. So prepare yourself for 14 days in a very small space, with absolutely no chance of leaving for the entire period. Nope, not even to grab yourself something to eat…
Universities Are Providing All Meals For Quarantined Students…And They’re Doing a Bad Job
For students quarantining on campus, their daily meals are looking even sadder than their living situation. No one is allowed to leave their rooms, for any reason, so the schools have been put in charge of getting everyone fed sufficiently…and they failed. Miserably. Students at NYU and UGA have taken to TikTok to show off their unimaginably pathetic excuse for meals. Students pay the big bucks (literally thousands) for university-provided meals and have reported skipped meals, meals arriving hours after midnight, and some never received anything at all for days.
According to the New York Times, a student reported that she “had not received some meals, and that some of the food she did get smelled as if it had gone bad.” The student actually posted a sign on her door literally begging for proper food. The sign read: “PLEASE DON’T SKIP MY ROOM FOR FOOD!…I haven’t gotten food today or yesterday. Pls help.”Others received boxes containing “meals” like a granola bar and a cold lemon. One student reported getting a soggy burger bun with onions and cheese (no burger). Another student received a box labeled when what was labeled Chicken Caesar Salad, which “was actually just chips, apple vinaigrette and butter.” Maybe your school will be better prepared…if not, better stock up on 2-weeks worth of ramen noodles and Easy Mac.
Forget About Meeting New People For A While
The best part about living on-campus is meeting all of the people in your building. Unfortunately, that’s going to look a bit different this year. Most common areas are going to closed, or at least limited to a small number of students at a time, so you can basically forget about late-night hangouts in the study lounge or the kitchen. Even if these areas are open for students, masks will be required at all times for everyone. So sneaking beer into your water bottle (which you would obviously never do anyway) and drinking it with your newfound friends in the student center is a no-go.
The Silence is Deafening
It’s the people who make living at school such an incredible experience. The noise of moving in, open doors with new faces, getting in late from parties and failing miserably at keeping your voices down, even random midnight sing-alongs in the showers (if you know, you know). Sadly, this is essentially all gone due to COVID. That warmth and life that comes with a hallway full of other students just like you have basically gone silent, and the emptiness is really felt. The difference is really apparent, and it’s enough to make even the happiest, most excited students fall into depression. If you were expecting the full dorm experience, you can pretty much abandon that hope right now.
We’re not saying it will all be terrible, students are somehow making it work. But for now, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into and to maybe lower your expectations a bit. We’re hoping a better solution will be found ASAP, but for now, it’s going to be a really weird move-in day for you, and for the time being, it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better.