Living on campus this semester can be compared to being in the popular online multiplayer game, “Among Us.” We constantly hang out with the same group of people and circle around the same locations every day: our dorm, the dining hall, the gym and the library. We live in fear of Impostors (people who might have the virus), and if someone coughs or is not wearing their mask, we call them “sus.” In addition, we have all essentially been voted off campus after Thanksgiving Break.
Living in the dorms and starting college during a global pandemic presents many challenges for both students and staff, but Mountain Lions continue to thrive in the face of adversity.
So far this semester, the library, gym, dining halls and buildings on campus have been open with strict protocols in place. For example, at the gym, you must wear your mask for the duration of your workout and sanitize the equipment when you are done. (Trust me, running on the treadmill wearing a mask is a challenge.) After Thanksgiving break, the dorms will remain open but it is unclear exactly what will happen in terms of on-campus facilities.
On-campus staff such as Resident Assistants (RAs) in the dorms have been given the responsibility of enforcing new pandemic protocol; RAs have had to adjust the ways that they lead events and supervise their buildings due to the pandemic. Floor meetings are conducted over Teams, but overall the RAs and the residents have very limited interactions.
Shaun Sherman, an RA in the Steamboat dorm and a junior majoring in social work with a minor in criminal justice, says, “It is very hard to make connections with the residents this semester.”
He finds himself using a lot of his time and energy enforcing rules regarding masks and social distancing. Since the residents see him and the other RAs as the “mask police,” he says that it is hard to gain residents’ trust. In the dorms, some of the new protocol include wearing a mask in the hallways and not having more than one guest per resident in a suite.
On top of the stress of living and learning in a new environment amid a global pandemic, freshmen are presented with the decision of deciding where they want to live after Thanksgiving Break. These students need to report their decision to Housing by Nov. 17.
Freshman Joshua Cloar, psychology and criminal justice major, says that it was difficult to decide whether or not he would remain on campus between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. He says that he has really enjoyed living on campus, but he ultimately made the decision to go back home during this period to work and spend time with his family.
Cloar says that this semester is not what anyone expected, but he thinks UCCS is doing the best they can to make it as safe and normal as possible. He has one in-person class and the rest are fully online.
“The circumstances just aren’t the greatest, but there’s nothing anybody can do about that other than everyone doing their part,” he said.
Cloar adds that compared to other universities where students behave as if there was no pandemic, the students at UCCS really are trying their best to keep the community safe.
Amanda Dinh, a freshman studying international business, says that the best part of college is being able to spend a lot of time with her roommates and friends. Although she loves this aspect of college, she is disappointed that COVID-19 guidelines have limited clubs and activities on campus.
All of Dinh’s classes are online for this semester, but she feels that UCCS is trying their best with what they have in order to give freshmen the best on-campus experience possible. She plans to stay on campus between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
“I have made awesome friends, and I’ve participated in most of the Student Life events,” she said. “I just wish there were more events.”
Especially during a pandemic when activities are so restricted, college is what you make it. Now, since many classes are remote, it is easier than ever before to sit in your dorm all day and not take advantage of the college experience. However, there are still opportunities to meet people on campus and to participate in activities, many of which can be found on Mountain Lion Connect.
Even though this semester was a little bit “sus,” next semester is a new game where hopefully we will not be voted off campus again.