It’s no surprise that the evil corona-virus has changed our lifestyle forever. Masks suck, hand sanitizer is like acid to paper cuts, and there seems to never be any Lysol left on the shelves..
So how does social distancing work in a college setting where group projects and close proximity to other people are inevitable? Well my dear readers, as I said above: Masks suck, hand sanitizer is like acid to paper cuts, and I’m sick and tired of the smell of Lysol!
Masks are necessary here at my college (as well as at most schools) inside the buildings, but it is not ‘mandatory’ outside. This is causing a LOT of people to be outside laying in the grass, sitting at picnic tables, and doing homework under trees. The campus is starting to look like a magazine add for college and it is really creepy.
Every morning, we walk into our classrooms (with our masks on of course) and grab a wet-wipe from a huge white tub by the door. We use this to clean our desks off (that are six feet apart from one another) before and after we sit down. The teacher then takes attendance, making sure to write down where we are sitting in case there is an outbreak at our college, and then class begins. After we are done, we grab yet another wipe and clean off our desks, chairs, laptops, and pretty much everything else we touch. After ensuring that everything is clean and sanitized, we rush out the door for some fresh air and a chance to take our masks off.
I used to come home from college feeling germy and gross every day. In this ‘new’ world, however, I often make the joke that I come home from college cleaner than when I left! (The sad thing is that it’s probably true..)
My college is taking this so seriously that we have to do a daily wellness check before we even head over to the college for the day. If we are feeling any symptoms of Covid, we are told to stay home! However, I was the first to see this backfiring as the students in the dorm would likely tell their professors that they ‘weren’t feeling well’ and stay home all day just to get out of school. This backfired on the STUDENTS however, as the college wanted anyone who had symptoms to be tested for Covid. Friendly advice for college students; Don’t claim you’re feeling sick, unless you want a huge Q-tip up your nose!
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to going to college with a mask on. The main one being that you don’t know who the heck anyone is! I mean seriously! I walked right by some of my good friends from last year, and I didn’t even recognize them until they stopped to look at me and wonder why I looked familiar.. I often tell people that by next year, when we are all allowed to go to school without these masks on, we won’t recognize anyone from this year.
Another complication that the masks bring is communication.. I am very lucky that two of my professors are very loud when they speak. Sadly, my other two professors are very soft-spoken and it is very hard to hear them from across the room. Listening carefully in class is a must, but heaven forbid we have to talk to other students to complete a project! Imagine a classroom full of muffled shouting from other students all around you, and it’s so loud that you can’t even hear yourself think. Now imagine having to talk to someone six feet away, with all of this muffled screaming going on, and not being allowed to lean in closer to the person you want to hear. THAT is what group projects are like right now!
Of course, there are some good things about college as well.. I thought that this year would be a very unsocial year for everyone, filled with odd stares and people keeping to themselves. That has proven to be wrong however, as I have made friends in almost all of my classes. I think that this pandemic has done the opposite of separating people. It has made people more social and caring towards others. Of course, it helps that people have a great opening line of ‘I love your mask‘ to start a conversation with literally everyone!
Going to college during a pandemic is tough. It has its ups and downs, its good days and bad days, and it makes me yearn for the day we can all take these stupid hot and stuffy masks off! However, it also makes me appreciate what I had before, and what I have now. I have my health, my friends and family, and the hope for a better tomorrow.
As always, smile, have a great day, stay safe out there, and remember that nothing can stop us from learning! ❤