students adjust to a new campus environment

Essence BoydOnline Editor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are having to learn how to adapt and adjust to the new cautionary way of living.

From random COVID-19 testing selections to new guest regulations, there have been changes on top of classes.

“It has been a big change, I actually went to the doctor recently and I have shingles which has been stress induced,” said English major Carlos Lemron, a freshman. “That was only after the first week of school.”

Noticeable changes are all over campus, with stickers on the floor to guide students and remind them to social distance.

Not only has the virus taken a major effect on student’s health but it has also impacted their comfort level while living on campus with several changes that also occured within the residence halls and a staggered move in.

“Settling in was difficult and stressful,” said English secondary education major Jessica Clark, a senior. “It was hard trying to feel comfortable in a living environment that just doesn’t feel safe.”

In addition to having reservations about living in the dorms, some residents are also having issues adjusting to the limited interactions between professors and friends.

“It’s been tough because everything has been online, but it is just important to get onto those virtual meetings and not just stay in the dorms I feel,” said Business major Melissa Poinelli, a freshman.

According to Lemron, not being able to interact with people is taking away from his first-year experience on campus.

“I definitely miss in person classes and hanging out with my friends,” said Lemron. “It definitely adds to the experience of school.”

Some of the biggest challenge’s students are facing while trying to adjust to COVID-19 on campus is finding new ways to be social from a distance. Especially with the new regulations and the constant need to have a mask on.

“Being able to meet new people and being able to go out and just being able to hang out with friends in the same place,” said Poinelli. “It has definitely been hard to be able to do that this year.”

Due to the virus, many on campus events have moved online which has also limited student interaction on campus.

According to the Reopening 2020 section of Southern’s website, more than 20 percent of classes will be taught in a hybrid and hyflex format, with 20 additional classrooms technologically updated for this purpose. About 8 percent of classes will be taught fully on-ground.

“We have prepared more than 100 classrooms for socially distanced teaching, along with an additional 30 instructional support spaces for use by students who need to transition rapidly from an on-campus course to a virtual course,” the website read.

Noticibly, the campus has much less traffic due to classes shifting online and student say they are missing connecting with other students.

“I miss all the community events and just feeling safe to hang out with people,” said Clark.

Although online classes have allowed students to gain an education while not exposing themselves to the virus, the stress of waking up on time is still existent, according to Poinelli.

“Getting used to the online stuff and getting up on time to sit on your computer in your room instead of walking to your class and sitting with your friends and being able to talk face-to-face with your teachers,” said Poinelli.

Adjusting back to life on campus has also come with a new sense of responsibility for some.

“The idea that whatever happens is really up to me,” said Lemron. “No one is going to tell my parents, no one is going to report back to me. I am accountable for whatever I do.”

Despite campus life being more quiet, the Office of Student Involvement has still made multiple efforts to hold online events.

Residence Life is also holding virtual events for students to help them connect back to the community.

Although there is a lot that has changed and students are lacking normal social interactions, the down time of being inside and not having to walk or commute to classes from home or the dorms has been a good thing for some.

“It has been kind of nice having all this time to not kind of be in a rush,” said Lemron.

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