Students share experiences on campus during pandemic


Photo courtesy of Harvey Green

Harvey Green, sophomore sociology major, said they stayed in their room on campus to focus on schoolwork, but that being in the same space day after day is getting repetitive.

Kierra Frazier, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — The sounds of chatter among students in residence halls have grown quiet these past few weeks as most on-campus students have boxed up their belongings and moved back home to continue online classes.

A number of students have chosen to keep living their day-to-day lives in what they have described as a “ghost town like campus” amid the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting to online classes.

“It’s been kind of like a ghost town because there [are] not a lot of people here,” Lauren Bailey, senior elementary education major, said. “The whole atmosphere of being in college, in a dorm and being around a lot of people have kind of evaporated because it’s just a few of us still here so it’s a really big difference.”

Moving trucks arrived at Grant and Stevenson Towers, Neptune Hall and Gilbert Hall last weekend for students to relocate to New Residence Hall for the remainder of the semester.

Bailey had spent her whole college career in Stevenson Towers before moving to New Residence Hall and said she feels like a first-year again.

“I mostly stayed [on-campus] because as a person I really like familiarity and a stable routine so I didn’t really want to move back home right away,” Bailey said. “I also have a job out here and I wanted to stay and help out.”

All of Bailey’s friends who lived on-campus have moved back home, but her co-workers at Culver’s, 1262 W. Lincoln Highway, have helped her stay social and from “going insane,” she said.

Social distancing measures have been put in place for students living in the residence halls. Students lined up for the elevator must be six feet apart along with lines for those picking up meals at the dining hall, Bailey said.

Nicky Ruiz, junior history education major, stayed on campus because many of her family members at home have compromised immune systems and didn’t want to risk getting them sick.

“I still call my mom almost every day along with my sister and we have a family group chat so I’m always in contact with them,” Ruiz said. “This is actually my first semester here because I came from the College of Dupage so I definitely was not expecting my first semester to be like this.”

Ruiz said six people live in each New Hall cluster, and, while she doesn’t have a roommate, she’s still adjusting to the smaller room size from her original room in Grant Towers.

Life for Ruiz now consists of mostly schoolwork and eating three meals in her dorm room with less social interaction. She said the biggest challenge of living in the residence halls while quarantining is not getting cabin fever.

“I think it’s really easy to just stay indoors all day, but I try to make an effort to like go on a walk or a jog or something like that to just get outside and have, like, fresh air,” Ruiz said.

Also still on campus is Harvey Green, sophomore sociology major. Green said the biggest challenge for being one of the only students left on campus is staying positive.

“You never realize how much you rely on interaction with other people until it’s not an option,” Green said. “I think the hardest part about it is just been trying to keep a positive attitude. It definitely feels lonely and It’s just a profoundly isolating experience.”

Green said FaceTiming and texting loved ones along with other forms of remote communication helps them maintain a positive attitude while staying on campus.

Green stayed on campus in hopes that they could focus on their schoolwork better. They said they spend most of their days doing homework and taking breaks to pick up a meal from the dining hall.

“I’m staying up super late now and I’ve been getting up at 10 a.m. every morning,” Green said. “I probably don’t get working on my schoolwork until about [noon], and then I’ll work on it probably until about 6 p.m. It’s just kind of the same thing, day in and day out, and it’s not very exciting.”

For Bailey, she said it’s become a challenge to learn online while there’s little student life left on campus. She said she’s been trying to stay productive and occupy her time with hobbies like reading.

“I try to just remind myself that all of this all can feel really lonely and really isolating especially since there aren’t many people still left on campus but I try to motivate myself by telling myself that this is only a temporary situation,” Bailey said. I just gotta push through it and make the best of it.”