Firsthand account: Living in a dorm during a pandemic

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Jordan Radloff

Students living in residence halls this semester are prohibited from allowing visitors of any kind into their hall.

Summer Fitzgerald, Contributor

Attending college during a pandemic was assuredly not on my bucket list for this lifetime, but it is now a reality that I have had to face and make the best of while living in Stevenson Residence Hall at NIU.

Ever since March, I have been dreaming of the Fall 2020 semester signifying the pandemic ending and a return to normal. However, since coming back to NIU I have had to be very mindful of the fact that normalcy looks a lot different than I envisioned.

Being cooped up in my dorm all day attending online classes is extremely hard to deal with. My spare time that I would normally spend catching up with friends at the library or grabbing coffee now consists of scarfing down whatever snack I can find before logging onto my next Zoom meeting. I almost feel like a hobbit that never gets the chance to leave.

I also sometimes struggle with going out in general. I’ve been stuck inside for so many months now that it is weird to think I actually can go out to eat or study with friends anytime I want to. Sometimes it gets overwhelming knowing that all of this freedom is given back to me, and I feel pressured to make the most of it and constantly stay busy.

I came from a very small town where masks were certainly not mandated or enforced in any public setting. It has been weird to adjust to dorm life now, where masks are required simply to just go take out the garbage or go to the bathroom.

I really feel empathy for the first-year students during these trying times. I know most of my closest friends were made through dining halls and in-person classes as a first-year student. Making friends is definitely a struggle right now but isn’t totally impossible. It has made me really happy to see students all across campus get along with each other and find a safe community here in DeKalb despite the struggle of dealing with a pandemic.