By Annika Henthorn
Whether you are living at home or in your apartment, here is your look into how on-campus life has changed.
Housing: With the significant changes in protocol since COVID-19 transpired, many students on-campus have provided their insight in the day-to-day life of a Saint Mary’s college student. In regards to housing, sophomore Ryan Jackson, has explained that although Saint Mary’s has prohibited roommates and requires a solidary living situation, he has been able to “focus better than at home.” Because of the typically hectic household, the peace of having a dorm to oneself has been deemed advantageous in regards to schoolwork. Sidney Clemer-Engelhart, a junior living in the townhouses, has also pleasantly described her experience. With quarantine being a difficult time for socializing, she has loved “being able to be around my[her] friends everyday” and getting “to cook meals together.” A common misconception is that on-campus living would get lonely from the substantial drop in the number of students residing on campus; however, she is “appreciative that I[she] gets to live on campus.”
However, with most living situations there is usually a downside. Alexander Romo, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s has described the difficulty of on-campus housing. Although there are still people that live on campus available to chat with, it still “can feel a little secluded.” With the strict regulations that the school has implemented to combat COVID-19 , it can have a detrimental effect on the residents. Additionally, the limited activities the school can host can also tend to make on-campus life a little “uneventful” at times, according to Ryan Jackson.
Dining: The notorious Oliver Hall has also made some drastic changes in regards to the dining experience. Ryan Jackson has described the new norm and the lengthy process to grab food. Adhering to the regulations mandated by the county, the school has stickers along the floor six feet apart that students must line up along. There is a capacity for how many people are allowed inside the cafeteria, and when one leaves another can go. This can be problematic when students have limited time between classes. Although it takes longer to pick up food, Koda Kammer, a sophomore, says that “the quality has definitely improved from last year.” However, the quantity has been rationed in to-go containers, limiting the amount of food available for students.
RA Perspective: Rob McMaster, the resident advisor for Ferdinand and Camile Ageno HALL, graciously offered his insight on both the good and bad of these unprecedented times. One of the main struggles of being an RA, according to Rob McMaster, has been communication. With contact being very limited, Rob claims “making connections with the residents has been much more difficult than in years prior.” Rob has been an RA in the past, and because most updates are given through email now, students have not been as “responsive or receptive.” The chasm between both the resident advisor and residents has become more transparent following the constraints of COVID-19. However, despite the expected challenges with the changes on campus, Rob McMaster has praised the school for their clarity in communicating the expectations for this semester. Thus far, students, overall, have been “doing well so far with the protocol” and have continued “wearing their masks.”
Teacher’s Responses: The majority consensus concerning the teacher’s response to online learning has been overwhelmingly positive. Ryan Jackson confirmed that, with more time to accustom themselves to the new reality of Zoom, professors “have done the best they can to provide as many resources possible for solitary learning.” Rob McMaster, also added that they “have been very good at adapting their course and syllabi to the changes,” which, in his eyes, “speaks to their level of dedication to providing the highest level of education they can.” With the added time over the summer, professors have been able to properly construct their course schedule to meet the needs of both the students and the course.
Resources: The resources available on-campus practically mirror the ones offered to those living off-campus. With the recreation center closed as well as the library, most of the helpful resources have shifted online in order to establish a leveled education for students on and off campus. The Rheem campus is also available for students residing off-campus and allows you to reserve study rooms and have access to Cloud printing and free wifi.
With the ever-changing regulations mandated by the county, Saint Mary’s has done a generally admirable job of adjusting to online learning. From the safety measures to ensure the security of their on-campus residents to the extensive resources available to students regardless of their living situation, the school has done their best to acclimate students through these rigorous months to come.
Victoria Vidales '21,