Being at home feels completely different than being on campus. Increased restrictions on campus strained students last semester and threaten to do the same this semester. Students are required to stay within the campus bubble during the module but can do as they please back in their hometowns. This became most apparent when winter break began.
As an Albion student, I experienced this personally.
At home, I exercised more freedoms, but I did so safely. I took precautions every time I made runs to the store by wearing my mask and immediately sanitizing or washing my hands after the errand. Whenever my family and I did something together outside of the house, it was something safe. We mainly did things like drive-through movies or dropping gifts off for close friends.
My family and I were also tested on a regular basis, which gave me peace of mind, as my family members were in and out of the house for working purposes.
One of the things that I was fearful of, though, was having to go to the doctor and dentist because some of the hospitals and clinics had high COVID-19 rates, and many people have caught the virus just from doctor visits. When visiting the doctor, I wiped down the chair I was sitting in and its handles, and when I got home, I would change my clothes and shower as soon as I walked in.
Hanging out with family was fun, but we always remained cautious of the pandemic. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, other family members were not allowed to enter the house. I spent the holidays with only the immediate members of my family in my own household.
My extended family found other ways to interact with each other to stay in contact. My grandmother made food for my relatives and everyone stopped by her house to pick them up. She gave them plates of food at her doorstep and everyone would go home after picking them up. We also did virtual karaoke and game nights and regularly scheduled FaceTime calls since we could not see each other in person as much as we would have liked to.
Because of all the restrictions the college put in place during modules A and B, I was very weary and uninterested in coming back for modules C and D. However, when I arrived on campus, I began to see all the adjustments that were made in order to alleviate students disappointment regarding how things went last semester. The college’s efforts to enhance the student experience made me feel better about my return to campus. So far, we haven’t received quite as many stressful emails, administration opened up in-person dining, they do not track our locations anymore and we are able to maneuver more freely outside of classes and work.
I appreciate the changes that Albion has made and I feel like the changes they made simulates what the public is doing to keep people safe but provide more leeway to do things during a pandemic. The administration’s efforts to respond to student feedback shows that they hear the things that are bothering us as students.