COVID-19 Opinion

Will You Stay on Campus in Spring?

Housing applications are due Oct. 25. Image courtesy of Rebecca Elliott.

Charis Johnston is a first-year multimedia journalism and graphic design major, who is currently housed on campus.

As I receive emails relaying news that entire floors of my dorm are under isolation protocol due to the rampant spread of the coronavirus, I also get emails telling me the spring housing application is open and I can apply to move in with a roommate. Excuse me? 

I am definitely reconsidering my spring housing plans. In my move to Young Hall in the fall, I was able to simulate a “normal” college freshman experience, even amid a pandemic. Yet, while I was away from the stress of small town life with parents, I gained the stress of impending quarantine. This instability in the environment seriously affected me mentally and distracted me from school. Although assignments are due daily, I am still processing what it means to be an 18-year-old who moved to California from Washington to pursue an education during a pandemic. 

I hold a responsibility, as someone living on campus, to be as safe as I can and consider the health of everyone around me. But, I also have to study the words of Aristotle. I have to vote. I have to socially distance. I have to pay tuition. I have to figure out what I am going to do with the degree for which I am already working extremely hard, while still missing my home, my small town and my parents. I live with the fear of bringing COVID-19 to my household in Washington when I return for Thanksgiving. 

While I am still evaluating things, it’s hard to imagine myself living on campus in the spring if school remains predominantly online. With flu season just beginning, the elections quickly approaching and COVID-19 cases rising among students, how am I supposed to make an informed and responsible decision about campus housing? Why do I have to decide by October 25? Who knows what campus life will look like in the spring? 

I can’t help thinking I would be able to focus more on my literature homework with the stability of homemade cooking and a queen-size bed.

Written By: Charis Johnston