Photo Credits: KATHERINE FRANKS / AGGIE
“Quiet” and “empty” — a look into a student’s daily routine in the freshman dorms during a unique quarter
A majority of the class of 2023 said goodbye to their freshman dorm experience early this year in response to COVID-19 and the switch to remote instruction. Although many have moved out of Davis and back to their hometowns, there are still a number of freshmen who decided to continue living in the dorms.
Samantha Shepherd, a first-year math and scientific computation major, is living in the Tercero residence area. While many have been busy creating new quarantine routines in their hometowns, students like Shepherd have had to create a routine of their own in the dorms.
To start the day, Shepherd tries to attend lectures at the regularly scheduled times, whether they are pre-recorded or live on Zoom, in order to maintain some kind of academic structure. Shepherd made the decision to return to Davis in order to learn and study in the environment that she was used to, fearing the impact of distractions from living at home.
Although she isn’t the biggest fan of online classes, she concedes that returning to Davis put her in the best position to succeed.
“I’ve known this about myself for a while, but I can’t focus very well in online classes,” Shepherd said. “I knew that this quarter was going to be rough going in, and I knew that if I stayed at home, it would be even rougher. So that’s why I came back, to try to make the best out of it.”
Shepherd either eats in her room or goes to the dining hall when it’s time for a meal. The dining halls on campus have changed their policies this quarter to keep students safe. All food is take-out with disposable condiments and utensils, and each student gets a limited amount of servings rather than the usual unlimited amount.
Shepherd described her experience adjusting to these changes.
“[It’s] really, really weird going in there,” Shepherd said. “It feels very methodical, instead of more casual, which is how it was back then. You could just grab your food and sit down.”
For the rest of the day, Shepherd does school work either in her room or in her floor’s lounge and gets food again at the dining commons. Later in the day, Shepherd incorporates a workout in her room, using a yoga mat and online videos to make do without the availability of the ARC.
With such a small number of people in the dorms, Shepherd described her experience as “quiet” and “empty.” Shepherd listed one of the most notable differences this quarter as the change in her dorm life environment.
“Definitely, not hearing dorm shenanigans — those have gone down so much,” Shepherd said. “There’s no random running through the hallways, singing, you know, those sort of things are just non-existent.”
Shepherd believes she made the right decision to return to Davis, even as she continues to adjust to the circumstances and general uncertainty of the time.
“I’m still getting everything done that I need to do for my classes, going to my classes, and I know that if I needed to cancel my housing contracts, it would prorate it,” Shepherd said. “I feel like there’s more freedom this quarter, which is a good thing and a bad thing. And it’s just really interesting to be living through a historical event, a major historical event like this.”
Written by: Nora Farahdel — firstname.lastname@example.org