A lot has changed on campus since its reopening in fall 2020. While the University’s COVID-19 restrictions have managed to prevent large outbreaks, they have also left many students reminiscing about what campus life used to be before COVID-19 capacities and virtual classes. Now that we are into our second full-semester of attending college during the pandemic, The Argus asked students to share what they miss most, what they took for granted about campus life pre-pandemic, and how they’re adjusting to safely following the University’s health guidelines.
I miss running into people around campus and seeing their smiles. That made me so happy, but now I feel like people are less likely to wave hello, more likely to look at their feet, and put in headphones.
– Becca Baron ’23
Reluctantly going to a party, being disappointed by said party, and (the best part) giving up on the party as a collective group and going to a food truck…strategically snagging a booth at swings, ordering a cheesecake or fries, or something superfluous as a group to justify spending points (because we’d rather spend points for the collective good of the group rather than just ourselves)…I miss in-person classes because then professors don’t have to over-perform and not have people laugh at their jokes…I miss inside jokes for classes that organically happen in person, when you’re not afraid of catching or passing an unpredictable upper respiratory illness.
– Heather Cassell ’23
Kissing, strutting around crowded spaces in high heels, the way people would all sit outside to eat lunch once it’s warm, frivolous anonymity at parties, stumbling down Fountain, CONCERTS, dance rehearsals where we could actually grind on each other, sharing sips of a drink, leaning in close, holding hands, kissing (again), screaming, REHEARSALS, leaning on someone’s shoulder in a booth at swings while eating too many fries, running up to hug someone you haven’t seen in a hot minute, sweat, spitting in people’s mouths (haven’t done it yet but I’m thinking about it), sitting at a group table and goofing off while we should be discussing something, sitting at a group table and talking, sitting at a group table, falling in love for a second that doesn’t feel so planned. However, there is something wonderful to be said about the intentionality of contact, slowness, and deliberation, which I notice more of now—more conscious thought of CONSENT and more reflection.
– Luna Mac-Williams ’22
I’m a senior, and the biggest things I miss are access to the radio station/recording live in the studio, working in random places whenever I feel like it (FGSS lounge in Allbritton, the lobby of PAC, the music studios), and strangely, I really miss parties or gatherings [with] people I hardly know…there are so many…things I won’t get back.
– Amy Geiger ’21
There is a particular beauty to finding a special little hidey-hole to do homework in the now-closed stacks on the upper floors of Olin. I used to wander the [stacks] shelves on Saturday mornings until I found the best possible spot, safe and quiet, surrounded by walls of dusty books and ancient brownish carpet, and just the right amount of charging ports. This is the best possible place to do readings, I believe—I would drop, utterly enveloped, into my readings fully, until the footsteps of someone looking for a study spot nearby would wake me from my scholarly stupor. I miss it.
– Annika Shiffer-Delegard ’23
Usdan Ice Cream Station
I used to make myself root beer floats on Fridays as an end-of-week treat, and I miss that a lot! It definitely was something I would look forward to.
– Talia Eligator ’23
I weirdly miss all the small interactions in Usdan. Having conversations in the pasta line. When they’d run out of forks during the dinner rush. Standing by the utensils while scanning the room to find where your friends are sitting. Trying to balance all the bowls and plates of food you collected so you wouldn’t have to make another trip. Reluctantly sitting on the loud side when the quiet side was full. Trying to have a conversation with your friends without getting distracted by all the chaos and laughter around you. Dropping your utensils while trying to get all your dishes on the conveyor belt. I really wish I had appreciated these moments more in the semester-and-a-half that I got to experience them.
– Olivia Ramseur ’23
The thing I miss the most is the atmosphere of Usdan during its peak hours. I miss the thrill of speed-walking from class to Usdan lunch to get in the stir fry line before it got too long and the chaos of trying to find a spare table. I miss the people-watching and the possibility of running into a friend or love interest. I miss sitting there too long, procrastinating leaving because leaving always meant having to do work. I miss Sunday brunch, the waffle line, those plates of pastries, and watching people sleepily trickle in, lugging their backpacks and tote bags on their shoulders. I miss the feeling of anxiety in the pasta line, when you’re repeating your order over and over to yourself so that you get it out fast and loud enough for Tom to hear. I miss sitting on the couches downstairs, waiting for friends to arrive. I miss the way it was impossible to scoop the ice cream. I miss looking at everyone’s outfits and watching people hug and laugh together and observing awkward-looking pairs of people eating together. I miss the feeling of being too-closely packed in a small space and looking for your friends amid the crowd.
– Annie Roach ’22
The Goldsmith (and the Film Series)
The ability to, after a long day or before a long night out, go and sit and see a movie that I’d either never heard of or loved or came to love is something I miss terribly. Whether it was me and like four other people, or if the theatre was so crowded people were sitting in the aisles, there was a sense of camaraderie around experiencing a movie together that was so beautiful. I have so many good freshman year memories of walking out of the CFS and into the dark night with a group of random people all talking about what we’d just seen.
– Sophie Griffin ’23
One thing I miss about pre-COVID Wes is being able to play music with others freely. There are no longer open practice spaces, which makes collaboration extremely difficult and only open to people who live in Music House (because they have the practice lounge) unless you want to be miserable and cold outside. Also, [the] lack of access to drum kits, which are essential to playing music with a band and [which] most people don’t bring with them. It’s really put a damper on the music scene, even outside of performance opportunities. I love the house show scene here and miss that a lot, [along with] playing shows with off-campus bands.
– Iris Sackman ’22
The before and after of in-person classes
While I miss in-person classes in general, perhaps what I miss more is the before and after. The feeling of walking into the class and sitting in the same seat I always do–it’s funny how seats aren’t assigned in college, yet we self-designate where we sit. The small talk before class starts, talking about the weekend or the homework or really anything. I miss the rustle of everyone pulling out their notebooks and writing utensils of choice as the teacher rolls in. I miss the feeling of just being able to sit, listen, and absorb without being distracted by Zoom chats or your reflection. And when the teacher wraps up and you file out, maybe walking with a classmate to Usdan or Pi or wherever. It’s those little moments I miss and look forward to getting back to sometime soon.
– Hannah Docter-Loeb ’22