For the students who remained in on-campus housing, quarantine life hits the same beats: struggles with isolation, motivation for class, making time for self-care and safely maintaining social distance.
As of March 2, 7,641 students lived in the dorms. Now, 451 students live in the dorms, University Housing Marketing Coordinator Julia Bluff said.
Students who chose to not return to their parents’ homes for the spring quarter either saw many of their roommates leave their units, or in the case of freshmen, were relocated entirely to units in either Poly Canyon Village or Cerro Vista.
“You have to go to the effort to make a routine for yourself every day,” said sophomore bioengineering major Lauren Barrera Reny. “If you don’t you’ll find yourself unmotivated or even drive yourself crazy. I try to set goals, and make up something to do every day, whether it’s going outside and getting your work done. I feel like crap if I end a day having done nothing.”
Reny lives in a Poly Canyon Village unit by herself on a floor less than half full. Having spent time with the same four people since the quarantine began, her social circle has started to get creative with what they do with their time together.
“We’ve started doing things we’ve never done before having to be confined inside,” Reny said. “We baked cookies together, and have tried new board games — usually with some alcohol involved.”
In regards to classes, Reny admitted she may have bitten off more than she can chew, with 20 units under her belt for the quarter.
“I initially thought it would be a good idea to load up on classes and get ahead, since I thought online classes might be more manageable,” shared Reny. “I was so wrong. It’s hard to not only stay motivated but managing 5 classes from just my old laptop has been a real struggle.”
Reny also shared that doing her work on the tables outside her building helps her get some fresh air and “stave off cabin fever.”
For communication studies sophomore Kate Kiesow, her role as an RA has helped to keep a sense of normalcy. When on-call and doing nightly walks through the housing, she said the RAs flock together and use the time to get the personal interaction they are lacking.
But, the RA position has changed significantly, and with it comes its challenges.
Kiesow was an RA in Sequoia prior to moving to PCV. Now that she’s moved and most of her residents are no longer on campus, she’s now working as an RA for four new residents she’s never met in person.
The new residents she has are all located in one building, but not in her’s.
As she has never met them in person, her position has shifted to a virtual platform. Now she reaches out to them online as a way to check in on them.
In an attempt to create a relationship with them, she planned a virtual event of a snickerdoodle cookie baking lesson. Nobody attended.
“It’s different,” Kiesow said. “I think that there’s a lot of adjustment in the beginning. It’s obviously more challenging than an in-person RA relationship.”
But like Reny, Kiesow has found new hobbies to fill her time inside- specifically Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Some nights, she’s up until 2 a.m. playing.
But even though her time is filled with video games, academics comes first, so much so that it is essentially why she decided to stay on campus.
“It’s easy to lose patience when everyone’s high strung and stressed and trying to do school and I just don’t think I would have been able to focus on my schoolwork at home,” Kiesow said. “So, staying here was like a really great fit for me.”