By Celeste Santarrosa and Aylin Estrada
As many schools closed dorms to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, CSUSB finally granted access to their dorms once again for the academic year 2021–2022. While the coronavirus is still a high risk, for some students, living on campus is their safest option.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, campus was a place where we could chart our course for the future. It was constantly buzzing with energy where students could have the presence of friends, obtain major opportunities, and attend on-campus events. Now, the campus is an almost empty place, but for some students, the campus is essential. Three CSUSB students share their experience of what it’s like to live on campus during the pandemic.
For some students, this wasn’t their first year living in the dorms. Many were able to witness the change in how the pandemic affected their campus culture and living experience. Julian Gonzalez, a third-year student, brings up how living on campus prior to COVID has affected how students actively participate in the campus community.
“Now people are more concerned about the risk of large social gatherings, so some are not as willing to socialize with other students,” says Gonzalez. “In my own personal experience, I find myself second-guessing hanging out with friends out of concern of catching COVID and passing it on to a family member.”
However, for others, this is their first experience living on campus. Carolinne Marquez, a third-year student, explains how the pandemic doesn’t make living on campus unfortunate.
Marquez says that it’s not a waste to live on campus during a pandemic phase, but it is a disappointment because of the experiences I’ve heard of before that students used to have. “I do appreciate the opportunity to live on campus, but I wish it was more exciting or lively.”
One major obstacle that students face is finding a way to get meals with food resources being so limited. With the Commons having restricted hours, eating out being expensive, and the worries of cross-contamination due to COVID, these students shared how it was sometimes a struggle to eat three meals a day.
“I make my own food and meal prep to avoid any contamination in my food,” says Gonzalez. “It takes a large portion of my day to prepare meals.”
Juliana Leal, a third-year student, finds herself even more restricted than others due to the fact that there are hardly any vegetarian options.
“I get food from the Obershaw DEN for food assistance. The campus has a place to assist CSUSB students who face food insecurity. I do take some food from the cafeteria to save for later. Though, with my diet choices, the food is even more limited,” says Leal.
Online learning alone can be difficult, but living with roommates can make it almost impossible to focus. However, these three students found their own ways to overcome this obstacle. Marquez overcame this obstacle by coming to an agreement with her roommate about each other’s class schedules so that everyone could be focused with no disruptions or distractions.
When we’re doing our own classes, we’re in our own respective places. Never disruptive, my roommates respect my class time, “says Marquez.
Setting boundaries with roommates seems to be a solution another student resorted to as well when it comes to learning online. According to students, these boundaries have helped them respect each other’s class time in order to benefit their learning.
“Being on campus with my roommate, we have set boundaries with one another. That way, we’re benefitting from online learning,” says Leal.
Regardless of all the obstacles students at CSUSB had to go through while living on campus during a pandemic, many still found benefits to housing on campus. The biggest benefit students shared amongst each other was arriving on time for class.
“It’s convenient. I get to class on time compared to when I used to commute, since it used to take me 45 minutes to get to campus. I was always running late to my morning class, “says Marquez.
Another benefit of living on campus that the students shared with each other was attending the in-person classes. Even during the pandemic, in-person classes seem to benefit many students at CSUSB.
“One of the benefits for me while living on campus is being able to attend the in-person classes instead of the online classes,” says Gonzalez.
Living on campus during a pandemic has its downsides, but one of them is in-person classes switching to being held online. This is one of the downsides talked about amongst students because many prefer and find themselves learning better when classes are held in person.
“Currently within remote learning, I see no benefits to living on campus,” says Gonzalez.
As we continue to live through this global pandemic, students will have to continue adjusting to the new changes happening on campus. Many of these changes that could come in the future could benefit the students at CSUSB. However, these future changes could also make it harder than it already is for those students who already live on campus.