The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Students make the most of social distancing on an empty campus

3 min read

The majority of UMW students have returned home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic" (Alicen Hackney | The Blue & Gray Press)


Staff Writer

COVID-19 has brought many students confusion and uncertainty about what is happening in the future and if this is becoming the new normal. Students were told to return home and remain inside as much as possible to stop the spread and keep family members safe. For some students, however, remaining on campus was the better, or only, option.

With social distancing now in full effect, students are asked to remain at home unless it is for essential items like grocery shopping or medical reasons. Large groups have also been banned, with groups now limited to ten people and a distance of six feet encouraged. Some students have not only made the best of social distancing in a now quiet campus, but they have also found ways to keep from going insane in a near empty environment.

Victoria Chanthyasak-White, a junior anthropology major, is one student who stayed on campus. She said the university made it an easy transition for her to remain on campus since going home was not an option for her in the time frame given by the university.

“With most of campus being gone, it’s been easier to socially distance myself,” said White. “I’ve just been on a lot of Facetime calls with my friends just seeing how they’re doing and checking on my residents.”

White is not only a student, but also an RA in Mason which makes it easier to not get anyone sick or potentially coming into contact with anyone since she lives in a single dorm room.

“I think that right now it’s been a lot of taking advantage of me time, but like slowly I’m starting to start bothering my friends and my friends kind of bother me like ‘what are you doing’ and I’m like ‘nothing,’” said White. “Just so I don’t go crazy I think trying to communicate with people via whatever it may be, tapping into hobbies that I wouldn’t usually be able to do when school is actually in session.”

For some students, social distancing has actually been beneficial for them as being isolated has helped them feel more relaxed or at least has not been a large change from their normal lives.

Christopher Hudert, a sophomore music and math major, remained on campus due to his siblings coming back from Italy; they had to remain isolated for two weeks. For him, these two weeks have been an adjustment but it was easy to remain connected online with classes and with people. He is now living on his own since most of his roommates have gone home.

“I’ve been reading and playing new games,” said Hudert. “I’m pretty introverted anyways so it’s not the biggest adjustment.”

For some students, picking up a new hobby has been easier since there is not much activity going on campus as well as having to remain indoors for longer periods of time.

“I know a lot of kids are trying to teach themselves something new,” said White. “I have a couple of friends that are learning how to engineer music. Me and my friends have made a pact and we’re all going to try to learn something new while we’re stuck in our rooms.”

Some of the hobbies that students have picked up involve getting more exercise or trying new exercises.

“I have tried to do yoga lately after my workout rather than just stretching,” said White. “I have been going on walks to enjoy the warm weather and doing at home workouts to get exercise, being creative with my furniture to utilize them for workouts.”

With this time making lives for students slower, motivation to do schoolwork has also been decreasing for many students, as they are unable to access their usual study environments.

“It has been much more difficult to be motivated to do my schoolwork in this time,” said White.

While social distancing remains in full effect, students are making the most out of the new time that they now have. Despite campus not bustling with activities as it normally is, students have remained calm and used this time to their advantage.

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