It is really difficult to be able to make friends,” said Megan Wilson, a freshman at Waynesburg University. “Everyone is wearing a mask and has to be socially distant. You can’t go into class and sit next to someone and introduce yourself.”
Waynesburg, a school of approximately 1,400 undergraduates, requires students to wear masks at all times. Additionally, guests from off-campus are not permitted on campus.
But there are some unexpected benefits for Wilson.
“Not having to go to my 8 am class all the time is very nice,” she said. “Sitting in bed and doing class is definitely the best, I think. And when it gets cold outside, it will be great.”
Additionally, with social opportunities scaled back to a minimum, Wilson is finding that her academic focus is stronger.
“I do have a lot of downtime,” she said. “I am getting ahead on homework, going to the gym, and FaceTiming my friends and family.”
Wilson is very lucky compared to most students. She has most of her classes in person. “The majority of my classes are in person, I have one fully online. Many of them are in person, and then sometimes like once a week or so they are online. I guess hybrid is what they call it.”
But like so many other college students this year, Wilson is finding that her new routine can grow thin quickly.
“The boredom is making me sad, and I miss home and my friends,” she said. “It is very difficult to get used to calling your mom and dad on the phone, and not being able to see them all the time. I do have some anxiety about all that I am trying to cope with.”