The leaves falling and the colors changing are not the only transformations happening in East Stroudsburg.
The once bustling campus of East Stroudsburg University is now all but a ghost-town.
Doors are locked, signs emphasizing the use of masks are plastered on walls everywhere, and an eerie silence overwhelms the campus.
Yet, while most of us remain home this semester, a few individuals still reside on campus.
When classes were announced to be online for the fall semester, the concern around upperclassmen missing out on essential practical learning hours arose.
In order to combat this to the best of their ability, ESU opened their doors to a small number of students; giving them the opportunity to live on campus in the Sycamore Suites so that they could continue with their in-person clinicals, student teaching, internships and graduate courses.
While this was necessary for these students in order for them to complete their studies on time and be fully equipped for the workplace, living on campus currently is not as enjoyable as it may seem.
Maddy Walters, a senior nursing student, is one of the few living on campus this semester so that she can complete her clinicals and simulation labs.
For Walters, this experience can be summed up in one word: awful.
Moving in, she said she knew to expect “change to be everywhere and that it would be very quiet and boring.”
But, the reality of the situation surpassed her expectations, but not positively.
Like most places, campus housing now has many restrictions and rules in place to maximize safety.
Visitors are no longer allowed, sanitization is increased on frequently touched surfaces and communal spaces, such as the laundry rooms, are lowered to a one person occupancy.
For Walters, as the weeks roll by.
The daily routine of waking up, working out, attending class, completing homework, eating; quickly became mundane and repetitive.
The loneliness and boredom of living on campus currently is no where near the ideal senior year people look forward to.
Maddy noted that the school is hosting small, socially distanced events to provide socialization for the students, yet, the chosen times are inconvenient and inflexible for any full-time student’s busy schedule of classes and homework.
Dansbury Commons reopened for the semester, but Walters has found the dining hall to be frustrating.
Due to Aramark laying off a lot of its workers as well as the smaller demand of students, the dining hall no longer provides as many options of food choices.
Walters is gluten free and sometimes her only option is salad twice a day.
Mattioli Recreation Center is also open but with limited hours.
One of Walter’s passions and hobbies is exercise so she was looking forward to spending some time in the recreation center.
However, the limited opening hours has proven to be discouraging as she never has many opportunities to go, with most of her classes being during the recreation center’s opening hours.
It is clear that living on campus is essential for Walters however, with the announcement of classes remaining online next semester, she faces a fear of the vicious cycle of repetitive actions and loneliness taking a much deeper toll than one could expect.
What should be a fun, uplifting experience of a senior year in college has been stripped away and left bare, boring and lonesome.
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