As students came to the Castleton University campus or to their off-campus apartments in the fall of 2020 under Covid-19, there was a different perspective of what a “typical” college experience is like.
For senior Gannon Teunissen, the new typical isn’t that bad. He said for him, “The college experience is living with a bunch of people and getting to know them,” and he’s still able to do that at Castleton.
Junior Steven Harlow agrees.
“I still love living on campus. The new guidelines are still easy to adhere to, it’s not totally different,” he said.
With approximately 350 students, freshman Nikki Harrison thinks these conditions have helped her adapt to a college lifestyle.
“I really like living on campus. I am someone that can be really shy, so not having the normal population on campus has really helped me feel comfortable leaving my dorm room.”
Sure, there are annoyances, but Teunissen said he is surprised at how well he’s adjusting.
“It’s really not that bad. The only thing you really have to do is wear a mask everywhere you go,” Teunissen said. “I was expecting it to be more structured, it does not feel like a prison.”
But students say there are some drawbacks to a Covid-19 campus. Senior Olliver Young said he misses being able to interact with people on a daily basis.
“Normally after class we might run to a Coffee Cottage to grab lunch or talk to the professors before class starts and after, and it’s just not the same because we are just staring at screens, and that connection is not happening in the same way,” he said.
Although it is dramatically different for students coming to college, faculty and staff have had to make their own adjustments as well. David Blow, a Media and Communication professor at Castleton University, said he does not miss the two-hour round trip from Glens Falls, New York, but he does miss being able to teach students in person.
“I miss the classroom, I don’t like sitting as much as I do right now, I like walking around, bouncing, I like calling on people and not having to wait for the lag on a Zoom meeting,” he said.
Blow said he also misses campus because he loved to see students interact with each other.
“At campus, you never really know what’s going to happen. I like seeing the activity in students, I like the organic student mingling outside my office or popping in. Chatting with my colleagues… that spontaneous interaction with students and peers, I miss.”