Dorm Life During a Pandemic

Sean Serrano, Contributor

Pioneer Heights. A lively place that was home to 1,500 students fully engaging in the college experience. Bay Area rap music playing from dorm room windows, students strolling with their headphones on to get to the Pioneer Kitchen to get something to eat between classes, this was the norm. This is what Pioneer Heights once was.
The 400 students that now live on campus now must adapt to a new normal along with the hardships of going to school away from home. The college experience has dwindled down to what can safely be done with COVID-19 still being a prominent factor in every aspect of living life.
Major adjustments had to be made in order for students to be housed safely on campus. Housing was set up units were decreased to ensure that each student had their own bathroom, Pioneer Kitchen makes to-go plates rather than students serving themselves, and common areas such as Lassen Hall had to be closed to decrease the chances of the virus being spread.
This has affected the usual college experience that many returning housing students were accustomed to. April Reyes, a graduating Biology major, has made the best of these new circumstances.
“I value my personal space and quietness. I knew I would be guaranteed those things when living on campus,” she says. “But not being able to go to Lassen Hall has definitely made my studying experience feel off since I would utilize those spaces to prepare for nearly every exam.”
The energy that once came from the quad in between Tamalpais, Diablo, and Shasta is no longer there. Students would be lounging on hammocks or on the lawn chairs finding a few minutes to recenter themselves from the rigors of college. Now, there are only the masked passersby that are advised to stay indoors as much as possible.
Cerissa Silva, a third-year Kinesiology housing student, looked back on what housing on campus was like before COVID.
“Having roommates that I get along with made living away from home and going through school easier,” Silva says. “Being close to campus for activities for my sorority Tri-Sigma and school events like Al Fresco enhanced my experience too.”
The intangibles of college are what COVID-19 has taken from all students around the world.
The excitement of getting ready for Spring Mayhem with your friends that you met in your dorm building. Contemplating with your nine other roommates on whether you should go to Bronco’s to get pizza or save money by getting chicken tenders at the Pioneer Kitchen. The face-to-face interactions made with friends, classmates, and professors have been flattened to a screen.
What makes college memorable is the connections that are made, the friendships developed, and the memories that last a lifetime. With the spring semester going online, these experiences are put on hold until the next school year.
Cerissa Silva (916) 601-8686
April Reyes [email protected]