Carlee S. is a Rutgers University–New Brunswick graduate student pursuing a MA in communication and media. She has been a marketing intern in addition to being a resident assistant with residence life since 2018. She is anticipating graduation in May 2021. Her interests include really good coffee and photography – check her out on Instagram @carlee1322
Wherever you’re reading this from, I would bet it’s in the same space you’ve been doing school, work, and just about everything else in for the past several months. If that’s where you’re most comfortable and successful – great! If you’re positive that a move to campus would benefit you more – also great! For those that find themselves somewhere in the middle, unable to make a decision about where to live in the spring semester, making a well-informed decision is the best way to get there. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry – we’ve compiled a list of some things to think about when deciding on what’s best for you:
1. First and foremost, let’s start with the most important thing: safety. Rutgers has been early to take the necessary precautions, even if it meant making a difficult decision. We know that staff and faculty are informed and knowledgeable considering they work alongside the team that developed the first federally approved saliva test for COVID-19. The decision to partially open for Spring ‘21 was made confidently with reliable, professional, and scientific guidance; however, until there’s a reliable and widely accessible vaccine, the risk of getting and spreading the highly contagious virus still exists wherever you go. That risk is something to take into consideration when thinking about moving to campus, especially if going home to family for spring break or any holiday is important to you.
This fully automated nucleic acid extraction workstation at Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics can process up to 10,000 saliva samples per day for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus testing. Photo: David Sokolowski
2. This one you’ll have to hear me out on: snow days. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a blusterous winter, with a huge blizzard making its appearance around February (aka midterm season of Spring semester). In the past, class cancellations due to snow were typically followed by celebratory sledding down the hill next to the Honors College on College Ave. Campus, plus a collective sense of relief among students getting that extra day off. Although a large-scale sledding event may not be possible for a while, picture yourself stuck inside on a snowy day with little to do. Who do you want to be with and where? Days like this may only be few and far between, but one day completely confined indoors can feel like a week, so it doesn’t hurt to consider where your ‘indoors’ could be.
Photo: Rutgers University Communications
3. The confinement of staying home during the pandemic has caused many of us to struggle with concentrating at home among parents, siblings, pets, and all the distractions that come with being surrounded by loved ones. Being on-campus means libraries, student centers, and four campuses across two towns to spread out on, away from distraction. Social distancing measures will still be in place, meaning even more distance from noise disturbances. If you’re an introvert like me, this prospect makes you happy but if not, you’ll enjoy number four…
Photo: Life of Pix
4. Being on-campus means seeing others and meeting new people! Friends can reunite in-person (with the proper health and safety precautions, of course) and socially distanced events can build new bonds. Throughout the spring, you can also expect nicer weather and more opportunities for outdoor events. Staying cautious and preventing the spread, however, will still be as necessary as before, if not more. For example, getting invited to a party may mean having to ask yourself if it’s safe to go and possibly figuring out a polite way to turn down the invite. Be prepared to potentially experience some FOMO (fear of missing out).
Photo: Nick Romanenko
5. What’s your routine been like the past few months? You’ve probably had to make lots of adjustments while adapting to doing almost everything from home. Living on-campus will provide a new environment and space to form a new routine that may work better for you. If you’re currently at home, having to share a space and getting distracted often, moving into your own single room on-campus could be exactly what you need. For others, moving from a single room at home to a single room on-campus may not seem worth it. Everyone’s situation is different, so weighing the pros and cons of both options can help in making a final decision.
At this point, we’re all experts at adapting and the spring semester may require more of that. Being realistic and safe are the most important things to consider when thinking about a possible return to campus. Also, be sure to discuss your options with the important people in your life or even check out online groups and forums to see what other students are saying. This decision may not be easy, but I hope after considering some of the points above, you feel more confident to choose the option that works best for you.
Want to learn more about Spring 2021?
Learn more about Spring 2021 housing and how Residence Life has developed detailed plans to welcome more students to our residence halls with renewed precautions to set you up for success. By working together and doing our part, we can help this Spring be a safe, healthy, and successful one. go.rutgers.edu/housingupdate