Over a year since the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States, students reflect on the differences of on-campus activity this semester versus a fully in-person college experience.
Streets and sidewalks that would normally be bustling with activity are still having little pedestrian and car traffic throughout the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.
Beatriz Vernin transfered to the university for financial reasons and the COVID-19 implementation that the University of Illinois is able to provide students. Vernin studies information sciences and business at Illinois, having in-person classes this semester.
“On Tuesday’s I would say I see about like 10 to 20 people on campus walking,” said Vernin.
With in-person options that the university provides, as well as Illinois SHEILD testing, Vernin was excited to make the move to Champaign-Urbana from her previous university.
On the main quad there has been little traffic as most students are working remote amid the pandemic.
“It’s crazy different than what it’s normally like here,” said Alaina Smith, senior in animal sciences. “There’s hardly any people outside and it’s interesting because this same quad area, this time last year, it would’ve been like a humble jumble to rush around and try to get around people just to get to class. And now it’s just a straight shot.”
Smith says that fewer people meet outside of class in general to work on class content. She also noted the ease of travel that less activity on-campus allows recalling previous semesters which had her not walking, but running from class to class across campus to be on time to in-person sessions.
Margaret Rogin, junior in communications and psychology, feels that she hasn’t been able to have the full college experience amid the pandemic’s challenges.
“I usually stay in my apartment, sometimes if it’s asynchronous, so the classes are pre-recorded, I go to the library or I go to my friend’s apartment study area just so I can focus better,” said Rogin.
Though Vernin, Smith and Rogin have noticed less activity around campus even with in-person opportunities, they are hopeful for activities to resume as time goes on.
“It’s still great, I think it can only go up from here now,” said Vernin.