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Freshman talks life on campus during COVID-19

After Lyon College’s decision to switch to remote learning amidst COVID-19 concerns, some students opted to remain on campus for the remainder of the semester, including freshman Destiny Howell.

“They trusted that their students knew what they needed,” Howell said. 

“They did everything they could to meet needs like technological or financial distress caused by the outbreak.”

Lyon has been striving to make this transition easier for students remaining on campus. Staff are working to alleviate the students’ emotional stresses as well as the physical ones. 

The College made housing available to students who needed it. It has continued to provide meals for these students by adopting new policies in the cafeteria. 

Many of Howell’s experiences are ones students and faculty alike can relate to; for example, Howell’s schedule has entirely changed now that they aren’t waking up as early to prepare for in-person classes. The majority of their classes are asynchronous; rather than attending live lectures, students follow along with posted lectures on their own time.

They stated that this system creates both benefits and difficulties. Howell is able to watch lectures and complete coursework on their own schedule, which helps relieve some of the stress they might otherwise be experiencing.

On the other hand, this self-scheduled work can also intensify feelings of isolation or loneliness, an issue made worse by the emphasis on social distancing in recent weeks. Lyon has worked to combat these feelings by continuing to provide opportunities for its students to stay connected with the campus and each other despite the switch to remote learning. 

The Student Activities Council (SAC) and Marketing and Communications have held events through social media, such as virtual trivia nights, and the College’s social media posts challenges encouraging students to build homemade bagpipes or take selfies in their new “classrooms.” 

These events are available to all students, whether on campus or otherwise. They provide a temporary break in lieu of events that would normally be held in-person.

Other events, like SAC’s recent campus-wide Easter egg hunt, are designed for students still living on campus. Residential Life Staff have also held events for those students, including streaming movies to all residents as well as more niche events, such as a competition where every student was given a potato and a set time limit to create an outfit for it. 

“They left a potato outside everyone’s door without warning and gave us 48 hours to dress it up. I put mine in a dress,” Howell said. “It was just nice to know that I was having a shared activity with other people.”

Howell has also found other ways to keep calm during their time on campus. They discussed the comfort they find in going outside and looking at the plants on campus, allowing them some much needed fresh air and physical activity. 

“Don’t be afraid to rely on your support system,” Howell concluded, advising peers to keep their relationships going strong.