When "Going Home" Is Easier Said Than Done

The global COVID-19 outbreak has already sparked widespread anxiety, uncertainty and fear among people worldwide. So, when Florida State University announced on March 17 that all classes are being held online for the rest of the semester and that all graduation festivities would be canceled, it’s safe to say that every student felt the blow. While a majority of students who are Florida residents are packing up their belongings in Tallahassee and moving back to their hometowns, many out-of-state students, such as myself, are feeling torn between our two “homes.”

“I decided to come back to Tallahassee after one week of spring break to quarantine and start my hectic online schedule,” says Erika LeFlouria, a sophomore and Her Campus FSU editor from Tennessee. “My main focus and issue was the fact that I am still paying for my Tallahassee apartment. After talking to my parents, we agreed that it would be in my best interest to spend time in both Tennessee and Florida for the remainder of this semester.”

Girl with Computer

Julia Visser, a senior originally from Vero Beach, FL, went back to her new hometown of Birmingham, Alabama for the rest of the semester. “My parents wanted me to come home as soon as FSU moved to remote classes. Their main concern was the possibility of ‘shelter in place’ that many states have moved to. They didn’t want me to be stuck in Tallahassee on my own!”

On how Julia feels about FSU going online for the rest of the semester: “I haven’t been able to fully comprehend all of it yet! I completely understand the reasoning and I’m glad we are doing everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, but I am definitely missing my friends and professors.”

Photo Of Person Driving

Erika agrees, “Of course, I am sad and devastated about this semester being over physically but FSU did what had to be done. No one fully knows how long this is going to last. As an out-of-state student, I’m just glad that I can come back here to Tallahassee and escape the colder weather. My biggest concern is just dealing with adjusting to online classes, something I have no experience with and no previous training.”

While most FSU seniors are having to adjust to the upsetting new reality of spending their last semester away from Tallahassee, any seniors who were participating in off-campus Spring internships have already been living that way. Eric Meincke, a senior from Little Rock, Arkansas, is currently living with extended family while he completes his student teaching internship in Tarpon Springs, FL. “Even though public schools are closed until April 15, I’m currently staying where I am,” he says. “My mother is a healthcare worker, so I would feel less safe going home than staying here and isolating.”

A girl with white nail polish holding scrabble letters spelling the word SENIOR

Eric explained, “I’m obviously disappointed that I’ll be unable to live out my senior year how I always dreamed, but I truly believe that these decisions were made in the best interests of all faculty, students and staff. The health and well-being of society greatly outweighs to [a] relatively small loss of a ceremony here and there.”

Eric also has some advice for seniors who are grieving the loss of their last semester on campus with their friends. “Find joy in doing the things you love. Whether that’s exercising, listening to music, writing, binge-watching or any other activity that keeps you at a safe distance from others. When I moved away from Tallahassee, one of my greatest reliefs was finding new friends and socializing. While that’s obviously harder now, still reach out to your friends and continue to communicate. Even distant relationships can be therapeutic.”

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