Dear Iowa, I’m pissed.
I suppose I can’t speak for everyone here, so I’ll just speak on my behalf and assume others echo the same sentiment. I understand it’s not your fault that there is a pandemic going on; however, I don’t understand why we were sold the idea of a normal year here and received this.
Thank you for trying your best — but no thank you. Instead of saying that we would be back in person, and waiting until the very last moment to change all of our classes to “hybrid,” you should have been more realistic. For those of you who do not know what hybrid classes are, I’ll clear it up for you. Hybrid classes, for me, means that all of my classes moved online with the exception of one.
Doesn’t seem that bad right? Wrong. I’m paying an exorbitant amount of rent to live at an apartment in Iowa City, because we were told classes would be predominantly in person. And as a college senior going into the worst recession since WWII, I would have loved to live at home with my dogs while saving my money. So many people can’t get out of their leases now that they know we’re mostly online, and there is no leniency for COVID-19 in Iowa City. So to cut to the chase, we’re double f*cked.
A part of me would like to be sympathetic and recognize that most colleges had to offer this false promise because they need our tuition money in order to stay afloat, but I just can’t. Out of state tuition costs me an arm and a leg and I am not getting ½ the experience I usually would, but the tuition rate remains the same. I for one, think it’s a giant sham.
The most infuriating part of it all is the gaslighting that the University does. Cases are spiking because students are back and going to the bars. Well, they’re not wrong — but they neglect to acknowledge the part where they shlept us all back here knowing damn well the outcome. We’re not all innocent, but the University is biggest culprit of us all and continues to not take responsibility.
And hopefully I’m wrong, but if the University waits until moments after tuition is nonrefundable to tell everyone that we’re “officially” online, I’m gonna lose it. It’s not fair to the freshman who moved all the way here, it’s not fair to the seniors spending their last semester here, it’s not fair to the faculty who, some of which, are required to teach in person regardless of how they feel.
It’s not as simple as this I’m sure, but they should have just ripped off the Band-Aid and put everyone online this semester well before we all came back here. We would inevitably be scolded about how we are the reason the virus is peaking. Of course the virus is peaking. When you move thousands of 18-23 year olds back into a town where the state doesn’t enforce or require pandemic guidelines, and then expect us to never leave our residences, what else did they think would happen?
Also, if you haven’t seen the story about how the freshman who got COVID-19 was treated in her first week in the dorms, you should check it out here. It speaks volumes to how unprepared the University was to welcome us back.
This is a hard time for everyone, I know. But a lot of what students here are facing right now could have been avoidable. Everyone knew this virus wasn’t going away by the fall and the University should have faced that truth much earlier than now.