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Why Living In The Dorms During COVID Was The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

As a transfer student, I wasn’t able to experience on-campus living here at UMass until spring 2021. I received my acceptance letter during the “original” quarantine in the spring of 2020 when there was still a bit of hope of returning to normalcy far quicker than we actually did. I had hoped that I would be able to have a somewhat normal sophomore year at UMass. I didn’t enjoy my freshman year experience at all at my old school, so I was incredibly excited for UMass. As it turned out, I had to wait a whole year for this experience.

Before the fall semester began in 2020, I was working four different jobs in anticipation of being on campus in the fall and needing a lot of money. It was mid-August when I received the devastating email from UMass saying they would no longer be allowing anyone to live on-campus come the start of the semester. I was at work when I received the email, and we were slammed, but I still stopped to check it. I had put so much hope into being able to go in the fall that I immediately ran out of the store and began sobbing. After months and months of isolation and a whole freshman year of hating college, I was devastated, to say the least.

I seriously considered taking the fall semester off of classes. I had begun to lose all hope of ever returning to normalcy. However, I realized that I didn’t want to be behind in courses in comparison to my friends and wanted to graduate with them, so I continued with classes, all while working full-time for the majority of the fall. My hope had finally come true when we received the email saying they were allowing some students back on campus for the spring, transfer students being one of the select groups. 

I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity. I got in touch with a friend-of-a-friend who I knew had transferred to UMass at the same time as me, as well as a friend from high school who went here. We all immediately knew we had to live in the same building. Although I was not in the honors college, nor was the friend of a friend, we were still able to live there. Finally, move-in day came in late January, and we haven’t looked back since.

It was nearly right away that the three of us became inseparable. It didn’t take long for us to meet others in our building as well. We quickly all became a tight-knit group, roughly 20 of us. We all did everything together. Even though the dining halls were closed to seating, we always went to pick up our food together. We took the same courses and did homework together. We found joy in doing simple things together like making a Target run or finding a new place to go on a nature walk. Since we all only ever saw one another, we were very safe in regard to covid. 

Imagine living in the same house as 20 of your best friends. This was what our life was like that spring semester. I have some of the best memories from those few short months we all spent together. My dream of enjoying college finally came true. These friends are still my best friends to this day, despite not all living together anymore. Seeing each other every weekend is a given, but we also still make the effort to just hang out or get dinner during the week. If your parents went to college, you know when they talk about their college friends, and now you call them aunts and uncles? This is that group of people for me. While that spring semester was anything but ordinary, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have found my forever friends.

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Caroline Townsend

U Mass Amherst '23

Caroline is a junior at UMass Amherst studying Education, specifically Community Education and Social Change. She is from Truro, Cape Cod Massachusetts and a true beach bum. She lives for beach days, homemade ice cream, and her three dogs!