The Gustavian Weekly

Should I stay or should I go? - The Gustavian Weekly

By Emily Seppelt - Opinion Columnist | October 30, 2020 | Opinion

A glimpse of what the Caf will look like when students go home for break.

A glimpse of what the Caf will look like when students go home for break.

As we near the end of our time together on the hill for this semester, some of us may be considering our plans for when we once again go home and somehow be a college student from home. I only recently realized that students have the option to come back to campus during the online period post-Thanksgiving. I am very happy that Gustavus has given us this option, but the now-impending decision of whether to stay or to go has been weighing heavily on my mind.
What would really be smarter? On one hand, it is always hard to turn down more time on campus. After being forced to stay at home for upwards of six months, it would seem crazy to turn down the independence that comes with being on campus and away from your parents. Doing schoolwork from home also presents its own set of challenges.
Being on campus provides many more resources such as quality internet, a personal workspace, and a library, not to mention countless study spaces. Even the general atmosphere of a college campus is much more conducive than home to spur a student’s productivity and focus. Being in an environment other than school to do coursework can also confuse our brains and prevent us from focusing as much as we may otherwise if we were in our normal environment.
Other than schoolwork, being on campus can also help students socially and mentally. While we can’t gather in large groups or be closer than six feet from each other, being on campus at least allows us to interact with people our own age and gain a sense of camaraderie and support from our peers. If you have in-person classes, these classes can also help to keep our sense of community secure.
I know when I was doing schoolwork from home, I felt a strong disconnect between the world I inhabited as a young person and the world that my family inhabited, which definitely contributed to a sense of disconnect and miscommunication. No matter how close your family is, college students are simply not meant to be at home with their parents to the extent that we needed to be over quarantine and the summer.
Of course, however, there are many pros of packing up and heading home for the holiday season for the second online period of the year. You have to admit that flooding campus with students after we all go home for Thanksgiving is an insane and frankly dangerous idea. The period after Thanksgiving this year would be so short that it would be pointless to put everyone in the community in danger for in-person classes.
Going home can also offer students more support and social time than they might be getting on campus. No matter how much we may bicker, having the support of my family is greatly beneficial in these stressful times, and I am sure this is the case with many college students.
Going home also opens the door to seeing friends that may not attend campus-as safely as possible of course. In the Christmas season and past breaks, I have barely had the opportunity to see any of my friends’ homes because we would be so busy and none of our breaks lined up.
Staying on campus may end up being even more lonely than going home would be if most students stay home. If J-term is any indication of how desolate and cold campus can be during open breaks, then I would not wish to stay on campus. Not being with our college friends might also help us to better focus on studying and writing for our final exams and papers.
Ultimately, the decision to stay or to leave campus depends on every student’s personal situation, and both options have pros and cons that we must adapt to. While it is sad that we will lose a true holiday season on the hill, hopefully, we will be able to look at the bright side and enjoy the season despite the circumstances. If the online period goes anything like the rest of the semester, we will all be too stressed to worry about where we are anyway.

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