By Morgan Cole
The following story is a day in the life of an ASU Downtown Phoenix student living in the Taylor Place dorms. The “then” perspective comes from my personal experience living in the dorms last fall. The “now” perspective comes from journalism student Meredith Bushman living in the dorms this year amidst a pandemic. I will walk you through each of our daily routines living in Taylor Place.
The point is to draw a dramatic difference between living in dorms last year v.s. living in dorms during COVID-19.
Then: I wake up to my 8:30 a.m. alarm clock telling me it’s time to get up and get ready for my 9 a.m. class. I’m tired and I don’t want to get out of bed. I’m dreading the walk across the street to the Cronkite building. Nevertheless, I drag myself out of bed and throw on a t-shirt and leggings because it’s just too early to put effort into my appearance. I walk to the elevator and press the button. After a few minutes of waiting, the elevator finally arrives and it’s already packed full of students rushing to get to class. Although there are probably at least 10 people crammed into the elevator, I squeeze in any way and take the elevator all the way down.
Now: I wake up to my alarm telling me it’s time to get up. I’m excited about the day because today is one of the two days a week that I can go to class in-person. I’m motivated to put on a cute outfit whilst getting ready because this is the only in-person class I have. I feel like I have more structure to my day when I’m able to go to class instead of attending Zoom. I open the door of my room and see that the room next to me is getting food delivered to them. It makes me anxious because the rooms next to me are used for isolation for residents that have been exposed to COVID. It’s nerve-wracking to know that someone who is sick is living so close to me. I walk to the elevator and press the button. When the elevator doors open, I’m disappointed to see that there are already four students in it. Because of the pandemic, they allow no more than four people in an elevator at once. So, I step back, let the elevator doors close, and hope that the next elevator to come has less than four people in it.
Then: I’m starving as I walk out of my second class of the day. I text my friend and ask if she wants to meet me in the dining hall for lunch. When I see my friend waiting for me in the dining hall, we get our food and sit down at a table. We talk about our classes and how excited we are for the weekend. There’s a home football game on Saturday, so we discuss our plans for the game. We’re both happy that our last class of the day is coming up soon because we can’t wait to go back to our rooms and take a nap. We say goodbye and I head to my last class.
Now: I walk out of my only in-person class of the day and head to the dining hall. My next class is online, so I grab the take-out food from the dining hall and head to my room. I quickly eat the food alone in my room before logging on to Zoom for my next class. On some days, I’ll eat lunch with my friends but we can only eat outside and there’s a limit to how many people can sit at one table. This is due to the safety protocols regarding the pandemic.
Then: I need to do homework and study for upcoming tests. My friends and I go to the lounge to hang out and work on homework together. We sit in a big group and start working on assignments. Every few minutes, people walk by the lounge and come sit with us. All the lounges in Taylor Place are buzzing with excitement about Saturday’s game and plans for the weekend.
Now: It’s time for homework. The study rooms in the dorms only allow two people in them at once and masks are required. So, my friends and I leave the dorms so we can find somewhere outside to work on assignments together. We sit at a table outside the law building so we can all study and catch-up. We talk about how excited we are for the weekend coming up.
Then: After a few hours of studying, my friends and I decide to go down to the dining hall for dinner. About five of us pack into the elevator and head downstairs. When we get to the first floor, I see my crush sitting by the TVs with all of the sports journalism boys. He catches me staring and smiles at me, I blush and look away. The dining hall is always the busiest on weeknights. We get our food and struggle to find a table that would fit us all. We eat and talk about our days but it’s hard to hear each other because it’s so loud in there. We see some people we know and invite them to come sit with us. It’s so nice to eat and chat with friends after a long and stressful day.
Now: It’s time for dinner. I meet my friends downstairs in the dining hall and we bring our food outside to eat in the shade garden because we aren’t allowed to eat at the tables inside. We spread out our group to a few separate tables because we don’t want to get in trouble for having too many people at one table. Some of my friends have been penalized in the past for sitting in too big of a group. Everyone is buzzing about different sports games being televised throughout the week. We finish our food and head back to our rooms, most of us having to take separate elevators to abide by the four-person rule.
Then: Once all of my friends finish their homework, they come to my room so we can all hang out. We listen to music while playing games like Cards Against Humanity. Every few minutes, we get a knock on our door from other people on our floor stopping by to chat or tell us about their day. After a while, we decide to take the elevator down to the store for a late-night snack. On our way down, we walk by the lounge which is roaring with students playing the Wii on the TV and hanging out with their friends. We wave and smile at everyone and continue on to the elevator.
Now: After my friends and I finish our homework, we plan to hang out because we don’t have class tomorrow. At first, only one of my friends was in my room and we listen to music and talk about our days. The rest of our friend group texts us and asks what we’re up to. We’d like to invite them over, but we’ve heard of students getting written up by community assistants’ for having too many people in their room at once. Instead, we ask them to meet us downstairs and we grab our masks and head to the elevator. Because there’s only two of us and the elevators aren’t as busy at night, we’re both able to take the same elevator. We meet our friend group by the store and head outside for a walk around the city.
Then: I go to bed early in the morning after having a fun night with my friends. I feel content as I fall asleep knowing that the weekend will bring more nights like this.
Now: I head to bed after spending the night outside of the dorms with my friends. The dorms can feel isolating during these strange times, so it was nice to get out tonight and spend time with people I love. I fall asleep looking forward to the weekend when I don’t have online classes keeping me in my dorm room.
Living in dorms amidst a pandemic can be scary. This isn’t meant to be a negative comparison. On the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised when I talked to Meredith about her daily life in Taylor Place. She was still able to make friends during this weird time, and we actually had a lot of similarities in our daily routines–hers just includes masks and smaller groups. We laughed about how loud the sports journalism boys get on game days and the ridiculous amount of time we wait to get on the elevators–regardless of a pandemic. Of course, she struggles with things that I didn’t have to worry about last year and vise versa. But she finds ways in her day-to-day life to have fun and smile through the hard times.
We’re all getting through this pandemic together, and it’s important that we stay positive and find joy in the simplest things like taking a walk or studying outside with friends–even if we have to wear a mask while doing it.
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