The social aspect of college is arguably as meaningful as the academic part. Everyone has the potential to meet lifelong friends, have fascinating conversations with strangers in the library or dining hall and go to crazy parties. With UK’s new coronavirus policies restricting that key social aspect, the depression spirit inside me wonders if going back is even worth it.
I understand and agree with the restrictions. Safety is the most important goal and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves and requires. However, with states reopening, the caution and fear that came with the pandemic seems to be dying down as if it were an internet trend.
Images of people on beaches without masks pop up on the news. In my hometown, I’ve seen restaurants with outdoor seating and mask-less people. It’s both concerning and unfair that workers need to put their health at risk while being near many mask-less consumers during states’ reopenings.
It all terrifies me. It’s already a miracle that several colleges will have students come back in the end of summer, with plenty of time between now and then for a second spike to hi, leading to national restrictions reminiscent of the spring's.
I myself am guilty of worrying less. Though I always wear a mask when I go to a grocery store or another public space, I’m warming up to not wearing one when I’m with a friend or two. It’s almost a strange hypocritical paradox of dreading seeing people in very public places without masks but starting not to wear one myself, even though spread is still very much possible in a smaller setting.
It’s like having unprotected sex with someone you’re in a relationship with. Both parties have established they don’t think they have an STD and then choose not to be protected. But what if one of them slipped up one time and is now a carrier? The luxury of that transmission is that it won’t spread as easily because the couple may be exclusively together for a while, but Ms. Rona doesn’t permit that privilege with how easily it spreads.
I give it to my friend or vice versa, we interact with our families or other friends and now, it’s viral. The biggest threat is off-campus parties that, if they occur, will be hot spots for transmission, which, even though a mask is required 24/7 on campus, will still lead to more people getting infected.
Which clubs will be allowed to meet? Will choir, which I’ve become so much closer to over the course of last semester, happen at all? Will the ease of catching up with my friends while eating dinner or lunch be erased?
Because of my social anxiety, I didn’t hang out with my friends regularly until high school. It caused a seed of depression in me, because even though the idea scared me, I need to socialize to feel happy. It was so easy in the city-like atmosphere of UK.
The restrictions are what’s safest and most necessary, but they come at a cost.
Still, anything is better than the suburbs.