By Kayla Lupedee
In the wake of this strange, new apocalyptic world, we try to go about our days as normal as they can be. The Coronavirus may be stopping a lot of people from living their normal and healthy lifestyles, but not us college students, right? Wrong.
On Tuesday, March 17, University of Tampa students unfortunately received a UTAlert message from President Vaughn stating, “we have decided that online course delivery will continue through the rest of this semester.”
Well, that is heartbreaking in itself. Students that attend UT chose to go here for several reasons other than just the courses they offer, whether online or not. We, UT students, love the atmosphere of our school. We love the location and never-ending things to do around the city. We love the lifelong friendships we got to make here. We love living here.
We cannot live here again until August. Our semester was cut short. Despite always wishing summer would come sooner, we were sort of granted this wish, and we want to give this wish back.
The email students received also included a guideline to the additional updates of our school. Residence halls are to remain open, only to those who are without any other housing options. Otherwise, students are expected to move out, in the midst of confusion and adjustment to online courses and the return from spring break.
Mackenzie Sargolini, sophomore public health major, said, “I was annoyed with how teachers kept piling on the work, tests, and projects without being considerate of all the other stuff we had going on [the first week], like trying to move out.”
Moving out of the dorms had transformed an already stressful situation into more frustration, sadness and fear. How were we expected to get all our things out in a week, on top of completing all these extra assignments piled on to our workload?
Many students had to move their belongings out on their own due to not having access to their parents’ help. There was ultimately very little warning to our moving out. Earlier notice could have relieved much more stress.
Since many students were advised not to return to campus after spring break if they already left, they were left with very little options in retrieving their items. Some students, like Olivia Hyde, sophomore elementary education major, are self-quarantining, like advised, during this time. She is also unsure when her belongings could be packed up.
“I’m grateful that UT is taking precautions,” said Hyde. “But, it’s nerve-wracking because if airports shut down then I’m unable to get any of my stuff.”
The only benefit of this happening is the 47% refund being offered to students as compensation for being kicked out too soon.
However, that money looks like it might be covering some expenses for this last-minute move-out process. Since some students couldn’t get flights back to Tampa to pack up their belongings, they had to resort to other means.
“I had to spend over $800 to have all of my stuff moved up north from my dorm, which was really inconvenient,” said James Houlahan, sophomore advertisement and public relations major.
The stress of packing up our belongings could have been handled much differently to ease the anxiety we had already felt. Days were spent scrambling to pack up dorms in such short notice, instead of focusing on school work.
At that point, the question becomes: what is more important, my education or my living situation?
Leaving UT earlier than expected definitely caused some panic and heartache, but it is an understandable precaution that had to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
Now that the stressful part about leaving Tampa is over for most, the best we can do is talk to our friends from afar and wait for next semester to begin.
Kayla Lupedee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org