Credit: Celeste Chapman
As a Armstrong campus transplant student, this moving in experience was already new for me, especially with the added safety measures.
Arriving on Wednesday for Operation Move In was surprisingly easy. I wanted to come as early as possible to hopefully avoid crowds because of the pandemic. Thankfully, there wasn’t the long winding line of cars that I’m used to seeing. I pulled up to the sparsely populated Paulson Stadium parking lot where two volunteers with sweat pouring down their faces and masks hanging below their noses stood under a tent.
They didn’t ask me for my move in pass, just my Eagle ID. Swiftly, they handed over my keys, and I pulled into Freedom’s Landing.
The parking lot was full of students and parents struggling to carry boxes into their dorms. There were no volunteers to help, so the heavy lifting was left to students and their two allowed guests.
I noticed a caution that hung in the air between students. There seemed to be an unspoken rule of “stay in your area, I don’t know you, but hey, I want to be polite.” People took turns to walk up and down the stairs, leaving more than enough space for everyone to pass through.
Some students hung together in groups, maskless but happy to be together again. I honestly didn’t blame them even though I was one of the people who wore my mask whenever I was near others, despite the sweltering heat.
Inside the bathroom of my new apartment, I was greeted with a thermometer, a Georgia Southern lanyard, and a mask that read “Eagles Do Right.”
While my mom and I struggled to carry my final and largest suitcase up one flight of stairs, a boy without a mask coming up from the bottom floor asked if he could help us. Before I could say yes, my mom quickly interjected with a “thank you, but no.” When we got inside my apartment where my dad was sanitizing every surface, my mom reminded me to always wear my mask and to try to limit contact with others.
I know that this was just her wanting to keep me safe as America’s COVID-19 numbers soar to the top of the world’s, but how do I balance a social life on a new campus while still protecting myself and others?