Lechner Hall (Dorm)

Lechner Hall is one of modular style dorms on the north side of Texas A&M's campus.

With the shift to online classes and a newly instated shelter-in-place, some freshmen are split between completing their academic year in their dorms or at home.

While the independence of living away from home for the first time is enjoyable, the convenience of returning home may provide more comfort. What works best for one student may not work best for another.

English freshman Jesse Long said she chooses to live on-campus until the end of the semester partially because her dorm has a fast internet connection.

“I’m from a small town on the edge of the city limits, so the internet connection at my house isn’t equipped to accommodate regular Zoom meetings and my online assignments,” Long said.

Besides internet speed, the deciding factor for Long was that several of her friends are also staying in College Station.

“I enjoy living in College Station, and I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with [my friends] if I moved eight hours away,” Long said. “I didn’t decide to go to A&M to take online classes [but] because I wanted to experience Aggie life.”

While some students will remain in their dorms, biomedical sciences freshman Priya Pai has made the choice to remain at home due to safety reasons.

“I live three hours away from campus, so I am happy to be close to home during a time such as this,” Pai said. “My family and I decided that it would be better for me to be at home to practice social distancing rather than [on] a college campus.”

Pai said she lives in a rural environment where people mostly keep to themselves, which she said is the complete opposite of Texas A&M.

“I feel that it is my social responsibility to stay at home and isolate as well as protect others during this event,” Pai said. “Additionally, I am personally not comfortable with living and working among others in a time of illness.”

However, Long said she thinks living in the dorms is just as safe as living anywhere else.

“The people who traveled abroad over the break are either not allowed to come back to campus or have taken the precautions before coming back, so the ‘danger’ of contracting the virus isn’t any more of a threat than if I were to live back home,” Long said.

With remote education now being enforced, Pai said she would feel more comfortable studying from her house.

“My basic needs like sleeping, eating, cleaning and laundry will now be more streamlined,” Pai said. “I feel better physically at home and in my own space. I also think that being surrounded by my family is a motivational factor and a built-in support group of encouragement.”

In contrast, Long said because all classes have been moved online, living on campus is going to force her to get her work done more so than if she stayed at home.

“While I love my family, I’ve gotten used to life on campus,” Long said. “I know that I will get more done living in the dorms than I will when I have a readily available couch [and] TV and no major distractions during the day.”

When it comes to freshmen who are still unsure of where to stay, Pai said this decision doesn’t have to be made completely on one’s own.

“My parents and I discussed this before any plans were made and determined what was best for me,” Pai said.

Long said it is important to make a decision quickly to sustain stability throughout the remainder of the semester.

“To other freshmen, I would ask them to consider what’s going to be the best way for them to maintain a balance of normalcy during this period,” Long said.

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