August is approaching, and with it, thousands of students will move back to College Station. But this year, those numbers may look a little different.
Following many professors’ decisions to move their classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are now finding themselves fighting the decision to return to College Station in the fall.
For computer engineering senior Ruben Mendoza, his financial situation and desire to not risk his academics have led him to stay at home for the upcoming semester.
“After my last lease ended I didn’t want to sign another one after what happened in the spring semester,” Mendoza said. “A majority of my classes are online so I figured I would just drop the other two and go completely online and stay at home. I’d rather do that and save myself thousands of dollars in housing.”
The hit the economy took was felt first hand by economics senior Jessica Goode, who said she had to drop her second minor in order to push her graduation date closer.
“The money I use for school actually comes from an investment account so a lot of the money is tied into stock,” Goode said. “So when COVID hit and the stock market came down, my family and I quickly had to get to work. I ended up having to drop one of my minors, that was going to be a majority of the course work, in order to push my graduation date forward [from 2021] to fall 2020.”
Goode said her plan is to stay off campus as much as possible, with the exception of small study groups. Although her classes are online this upcoming semester, Goode said she has trouble focusing on schoolwork in her home.
“All of my classes are online and I’m probably going to keep it that way,” Goode said. “Most of my classes for next semester are senior level economics classes so I have quite a few friends so we might be getting together to study either at the library or somewhere near campus.”
Even with these unforeseen circumstances, Director of Administrative and Support Services for Residence Life Carol Binzer said on-campus housing is in high demand, with housing being full with an ongoing waitlist.
For geology senior Amanda Chrise, the decision to move back to College Station in the fall was easy. Chrise said a major factor for her was the feeling of comfort that comes with being in the city that gave her so many close friends and classmates.
“I’m definitely moving back to College Station in the fall because living in my apartment, on my own, rather than at home with my family provides a better learning environment for me personally, even if all of my classes are online,” Chrise said. “It’ll also feel more ‘normal’ to still be able to see some of my friends and classmates.”
Although the fall semester will definitely be different than those in the past, Chrise said she’s hoping to stay healthy and safe, all while trying to make the most of her last few months in Aggieland.
“I’m hoping that I’ll still be able to safely spend time with my friends and meet with professors and classmates if necessary for success in my classes despite COVID-19,” Chrise said.