A couple of weeks ago, I moved into my apartment in Athens, Ohio. This is the start of my junior year and obviously it is not the most ideal way anyone wants to spend their college years. With the pandemic going on, everyone has a different opinion on college students and what's the appropriate response to accommodate all of them while not spreading the virus. Here in Athens, it seems everyone is either split on what to do or do not care at all.
For me, I have been residing in my studio apartment at the River Edge complex. It has been a very exciting experience so far, having my own pad again after months of living with my parents it's that sense of freedom that every college student craves. However, outside the walls of my apartment – Athens has been a less than peaceful experience. The campus feels like a ghost town for the most part. When I mean hardly anyone is on campus, I mean that it feels like it's 4 am with the sun out; I should know because I've seen the campus at 4 am due to my job.
Inside buildings like Baker there are clear markers to keep everything spaced out. I've never seen Baker so quiet during the day, but I do like how they have someone from the Baker staff cleaning every so often. Everyone is wearing a mask on campus which is good to see – even if there are maybe ten people max around, however around town like Court Street that is a different story.
Old Lady GIF by Muyloco Giphy
Like any college town, there are going to be people partying. I've seen many snap stories of people going to the bars and drinking to their heart's content. Even with the governor's mandate to stop the sale of alcohol at 10 pm, from what I heard people can still drink their drinks till 11 pm. A lot of bars on campus seem to not care about the social distancing and it's really saddening. There's obviously a need for businesses to make money – but there comes a point where another full shutdown caused by these bars will hurt the other Athens businesses when all students are barred from returning.
People on Court Street or around Riverpark wear masks sometimes, other times they hang from their chins or are out of sight at all. I defiantly sidestep or cross the street when I see someone without a mask. It's not like I am completely paranoid with COVID-19, but I understand that it is a serious illness and I don't want to risk my chances. But that doesn't mean I am not trying to make the most of my semester.The future may not be certain right now and it won't be for a bit – but I like to always say that there has to be bad before there comes good. Stay safe out there!