Life on Campus in 2020

Students talk about their return to COVID-era Wellesley.



Millie Stone ’23

Hometown: Los Angeles
Major: History, with a chemistry minor on a pre-med track (planned)

What courses are you taking this term?

HIST 233, In Search of the Enlightenment, and Math 115, Calculus I. I am totally loving my courses.

How are you finding the new seven-week term system?

There are definitely pros and cons. It initially felt like one giant whirlwind of work, but I am now seeing that it gives me the opportunity to give more attention to my classes. When you have fewer subjects to think about, it is easier to narrow your focus. Still, the term system is incredibly fast-paced, [but] it’s nice to experience having the perfect balance of humanities and STEM.

Any misadventures with online classes?

For my calculus class, we work on problems together in person and our lectures are online. My professor was recording a lecture video and, to demonstrate a concept, he opened Safari to search for a graphing website. It immediately pulled up his previous search result: Google images of cats in sweaters. I couldn’t stop laughing. Turns out, he was making a word problem about cat sweaters for the next recorded lecture video.

What’s life in the res halls like?

I am so lucky to be living in Caz, but I sense that there’s less of a sense of community than last year. There are lots of barriers to hosting a true house council in COVID-19 times and, of course, we have to remain distant from friends when we are in common spaces and such. Also, with mostly only first-years and sophomores on campus, the dorm feels much more empty … and definitely quiet.

How does dining work?

The dining halls are boxing up meals for us to takeout and eat outside. They recently opened for “reservations.” I decided to try the new system by reserving a table for myself and my friend Carrie, and they literally spaced us about eight feet apart. It almost felt like we were sitting on opposite ends of a banquet table. Since then, I honestly haven’t seen anyone opting to reserve tables in the dining hall. Most everyone is eating outside, so it will be interesting to see what happens when it starts to get colder.

By Alice M. Hummer

Tarini Sinha ’22

Hometown: Mumbai
Major: English and women’s and gender studies

Why did you decide to come back to campus?

There were ICE regulations that came out in early July that required international students to either return to campus to take in-person classes or take remote classes from their hometowns, potentially at the risk of losing our student visas. Even though those regulations were rescinded, it created a lot of fear for international students. When Wellesley guaranteed housing to all international students, I decided that returning to campus was the best way to protect my visa status in case of future regulation changes.

I also thought that being able to socialize with my friends and take some in-person classes would be a far better academic experience than I would have at home in Mumbai, still largely under lockdown. [But it] means that I will not be able to return home to my family likely until May of next year, which is the longest I will have been away from home, so I definitely felt like I would be making a sacrifice either way.

How does it feel to study, sleep, and attend class all from your dorm room?

I’m not taking any in-person classes this term, mainly because I was really excited for the content of the remote classes I had registered for. It has definitely been a huge adjustment to be working and studying from my dorm room, especially since before this semester I would spend very little time in my room. That said, I have found that it has allowed me to slow down on a day-to-day basis without the rush of running from one building to another.

Do you feel more or less isolated than you did at home?

Mumbai was on full lockdown for the entire six months that I was home, so I only left my apartment three or four times. Even though many of my high school friends were also in the same city, because of restrictions, we weren’t able to see each other. At Wellesley, I have many close friends on campus and there are also many more outdoor spaces. I do feel very isolated from my family, and I miss them very much.

What are you particularly excited about this semester?

I’ve honestly found myself incredibly excited to spend time with my friends one-on-one and find things that we can safely do outdoors. For example, my friends and I have been doing a lot of picnics and were even able to make a trip to [nearby] Morse’s Pond, where we’re still able to spend time together while staying safe. I feel incredibly lucky to be back on campus.

By Grace Ramsdell ’22

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