Kylie Hoang and Ellie Baird aren’t new to living off campus, but this year is different. The two seniors lived off campus last year but now the pandemic keeps them from physical classes and away from family and friends.
Hoang’s family lives in Oregon and while it is usually not difficult to be away from them during the school year, it is now as she finishes up her senior year at Knox in her off-campus house in Galesburg. Otherwise a social person, stay-at-home orders and online only classes have left Hoang isolated.
Hoang misses hanging out with the frisbee team, her friends and even the daily interactions that going to class gave her. It can be hard to judge the room in a virtual class and Hoang said they have an innate awkwardness because it is hard to tell who is going to speak next and in what order.
Hoang has been keeping in touch with her family and the frisbee team throughout the shelter in place orders. Whether she needs advice from her mother or just some companionship, they’ve helped her not to feel so isolated.
“Being stuck in my off-campus house in Galesburg is really, really difficult because I keep thinking about, ‘If I were with my mom, I wouldn’t have to pay for that,’ or like, I wouldn’t have to do this myself,” Hoang said. “I wouldn’t have to be alone all the time.”
Baird, on the other hand, thinks that being at home right now would be harder for her. She keeps in close contact with her family, calling every Sunday, but Baird doesn’t see her family more than once every few months so it hasn’t been as hard on her to be living away from them right now.
Although it can be hard to focus on schoolwork while at home, Baird lives with friends. Living with friends has given Baird a support system of people her own age that she knows others don’t have right now.
Quarantine has been an up and down experience for Baird, and it’s been rough on Hoang. Hoang regrets not being able to say goodbye to a lot of her friends. Baird misses being able to play live music.
Still, both have found positives in the experience. Baird has had more time to focus on what she wants to do, like making music. Hoang has been able to be more introspective. She’s been journaling about her feelings and setting a lot of goals for herself