By Nicholas Enoch ’24
Walking on Van Meter Highway and being told the stories of students walking into Mary Fisher Hall with large groups of friends at night and sitting outside the Big Lawn, it felt weird seeing an almost empty campus coming to Goucher for the first time.
All residential students are living in Welsh Hall, with the option of getting one suite to themselves or having a roommate. For the first five days all residential students were on campus, everyone was required to be quarantined in their rooms, which means no leaving campus for any reason, and the only things we were allowed to do were walking around campus with no interactions. With meals being delivered and no roommates in my suite, I felt lost, alone, and totally up a creek. While the meals were exceptional, I had little to no motivation to go outside longer than 15 or 20 minutes because of my sluggish energy during the first five days on campus.
When the day came, we finally got our test results back, it felt like the campus was lifted from all of our shoulders. With six-foot guidelines in effect for all on Welsh Hall and campus hotspots like the Mary Fisher Dining Hall, Athenaeum, and common rooms. After nearly a week of seeing no one and feeling separated from people, it was a refreshing surprise to be able to see people, eating outside Mary Fisher Hall, having conversations, and getting to know each other.
Two weeks later we all got retested for COVID, just to make sure that all the students did not develop symptoms once restrictions were lifted. All the tests came back negative, and so far, as I know, no students who are living on campus have COVID-19. Things felt like they went back to normal; my RA made a socially-distanced ice cream social with the residents on my floor, I got to have dinner with some students, and I felt like I was finally getting that Goucher Community feel, but I wanted to be able to get involved in clubs, get myself out there.
Thanks to events hosted by Goucher’s Office of Student Engagement, from the open houses, social hours, and the Student Involvement Fair, I have been able to meet and interact with clubs and organizations that sparked my interests. From engaging in the Involvement Fair, I have joined four organizations, from becoming a member of the Student Engagement Team, Secretary for the Goucher Eye, part of the Editorial Board for the Preface, and becoming the Foreign Language Editor for the Quindecim
After being on campus for the past five or six weeks, I think Goucher has done a good job of keeping the CDC guidelines and enforcing them. From only allowing certain people to come on campus to only having certain numbers of people allowed to be in the laundry room or being in a common room, these restrictions have helped keep COVID off campus or have people develop symptoms on campus. While I do wish we could have more on-campus engagement for the residential students who currently live on campus, I feel like Goucher Residential Life Staff and Public Safety are doing a good job of containing COVID on-campus.
While at the beginning, coming in as a transfer student, it was challenging to adjust to a new environment, but being willing to put myself out there and getting involved I have grown to find my community, friends, and happy to call Goucher my home away from home.