Sachi Sharp '23. Photo by Cassidy Arrington
“It was really bizarre, just leaving all my things. Because when I left, I was just visiting my friend. But then I was home, and all my favorite sweaters were not there.”
Sachi Sharp ’23 knew to at least bring her textbooks with her when she packed her single suitcase and left to visit her friend in Vancouver last spring before coming home to Rochester, New York, for spring break. When she got home and discovered that students wouldn’t be returning to campus that semester, she found herself saddled with the strange feeling of having left parts of herself someplace else.
Quarantine had its own host of challenges for Sachi. There was the lingering fear that she could be vulnerable to COVID-19 in the event that one of her three sisters contracted the virus in their jobs as essential workers. And there was also the stress of starting a semester during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests.
“It was stressful because there was school, but I was also going to protests, but there was also a pandemic: it was a lot to keep track of. I would be marching in a crowd while trying to keep 6 feet away from people. I would be yelling while struggling to breathe with my mask on.”
Additionally, Sachi acknowledged the barriers remote learning imposed on her academic track. The monotony of learning in such a closed environment made it difficult for her to focus, and learning from home made her more accustomed to being alone and approaching her studies independently.
Fortunately, Sachi was able to navigate these challenges while staying healthy, but it was really being surrounded by family that helped her conquer the emotional and mental toll of such a historic year.
“It was disappointing but I got to stay home; I got seasoned food. It could have been worse. My sisters and I have always been really close so we were just hanging out. We were distracting each other from everything that was going on around us … My siblings got me through the pandemic.”
Now that she is back on campus, Sachi is looking forward to getting coconut ice cream from her favorite New Haven ice cream parlor, taking naps in the fort she built under her bed and being able to go outside and study around campus when the weather gets warmer.
Though Sachi feels that some of the glimmer of the college experience has dimmed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, she hopes to focus more on taking the steps that will help her secure her degree, and on relearning what it feels like and means to be a college student again.
Sachi Sharp's room. Photograph by Cassidy Arrington.
Marcos Barrios '24. Photograph by Lukas Flippo
“The first stop I made was to Old Campus. I managed to get in, and I went to our freshman dorm. It was weird. That was my room, and I left it totally as it was. I did not take anything with me. So, in my mind, my room is still there with all my things and how I organized it and decorated it.”
Marcos Barrios ’24 took a walk around campus before he entered quarantine in Ezra Stiles College. He remembered how grandiose the celebration was when he arrived on campus as a first year, so he wanted to make the beginning of sophomore year special in its own way, taking selfies and photos as he traced his steps around campus.
Quarantine is new for Marcos. Back home in Florida, restrictions were looser, and Marcos had a job that involved traveling.
But unpacking the boxes of his stored spring belongings kept him busy.
“It took me three days to get everything situated!”
Now with all his pictures taped to the wall and his room decorated, Marcos is counting down the days until he can step outside of the Stiles gates and order Chipotle.