Students adjust to “new normal” and remember time on campus

Ansley Puckett, Reporter

For App State students, life in Boone gave them a sense of community, but when the COVID-19 virus forced colleges across the country to close, students found themselves stuck at home and isolated from mountaineer culture. Americans and mountaineers alike are finding ways to cope and adjust to life online and at home. 

On March 11, App State announced that it would extend spring break through March 22 and move classes online beginning March 23.

For Madison Schuller, a sophomore exercise science major, the announcement came as a complete shock.

Courtesy of Madison Schuller
Madison Schuller has been creating friendship bracelets during her time away from school.

“I was really surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal, but I guess when I saw the other schools in North Carolina start to do that, I figured that everyone else would follow the same thing, but now we’re talking about states being shut down, which is crazy,” Schuller said.

The change forced students like Schuller to quickly adjust to online classes. 

“I’m forcing myself to sit down and actually do (my work), and I’m not letting myself sleep in in the mornings a lot, so I can get up and do my work when my class normally would be. So, that helps,” Schuller said. 

App State’s move to online has also left thousands of students without vital resources that they once had access to. Students like Tori Rodriquez, a junior public relations major, said she no longer has an easily-accessible place to work.

“I’m the kind of person that if I don’t have a space to focus, it’s really hard for me to sit down and just be able to do stuff. The library rooms and the private study rooms that they provided really helped me get through this first year of college,” Rodriquez said. “I’m definitely having a pretty hard time adjusting to trying to find a place within my house that I can actually focus.”

Rodriquez said being away from campus has also made her miss App State’s culture.

“Every single person that I’ve met at App State so far has been so kind and so cool, and I definitely miss that social interaction, being able to walk through campus and seeing other students around and smile at them and they smile back, and it just be normal,” Rodriquez said.

Hannah Stockton, a junior psychology major, said her time away from campus has  changed the way she interacts with others.

“I miss walking on campus and seeing people I know randomly because to see people now I have to be like, ‘Hey, do you want to hang out? Or do you want to FaceTime?’ I don’t want to do that. I want to bump into someone and have a 30-minute conversation. That would be fun to me, and I miss that.”

With campus and nonessential businesses closed, students are discovering new ways to stay busy. 

Courtesy of Tori Rodriguez
Tori Rodriguez spent the first day of spring, March 19, hiking.

“I used to draw a lot when I was younger, and I’ve started doing that more, and I’ve found books to read, and I’ve painted some stuff just trying to find something to keep me busy,” Schuller said.

However, Stockton said the virus has made her more cautious when interacting with friends. 

“I went hiking with a friend a week ago, and that was fun because I really needed that, and she said she did too, but I was nervous the entire time that I was sick but didn’t have symptoms or that she was sick and didn’t have symptoms, and we were going to get each other sick, and I don’t want that to happen,” Stockton said.

Despite their worries, students are looking toward a brighter future to stay positive. 

“(When this is over), I’m going to go hiking, or if it’s warm enough, I’m going to go to the pool,” Stockton said. “I’m going to do something with a lot of friends. I just want to go do something.”

For others like Rodriguez, the first thing they want to do is go back up to Boone.

“I want to drive up to Boone and eat at Sabeing. That is my favorite restaurant, and I miss it so much,” Rodriguez said.