By Chelsie Derman
More likely than not, by now you probably know that Ewing is still buzzing with students from the College. Maybe you know a friend, a friend of a friend or someone in one of your classes who chose to live near campus to regain a sense of normalcy.
Despite their individual reasons to live near the College’s grounds, many students’ decisions were unswayed by the switch to complete remote learning for the fall semester.
“I’m a transfer student and everyone in my house—all four of the students, besides my boyfriend—are transfer students as well so we just were all just kind of ready for the move to be off-campus instead of living in our houses,” said Alexa Citrino, a junior business management major. “We just all kind of wanted to move away and, you know, get the college experience.”
Citrino said how she had originally planned to live off-campus at Ewing since March, long before students with on-campus plans were required to apply for housing back in June. Furthermore, when asked what it’s like living off-campus, Citrino gave her take on her experience.
“It’s obviously a little different because of Covid,” Citrino said. “It’s harder to connect with people over a call rather than seeing people in person… campuses are closed so we don’t really go to a library or go on campus in general to meet friends.”
As someone new to the College, Citrino hoped to meet a bunch of new people from the College. While Citrino had met her two roommates beforehand and met some people through her boyfriend in a nearby house, Citrino said it’s difficult to meet other college students currently living off-campus—particularly when she tried to meet people through the facebook group named “TCNJ On Campus Fall 2020.”
“I actually got in contact with a lot of people,” said Citrino. “Me and my three roommates, we tried to meet a lot of different people, messaging them, asking them if they wanted to hang out, you know, meetup. I understand, some people don’t want to because of COVID and stuff, but you know—outside activities, getting lunch together— but I did not meet anyone from there.”
Another student also talked about why she chose to stay in Ewing.
“For living off campus, I had a feeling I was going to do it (before the Coronavirus hit) because I’m doing my teaching clinicals and thought it would be beneficial to live near TCNJ in case my placement was nearby,” said Brittany Kroeckel, a senior elementary education and psychology dual major.
The switch to all-remote learning, therefore, had no influence on her decision to live in Ewing. As a student who always commuted in the past, Kroeckel wanted change.
“I felt at this time I needed to be off on my own and do some self-growth and reflection my senior year of college,” Kroeckel said.
Kroeckel, however, discussed the bitter-sweet reality of what living off campus is like.
“It definitely is a nice feeling to know if you wanted, you could meet with someone or a small group of people,” said Kroeckel. “It’s sad to drive by campus often and not be able to actually be on campus — it almost gives a nostalgic feeling.”
Meanwhile, another student shared why she chose to stay in Ewing for the fall.
“I want some semblance of the college experience and like living independently,” said Allison Russell, a junior computer science major who currently resides in Campus Town. “I can’t imagine taking any more college classes in my bedroom at home.”
Before the virus had made itself known to the public, Russell had originally planned to live on campus for the fall semester. However, like the rest of the students at the College, adaptations had to be made when her housing for the fall was revoked.
“I was able to get a Campus Town lease when the Fall Flex plan was originally announced and I’m very grateful I did,” Russell said.
She went on to talk about her positive experience, comparing campus town to a “mini campus” that makes her experience feel less isolating.
Overall, Russell is trying to make the most of the situation just like Citrino and Kroeckel, even if their classes are held remotely through platforms such as zoom.
“I can only get one life and I want to live it to the fullest — even if it’s just a little different than I expected,” Russell said.