As we prepare for more and more students to return, it might be interesting to hear from the students on campus. Residential staff (RS) will be interviewing students to collect their experiences and advice. This week we hear from a student who asked to go by STM for this interview.
RS: You have a very unique on campus experience. Let’s start with your return and quarantine and move forward from there.
STM: I had been at Northlands a month before I had to leave. I returned in May and quarantined on Dorm 17 for two weeks. That was my dorm before COVID-19. I was the only student on the dorm at that time. During the day I would do school work and sleep. In the evenings I would hang and have long conversations with the RAs that I knew from before. We would eat meals together. I would fall asleep watching TV. The RAs keep changing, just like the students, they move on too. So there were some people completely new to me. Having a few familiar faces, people I had already developed relationships with, made quarantine easier.
RS: What would you recommend to your peers quarantining?
STM: Don’t be afraid to call and talk to people. Interact with the RAs. It wasn’t fun until I started talking with the RAs. Take a chance and talk to a new RA. If you have one bad experience, give it another chance. Every student is wondering how it is going to be. Every student has feelings of anticipation. Just remember, people are people and give it a chance.
RS: I am a new to Job Corps. I started orientation the Monday that the last of the students were leaving campus. It was crazy. I never experienced Northlands before COVID-19. What advice do you have for me?
STM: Be prepared for some crazy days and nights. Some students may be having off days and may want to talk. Be open to talking with the students. Sometimes students only feel comfortable with one person and
STM: I was moved to D22 after quarantine. It was co-ed, mostly guys. It was a little scary, anticipating what it would be like. The first night we had majors. I had never been in this dorm. They were pretty welcoming after getting to know me. 2-3 weeks later we all moved to Dorm 23. That was weird, getting used to a different dorm. I was there for a couple months. New students would come and some would go. I would wonder how things would be with the introduction of new people on dorm. We learned each other’s traits and I clicked with some more than others. After a couple of months, the females went to D25 and the males stayed on D23. Dorm 25 was also new to me, but I knew the students because they were from D17 before.
RS: What was it like to be on the campus during COVID-19? How did it benefit you? What was challenging?
STM: I have a feel for Job Corps that most students will never experience. I lived and talked with people I never would have. It is cool to see inside all the different dorms and walk around the empty campus.
There are not as many social days or avenues. We like our distance, but we also like to interact. There are no rec trips except paintball. People can become bored and boredom leads to fights. People’s nerves are up. COVID makes it hard because we have to wear our masks all the time and social distance. Because of that, some people may be diverted from starting conversations, which might lead to loneliness. I focus on school and hang out with other students outside. You have to make your own fun.
RS: Anything else? Do you have any ideas for graphics to go with this interview?
STM: Any experience changes you. This time gave me experiences to fall back on later in life, so that I may be able to give people better advice in the future. It is so pretty now. You should get some pictures to put with this interview.