The emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020 can definitely be described as the ultimate college experience destroyer for everyone living at a university. Being stripped of friends, living in the dorm and our entire second semester was one of the most devastating experiences that many of us have ever lived through.
Finding out the news that Fairfield University was opening back up for business in the fall was by far the most exciting news my friends and I had heard in a long time. Although being sent back to Fairfield was a gift from God, the overall college experience and nightlife scene has definitely taken a turn for the worst, making weekend plans both difficult to find and plan. For first-years especially, the idea of being confined to a small group of people, makes the thought of finding new friends daunting and seemingly impossible.
Moving into Koska Hall in the fall, with my best friends as roommates, was the best way possible to start off the first semester. Hanging up our strip lights, putting on a cute outfit and then thinking, “wait where are we gonna hang out?” With all the new COVID regulations in place, the overall worst part was the fear of getting caught by Resident Assistants in a dorm room with too many people. My friends and I heard of numerous people we know of getting caught with a large number of people and getting sent home the first weekend of college.
The one word to describe nightlife at Fairfield is: different. Compared to last year when students would walk in herds to the townhouses, meeting strangers on the way who then became our closest friends, this year has been kept to small friend groups hanging out, scared to turn on music. Not only does it limit meeting new friends and branching out, but friend groups are now forced to leave people out and are constantly in fear of getting written up. As COVID cases on campus have been going down slowly and are now slim to none, the COVID regulations should also be slow going away as well.
Personally, I believe that the new COVID regulations in place are too strict. Of course it is understandable that the University wants to keep students safe and prevent large gatherings, such as the parties at the townhouses and The Point, however not letting a friend group of fifteen people hang out, is overbearing and ridiculous. My friends and I are constantly seeing the same people everyday, and although we love each other, meeting new people is the best part of college. When every weekend consists of the same people in the same couple of rooms it is repetitive and soon becomes boring.
At one point in the first semester, there was a “curfew” of 11:00 p.m. in the dorm rooms. Our two neighbors were over and we were hanging out, when we got a knock on the door. The RA’s said they had heard “guy voices” and they needed to leave. Despite the fact that there were only five people in our room and they lived about two steps across the hall, yet they had to give them their Stag Card information which could affect their status on their sports team, and leave, felt insane.
For the price that students here at Fairfield are paying, students should not have fear of getting kicked out for the rest of the semester if they are caught in too large of a group. Of course, if over thirty people are packed into a dorm room, the RA’s should kick people out, however if it is small enough (around ten to fifteen people), I feel they should be more lenient and understanding that kids in college want to hang out and should be allowed to.
Although I feel as if the COVID regulations are too strict and RA’s can be overbearing there are a few key things to remember when you are interacting with them. Overall, the best way to avoid unnecessary conflict is to have respect for them. Most of the time, RA’s here at Fairfield are extremely nice and understanding. Being an RA is a hard decision because they know that they are going to have to ruin the party. What my friends have learned is to first put on your mask when you open the door (RA’s always appreciate this and it makes the conversation go much more smoothly). The second tip to remember is not to lie. RA’s know that there are a lot of people in your room, so quickly and respectfully listen to their requests and most likely there will not be harsh consequences.
Fairfield University has done a tremendous job at allowing students to return back to school and trying to keep things as normal as possible. However, with that being said, there has been an enormous amount of restrictions placed upon students and nightlife here at Fairfield. While the prevention of very large gatherings is understandable, the University has to understand that students living on campus are paying an astronomical amount of money that should allow them to make their own decisions regarding who and where they hang out at night. Fairfield should allow students more freedom in their nightlife choices, considering they are the reason why Fairfield is such an amazing school because they are the student body.