Within two days of the announcement that Miami would be returning to in-person classes, every single one of first-year Adeline Hatfield’s classes moved permanently online.
A few days later, she was notified that she would no longer get to live with her roommate and was being moved to a single room.
“It was a lot to find out that we were going back, and then all my classes got moved online, and then I got put into a single — it was kind of like whiplash,” Hatfield said. “And I was left feeling really unsure about what to do in terms of coming to campus this fall.”
Hatfield was facing the same dilemma as hundreds of other underclassmen when it came time to decide whether or not she wanted to move back to campus. For Hatfield, the cost of moving in only to take online classes was a big factor.
At the point that all of her classes moved online, Hatfield said, her bill was already paid. She had also already taken out loans that she couldn’t get back. Ultimately, she decided to move to campus.
So, does she regret it?
“I figured, I’m already in debt, [so] I might as well come and try to make the most of the semester, even if it’s not what I pictured,” Hatfield said.
Hatfield didn’t want to miss out on her opportunity to have a chance at a normal college experience, although making friends while sitting at her computer all day has proved to be a little difficult. She’s tried to make the most of the situation, though, and has had a few chances to go to socially-distanced study sessions with some of her classmates.
“I’m glad I came to campus, because there’s just that element of meeting new people and being part of the Miami community, even with all of these restrictions, that I just don’t think I would get at home,” Hatfield said.
First-year Lauren Bedell faced many of the same decisions as Hatfield. All of her classes are online except a biology lab, which she goes to only once a week. Her roommate decided to stay remote for the whole semester, so she’s currently in a double room by herself.
She attends all of her classes from her dorm room but tries to get out at least once a day. She explores the campus, tries new restaurants and sits in Armstrong to do homework.
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While Bedell also eventually decided to move in, she waited until the October move-in date because she needed more time to decide what she wanted to do. She was also still on crutches after breaking her foot in August and wanted to give it more time to heal, which cemented her decision to wait a little longer.
Like Hatfield, a main factor in her decision to move in was the fear of missing out on the typical college experience.
“I had seen people posting on Instagram or Snapchat who were already on campus, and I was jealous, like ‘I want to go to college,’” Bedell said. “Like, I am technically in college but not at college … I didn’t want to miss out, and it looked like they were having fun even during quarantine.”
She also stopped to consider what could happen if spring semester got moved online. If she stayed online this semester, it could mean that her entire first year was remote, which she didn’t want.
“I just wanted to at least get to campus at some point this year, so I figured [I] might as well come now,” Bedell said. “And I haven’t regretted that decision.”
Although neither of the girls regret their decision to move in and have a shot at a normal college experience, it still hasn’t turned out to be quite like they had hoped.
“When I was at home, I think online classes felt kind of temporary, like I was looking forward to doing something new,” Hatfield said. “But then getting here and sitting in front of my computer all day has definitely been a little bit of a weird experience.”