New year, new quarter

Freshmen return to campus for round two of their college experience

Micah Lim, Staff Reporter

Finn Johanneson’s newly moved into Arnett dorm room.
(Courtesy of Finn Johanneson )

Following the end of quite an eventful year, freshmen at Seattle Pacific University returned to campus to continue their education, hopeful for a safe and productive winter quarter. 

The afternoon of Monday Jan. 4, students arrived to unload their belongings and settle back into their dorms after a six week hiatus.

Finn Johanneson, a communications major in Arnett, said the process was smooth and simple. 

“It was easy. I just drove up here and unloaded my stuff. It wasn’t exciting or anything,” Johanneson said over Zoom.

Without the exhilaration of entering college for the first time, the return from six weeks away from campus may have been anticlimactic, but students still felt the warm feeling of returning to last quarter’s charm. 

Reminiscing about last fall, Emmanuel Musgrove, a biochemistry major living in Ashton, came back to school to reconvene with friends and escape home.

 “I made a lot of good friends [last quarter] and it’s really encouraging to live around others who are also doing school work too,” Musgrove said over Zoom.

For Johanneson, he appreciates the freedom of living away from home.

“You get a bit of the college experience living on campus opposed to staying at home. I like doing my own thing away from my parents” said Johanneson.

Though freedom from family is relieving,  Johanneson states that the supposed liberties of living on campus are dampened by rules regarding COVID-19.

“A con is that you can’t hang out with anyone on your floor or eat with them in the dining hall. There’s a lot of restrictions,” Johanneson said.

Although now you can choose to sit with one other person in the dining hall six feet apart, many students still share frustration in accepting protocols and rules that are in place for safety; the rules are either reluctantly accepted or convince students to choose alternatives.

Sicily Hampton, an apparel design major, decided not to move back this quarter due to her preference of being at home rather than experiencing a watered down version of campus living.

“The reason I’m home right now is because without a roommate or any friends in my building it gets lonely. It’s hard to be alone for so long when you want to be with new people or the friends you’ve made” Hampton said on Zoom. “And we can’t forget money. It’s expensive to be on campus”.

Though Hampton chose to stay home this quarter because of COVID restrictions, the choice to remain on campus wasn’t open for everyone. Preston Robertstad, a business marketing major, was removed from Ashton Hall.

“I was asked to leave campus housing at the end of last quarter for violating a COVID policy,” said Robertstad. “I totally understand the rules and that they need to be followed, but there were inconsistencies in how those rules were enforced. At least at home it’s refreshing to not feel under the microscope of administration.”

Though there is debate on the severity and leniency of campus regulation, one major change has been made to winter quarter’s move-in procedure. From Jan. 5 to 8, SPU administered COVID-19 tests for each student in on-campus housing. 

Jaeda Yamazaki, an exercise science major, flew in from Hawaii and had peace of mind knowing that herself and others around her would be checked for the virus.

“Last quarter was kinda sketch with everyone coming all at once, but this quarter was much better because we could weed out anyone who had COVID,” Yamazaki said over Zoom.

Many students feel at ease knowing that their peers will be held accountable for their health.

“It’s really nice knowing everyone living here has to be tested. I have a buddy at Grand Canyon University and with nothing being done over there, it’s good knowing SPU is keeping us from what could be pretty bad,” said Johanneson.

While Grand Canyon University had 1,375 coronavirus cases last quarter, SPU had 14. Despite grievances with COVID-19 regulations on campus, it worked well enough for students to enter the winter quarter with confidence in the safety of their environment.

The start of their second quarter at SPU brings rousing thoughts to the expectations and hopes at the university. In student’s efforts to make the most of their time on campus, looking to the future seems almost like the resolution of a new year.

“This quarter I want to make new friends, pass my classes, exercise, and do a photography project,” said Musgrove.

Goals will look different for everyone on campus, but hoping for tomorrow and living in the present will keep everyone’s head above water during the time of the pandemic.

“Since I’m a freshman I like not knowing what life would’ve been so I can instead enjoy what I have,” said Yamazaki.