Student free campus: an RA’s perspective

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Bella Pacinelli

The lack of students on campus is a noticeable part of being an RA during the end of fall semester.

Bella Pacinelli, FEATURES EDITOR

As most Ashland University students put campus-life behind them after heading home for Thanksgiving break, there was a group that was not able to do so. 

The resident assistants on campus were required to move back to campus for the rest of the semester. 

In Isaac McCourt’s case, a senior RA for Clayton and the senior apartments, he stayed on campus during Thanksgiving due to being the break RA. 

Having to fulfill ResLife responsibilities until Dec. 18, McCourt and the rest of AU’s RAs are experiencing the campus like never before. 

“There are almost no people so it is odd to be here,” McCourt said. “When I walk between buildings, I don’t see anyone. When I go to convo, there are almost no other students inside. and there are never any lines.” 

Luckily for McCourt, he has built many friendships within the group of RAs this year. He does, however, miss the opportunity to be around friends who are not RAs. 

“As an extrovert, I prefer to have many people around and I miss having all of my other friends on campus,” he said. 

When McCourt is not busy with ResLife responsibilities, he has prioritized school work and learning some new skills. 

“With my majors [management information systems and computer science] and my hobbies, computers are a great way to get stuff done and make progress,” he said. “I am also trying to develop my social media marketing skills in this downtime that I have.” 

It is easy to forget that the reason students were encouraged not to return after Thanksgiving break was to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

In many ways, the RAs are putting their health at risk to maintain their responsibilities. While this may not be a concern for everyone, McCourt admits that he worries about facing those who might be high-risk for COVID-19. 

“I am not specifically worried about my own safety, but I do worry about the possibility that I could get someone else in my life sick,” he said. “I have had to socially distance with everyone in my family since I came back to school for this semester.”

Nevertheless, McCourt prefers being on campus rather than being at home, even with the restrictions that have been set in place. 

McCourt feels that the hardest part about maneuvering this semester as an RA has been not being able to see his residents. 

“They are all in their rooms most of the time,” he said. “This makes it much harder to support them and to build genuine connections.”

All the RAs on Ashland’s campus have had to adjust to the shift in interaction. While it has been challenging, McCourt is looking forward to finishing his duties for the fall semester and bringing his energy back in January.