With the closure of in-person classes, limited dining hall hours and the need to practice social distancing, many Michigan State students have a choice to make: should I stay or should I go? State News reporters Karly Graham and SaMya Overall detail their experiences and how they came to a decision.
Why I chose to stay on campus
When I got the email that classes were switching to an all online platform, I knew one thing: I could not go home.
Don't get me wrong. I love my family, it's just really hard to like them sometimes.
Watching my roommate pack up her things and leave was difficult — and so was being told that I would have to work remotely and couldn't spend time with my office buddies. But staying in East Lansing still had more pros than cons.
I really like the freedom I have here. I like that everything I do here is by my own volition. When I'm here, I don't really have to show up to my classes. I still go to all of them (well, now "Zoom" into all of them) with no problems because it is something I am deciding to do.
Things simply aren't as rewarding when you're asked to do them.
I really do like spending time at home. I was counting down the days until spring break so I could go home and have a week off, just to be able to lie on the couch and pet my dog. But that's the problem: home is a break.
Maintaining a good work-life balance is something I don't think I'm able to do from home. I get too easily distracted by my surroundings. Grabbing a cup of coffee when I'm trying to work on something is much more complicated than just walking to the coffee pot and pouring it into a mug.
It's not that I don't want to go home, it's just that I honestly can't. My family has to work from home now and I wouldn't even be able to move from my room to the kitchen for a class because it will be occupied.
Now that coffee shops, libraries and diners are closed, I have no solace. On campus, I am able to make my way to a study room if I want a change of scenery. The same can't be said when I'm at home.
I'm really attached to my life in East Lansing, and I was prepared for it to end in May. I was not ready for it to get cut short by two whole months.
Yes, I will be leaving before April 12 to get a refund, but I am waiting until that very last weekend before saying goodbye to my second home.
In my time here at MSU, I have found a greater sense of responsibility, and with that I found a lot more happiness — I wasn't going to take that away from myself by heading home before I needed to.
Why I chose to return home
When Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. sent the email that suspended in-person classes, I knew I wanted to continue my classes at home.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being on campus. I enjoy the busyness with students rushing to classes and parties. I like hanging out with my friends in a full dining hall where you have to slightly yell to be heard.
But after Stanley’s announcement, that atmosphere was gone.
Some people were able to leave within a few hours of the announcement. The dining halls were practically empty. My friends were already making arrangements to leave.
The usual hustle and bustle of MSU’s campus became a ghost town, and I knew it was time to leave.
It was disappointing, even before virtual classes were extended to the end of the semester. I knew my freshman year of college was essentially over. However, I knew MSU didn’t need me as much as my family needed me during this time.
Classes were canceled at my sister's school, along with all the other K-12 schools in the state, until early April. My parents were stressed as their jobs began to cut hours and lay people off. I needed to be home to help support them, while trying to finish the semester.
I wish I could say it's been easy, but it hasn’t.
My brain went into rest mode because I was home, and I fell behind. Updating students about COVID-19 and how it is affecting MSU while not being there is more difficult than I anticipated. Not to mention, my Wi-Fi at home is absolutely awful, which makes everything 10 times worse.
But there are upsides. I got to catch up with my sister and spend late nights watching "Hell’s Kitchen." I’m slowly getting the hang of online classes. And I'm able to sleep in a little longer before my morning classes — always a win.
I'm happy with my decision to return home. If anything were to happen, I have the resources to support and protect myself and those around me. I just wouldn’t have that on campus.
It’s unfortunate everything ended so suddenly, and I wish I could spend these last three months on campus. But I know I’m where I need to be.