Indiana Daily Student

IU freshmen deal with loneliness caused by COVID-19 restrictions

Forest Quadrangle is located in IU-Bloomington's southeast neighborhood.
Forest Quadrangle is located in IU-Bloomington's southeast neighborhood.

It has been two months since IU freshmen moved into their residence halls on campus. This year students have to follow guidelines set by the university to limit the spread of COVID-19.

These guidelines include the requirement of facial coverings in dorm rooms, no outside guests and a limit of four people to a room, according to a previous IDS article. The guidelines initially caused confusion and created a lack of opportunities for students to meet other people.

Freshman Jhanvi Sheth said it has been difficult to meet people outside her residence hall. Luckily, she was able to meet people on her floor and make good friends over the past two months.

“The first few weeks were very lonely especially since I did not have a roommate.” Sheth said. “I think the IU administration did as much as it could possibly do during this difficult time to allow as much social interaction in the safest way possible.”

Sheth said coming to college has been a difficult adjustment due to the lack of in-person interaction, but that is not the fault of IU administration.

“I want there to be more opportunities to meet people and make friends through various possible social distanced activities and interactions,” Sheth said.

Freshman Ava Slowey said moving into the dorms was actually a really smooth process, and the staff members were very helpful in setting things up. 

“Honestly, I haven’t felt that lonely these past two months because my friends live in the same dorm as me. I’m glad that there were a lot of opportunities to meet people outside too—volleyball was so fun!” Slowey said. 

Now that many people have found groups of friends she said it is becoming more difficult to meet new people, though events including playing sports at IU’s open air venues, such as the volleyball and basketball courts, can help with that.

“I think that IU administration is doing their best to keep everyone safe and are smart to enforce rules to limit the spread of COVID,” Slowey said. “However, the limitations on groups made it hard to meet others, especially as the weather gets too cold to be outside in.”

Slowey said she hopes there will be more opportunities to meet people next semester as more students will come to campus. She also said she wishes that there will be more in-person events too.

Freshman Jon Rusche shares a different experience and said living in the dorms is a little less eventful than he hoped it would be. He said it is difficult to make friends, and there are not a lot of opportunities to meet people.

“Most days are pretty quiet as everyone is studying in their rooms or is out studying somewhere,” Rusche said. “It’s definitely more difficult to meet new people and create friendships due to COVID guidelines and the inability for people to gather in large groups without getting written up.”

IU club leaders have tried make up for the lack of in-person opportunities through organizing outdoor activities and events which will continue even through the cold weather.

Rusche said there is a fine line between reasonable caution and unreasonable fear, and that some of IU’s administrators represent the latter.

“As much as IU may have tried to make it easy for students living in the dorms to create relationships they definitely ended up making it more difficult,” Rusche said. “I definitely have felt lonely, and it doesn’t feel great as some days you can go without any in-person human contact, which can be mentally draining.”

Rusche said he hopes the next semester will allow for more socialization among students and more opportunities to meet new people. 

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