Should I go back to QU?

I want to go back but I do not want to go back — please send help

Chatwan Mongkol, Associate News Editor

Since the last semester was cut short and transformed into virtual learning, I was forced to fly back home during the COVID-19 outbreak. Five months ago, I was sure that I would go back to Quinnipiac University in the fall because I thought everything would be better. However, as the semester approaches, nothing has assured me that returning would be worthy.

Connor Lawless

There are logical and illogical choices. There are both beneficial and disadvantageous choices. But with this returning to campus situation, I do not know which is which. Some days, I think I should go back while other days I have different thoughts.

Due to the travel restrictions put in place by both Thailand and the United States, I could travel out of my country and enter the U.S. with a student visa as long as there are flights available, and there are. So, should I go back or should I stay home?

I hope everyone could help me weigh these options out.

Expensive academic experience

The main reason I want to go back is that I paid a large amount of money to receive an education from a physical university, not from my laptop screen. 

Only one of my classes is a web-based class while the rest are lectures, which means I would have opportunities to sit in classrooms and physically interact with people. Three of my classes are strategic communications classes, which consist of group projects. It would make my life easier if I could discuss things with my groups in person.

However, as the Q-Flex model is being used, it does not guarantee that I will be able to sit in classrooms every day. There will still be days that I attend classes through my laptop screen, so how does that differ from staying at home and completing this semester virtually?

But at the same time, staying at home means being in a different time zone, which will lead to difficult communication with professors and people on campus, not to mention a possible irregular sleep schedule that will ruin my health from attending classes that are 11 hours behind my time in the middle of the night.

Also, the reason I chose to go to Quinnipiac in the first place was that I wanted to be in a university in the U.S., otherwise, I would just remain at a university in my country. So, staying home also means wasting a semester of a study-abroad experience for me. 

But if I go back, I would not be getting the full university experience anyway, as many things are restricted and it would be risky for my health, so why bother going back?

See? I do not know if I should go back or stay at home.

Unpredictable, vague and doubtful housing policies

As I do not have a home in the U.S., university housing is the place I must rely on.

The plans for the fall semester that the university has released did not provide enough information for international students. I do not know if I could move in early. I do not know if I could stay in the university housing after Thanksgiving break. I do not know if I could remain on campus if it shuts down.

I originally planned to fly back on Aug. 15, and move in early so I could adjust to the time and self-quarantine, but the announcement said that the first day students were allowed to move in was Aug. 24. Later in the month, I emailed Residential Life again about it and they said the university could not house anyone until Aug. 21. However, the university just asked roughly 400 students from high-risk states to move in on the weekend of Aug. 15. I thought no student was allowed before Aug. 21.

Housing policies keep changing. What else will change during the semester? I do not know if I could afford those changes.

Due to travel restrictions in Thailand, I could leave the country, but the process of coming back is not easy. I asked the Residential Life people if I could stay after the Thanksgiving break until the beginning of the spring semester because I wanted to make sure I have a place to stay. They said they did not know.

There is no announcement from the university on what it would do in case of a shutdown. It is possible that the university sends students back.

But what about me? What if I could not go back home? Could I remain on campus? There are many questions I did not ask but the university should have been clearer about its policies, especially for international students.

Should I go back to Quinnipiac with a risk of not being able to go back home for a while and a risk of not having a place to stay if students are forced to leave? I do not know. I cannot go home easily like other students.

Social and physical distancing

With all the rules enforced, the on-campus experience will not be the same. We have to be tested for COVID-19. We have to practice physical distancing. We have to always wear a mask. We have to limit our outside activities. We must not visit friends in their rooms. We have to get involved with clubs virtually. There may be no sporting events. Our lives will be different. 

I believe most people would rather not follow these procedures but for the sake of being able to return, I believe the majority of people are ready to cooperate.

I, as well, do not want to do these, and if I choose to remain home, I do not have to be under those rules as my country has not had new internal COVID-19 cases for months. My life would be easier if I stay as I do not have to get tested regularly, I do not have to wear a mask all the time, I do not have to limit myself from going places and I do not have to be distanced from friends.

However, I think being under those rules is not really a problem for me but my fear of being alone is what hesitates me.

Physical distancing for me also means social distancing. With all those rules in place, I am afraid of the emotional effects I might experience as I tend to get sad when being alone. I am afraid that most parts of the semester would be just me sitting in my room isolated. I am afraid I would no longer feel connected with people because of physical distancing. I am afraid that if I am allowed to stay during the break, I would become sad because I would have to stay alone.

With all that being said, I hope you understand the dilemmas I am facing. My friends in the U.S. told me I should go back while my friends in Thailand told me otherwise.

What do you think? Should I go back to Quinnipiac?