Students seeking safety, freedom choose to move off campus for spring semester

A backpack with every day supplies.

Since classes began, Nakhia Hall has received regular texts from her mom warning her about  rising COVID-19 cases in on-campus dormitories.

With the number of cases in the UT community rising, some students such as biomedical engineering freshman Hall are concerned for their health and considering moving from the dorms to single-occupancy apartments. Since classes started Aug. 26, a total of 647 positive cases among students have been reported as of Tuesday.

Hall now plans to move out of her dorm in the Honors Quad and into an apartment at the end of the semester.

Hall said although she’s looking forward to living on her own, she’s worried she’ll have difficulty staying connected to campus.

“I still want to be able to make friends and participate in organizations despite not being on campus,” Hall said.

Hall said she hopes she’ll feel safer from the coronavirus living in an apartment without any roommates further away from both West Campus and campus. She said she’s looking forward to not having to worry about being exposed to other students.

“I (do) not trust the students to be responsible and keep everyone safe,” Hall said. “It’s a college environment, and students are going to party and have friends over despite regulations against it.”

Psychology freshman Neerul Gupta decided to move into Carothers Residence Hall in hopes of creating friendships living in an on-campus environment.

Similarly to Hall, Gupta began debating staying on campus when she saw the rise in COVID-19 cases in the UT community. She has started looking into single-occupancy apartments in West Campus but still hasn’t decided if she’ll be moving out of her dorm.

“I still want to be a part of the campus, but that desire still doesn’t overcome my worries,” Gupta said.

Unlike Hall and Gupta, Alexandra Miller, communication and leadership freshman, is moving out of Duren Residence Hall simply because dorm life is not for her. After spending a month living in the residence hall, Miller said she is frustrated by various dorm rules and regulations.

Miller said moving to an off-campus apartment on her own will be cheaper and offer her more freedom than the dorms.

“Living off campus will be a lot better for me because the rules for the apartment will be more lenient,” Miller said. “I want a larger space that I can call my own, where I don’t have to fear being reprimanded for my décor or for having guests over.”

Miller said she’s optimistic she’ll be in her own space by this coming spring.

“I can’t wait to live off campus,” Miller said. “It’s going to be an entirely different experience than what I’m used to. I think it’s the first step in actually becoming an adult.”

Originally published on September 22, 2020 in The Daily Texan
By Alaina Bookman
Illustration by Sylvia Asuncion-Crabb

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