Walking onto campus feels surreal after half a year away. During my last class on campus, my News Writing professor joked about never seeing us in person again. He laughed, as though the Corona Virus would not impact our small class, tucked away in the bottom half of Tichner Hall.
But it did, and it seems like those 5 months were years ago. Wednesday at 4:05 p.m., I stepped foot onto the Auburn University campus for the first time. The parking garage was emptier than school during the final mini semester of summer. It was sunny outside, but you would expect it to be raining with the lack of people. I crossed paths with 4 students on the way to my first class of the semester. They all casually held their masks in their hands but kept a full gap between each other. Five months ago, they would have been brushing arms due to the number of people on campus.
However, it wasn’t until waiting for this class did, I become perplexed with my new surroundings. Tichner is an older building, with tight hallways, lower ceilings, and a constant but steady lull of voices attempting to obey the quiet zone rule. On Wednesday there was no lull. No one sitting on the benches looking out of the building typing on their computer. Not a single person in the bathroom fixing their makeup. In the hallway before my first class, I saw my first person in the building. A girl, who sat approximately 10 feet away, fidgeting with her mask as though it’s foreign to her face. She addressed me once, asking to watch her belongings. When doing so, she raised her hand to lower her mask to speak to me but halted mid-motion and slapped her hand away fast. “I Hate This.” Is all she said before walking away.
After, I thought about my News Writing Professor, who laughed about the virus a couple of months ago and thought, “I bet he does too.”