Perspectives: In Their Own Words

Interview by Pema Baldwin | Photo courtesy of Max Landy.

First-year student Max Landy looks back on how his summer and first weeks of college have been impacted by COVID-19.

“I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Born and raised. I took a gap year and was working in upstate New York when the pandemic started. My family is lucky enough to have a house in upstate New York, so we got out of the city right as everything was blowing up, and then we were up there basically for the past five months until school started. Even going back to New York the couple of times that I did to see friends, it’s totally a different city. Everything about it has really changed. I had a lot of friends in the city at the beginning of the pandemic that didn’t leave their apartments for the first two and a half months, which, in a tiny crowded apartment in Brooklyn, is just crazy.

I was actually renovating a house with my dad. They bought a cabin last year that they want to rent as an Airbnb, so I was interested in gaining the skills to do that. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll just work on it for my gap year.’ Basically just renovated this little cabin from the ground up. I redid everything, so that was pretty cool.

“I was actually in the dorm for about an hour and a half before I got moved.”

I came back to the city — to Brooklyn — a couple of times just to hang out with my friends and stuff — socially distanced, of course. That was kind of my whole summer, honestly. I didn’t really leave. Before COVID I had planned to travel and, you know, do all the fun stuff you would do on a gap year. I didn’t really have it totally set in stone, but I was definitely planning on going to either Australia or Vietnam, spending some time there, just backpacking and going around, and then I was going to go to Europe for a little bit. My grandparents have a timeshare there, so I was gonna spend some time with them, go hiking in the Alps, and do some cool trails. I saved up money for it from working, but that all, obviously, didn’t happen.

But for CC, I was super excited. I wanted to go here for forever. I ED’d a year and a half ago, and it’s the only school I wanted to go to. I was definitely excited to just get here and be part of the culture and the experience. Even if I wasn’t going to be in class, just to be around other people who also wanted to be here so I could get that experience. Obviously, there was some concern with COVID — that I could get quarantined or we could all get sent home within the first week or whatever, and I was somewhat prepared for that, but was still quite disappointed when that became the case (laughs).

It was always in the back of my head that this was a possibility, and then when we were coming out here there were schools like UNC and Notre Dame that were getting 30, 30 plus cases, in the first couple of days. That was pretty concerning, so then I was like, ‘Well, shit. What’s different from there and here? It’s probably gonna be the same thing.’ It was something I wasn’t hoping for, but I wasn’t surprised when it happened.

So, I got there at one last Saturday, loaded all my stuff in, and started getting upstairs. Then about an hour and a half after being there I was told that I had contact tracing with someone who had COVID, and so I was moved down to Sergio. Got in his office, waited for a bit, and then they moved me over here to the visiting faculty housing, so I was actually in the dorm for about an hour and a half before I got moved, then I’ve kinda just been here since then.

All of Loomis has their hour of outdoor time, and everyone in this building does not. I reached out about that, because I can’t do that. That’s gonna make me go crazy, so they’re allowing me to go for a short walk with a campus security guy. That just applies to me. I don’t think that applies to the other three people in this building, but that was definitely not initially on the table. That was after a strongly worded email (laughs).

“…it’s just hard to look at the campus and see everything, see the mountains, see kids on campus walking around, and I’m stuck here, you know.”

I believe the people that got moved all had direct contact with whoever has COVID, and the people that are in Loomis didn’t have direct contact.

After getting here I can still kinda talk to my roommate from my balcony, and then there’s two guys upstairs that I have been able to talk to. I’m meeting some people through Zoom, but socially it’s definitely not been what I expected, you know. Being locked in a room not being able to actually meet people is definitely not part of the experience that I was hoping for, but it’s okay. Making the best of it.

I tried to set a routine for myself so that I had something to do, and we didn’t have any classes or anything last week — just had the Priddy Trip stuff and the NSO stuff — so the rest of the day I was just trying to read, exercise, and play video games (laughs), but it definitely gets old staying in one place, and I’m sure everyone else in Loomis will probably say the same thing.

From my own experience with quarantine, this is disheartening for sure. I don’t know what everyone else feels because they are still out and have some sort of social experience — as much as they can in COVID times — but, yeah, I think a lot of people in Loomis are probably kind of disheartened and maybe a little bit disappointed.

I believe both of my classes [after FYE] are online. I selected both to be online just in case anything happens. That way I have the choice, and I don’t even really feel like I want to do an in-person class with everything going on. It just doesn’t seem worth the risk to be in a classroom for three hours. As much as that sucks, and I would love being in class, it’s fine. We have to adapt, you know?

I’ve been excited about this school for a long time. I mean, I decided I wanted to come here my sophomore year of high school, and I was just always so excited about it. I don’t want to give up this experience. I’ve already been on a gap year for a year and a half. I was ready to start school, so I don’t really want to give up on it yet. Until they shut the school down I’m gonna try to stay here … Unless I get put into another quarantine because I don’t know if I could do another two weeks. Then we’ll see.

I hope going forward that everyone’s responsible and this doesn’t happen to other people. It is such an unpleasant experience. I’m not even sick or anything. I’m cool. I got tested twice and I don’t have it, but just being in here, it definitely takes away from the experience, and it’s just hard to look at the campus and see everything, see the mountains, see kids on campus walking around, and I’m stuck here, you know. Can’t go out and do all those other things that everyone else is doing.”

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