My Freshman College Experience during the 2020 Pandemic!

My Freshman College Experience 2020 

 If I have to write a three page essay about how I am almost about to be evicted from being in housing at Fort Lewis College, then I am going to explain to anyone who reads this my true thoughts and opinions about my confidencial punishments that I have received for breaking COVID policy. I also would like to express that I am not the only person that’s going through this! I have talked to my peers that are attending college’s all across the United States and they have highlighted that college students are losing all their privileges and getting kicked out of school for not following strict COVID policy.

      I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado and went to Fairview High school and even though I grew up already as a local CU buffalo to be, I also wanted to leave Boulder for school so that I could have new experiences and meet new people. possibly of having the chance to play college football. So instead of going to CU, I wanted to go to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. I was a little nervous at first going to the Fort because I didn’t know anyone that was going there and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make any new friends because of COVID. I sat in my room the first days alone wondering if leaving all my friends back home in Boulder was a good idea. 

          But that all changed! Every single freshman Fort Lewis student that was living on campus housing got tested for COVID on their move in day. There were around 1,500 freshman students that got tested. After about a week or two all of the COVID tests came back. Out of the 1,500 tests only 14 people tested positive for COVID and they were put straight into quarantine. I believe it's quite amazing how only 14 people came to the Fort with COVID. Coming from Boulder and knowing all the restrictions that have happened over the past couple of months because of the spikes of COVIDit is still so crazy to think that a couple weeks into school, we had zero active cases on campus at one point! 

After seeing all the tests coming back negative, all the students started to meet each other and started to try and hangout. In my opinion, I thought this was a really cool way to start off the school year. Fort Lewis is a decent sized college with students from everywhere across the US. For the most part, I know that most of my friends at Fort Lewis didn’t know each other. I feel like being in quarantine and not being allowed to be around people changed all our perspectives of life. We, as a class of 2020, seem very social and  open minded nowadays. Which for me, turned out to be an absolute score!

I, Ashton Black, am 100% an extravert. I am a person that likes to talk to anyone and listen to all their life stories and go on adventures and cultivate new experiences. So within the first week at Fort Lewis, I talked to anyone I possibly could! I never really realized how much I need to have constant social interaction! I have learned this when everyone was in quarantine and I was stripped from socializing, which is very essential to me.

 This issue began  with the extravert person I am, talking to a pretty big group of people playing spike ball outside my room. And the next thing I realize is I invited them all to my room which I was completely fine with because I felt really safe with how Fort Lewis had close to none for cases. We were also all freshmen, so we would have known if they had COVID because we all got tested. Even though we were all safe from COVID, we were still breaking covid policy. At Fort Lewis, you are not allowed to hangout with people in their dorm if you don’t live in the same building as that person. 

So yeah! I brought a full squad into my room! And I accidentally whipped open the door thinking it was one of my friends turning out it was one of the RA’s. I thought to myself “I guess I already got caught red handed for having people in my room”. So, I was just going to get them out of my room and I would face the inevitable! But the RA made everyone turn in their sky card so they will all be a part of a report and have a meeting with the residential director for a punishment for breaking “COVID POLICY.” Which I thought everyone was mostly likely to get a warning. But that wasn’t the case! Because of having people in my room, all eighteen of them were punished in some way including therapy, write an essay about it like this, then get put on probation! EIGHTEEN PEOPLE received punishment because of MY doing of not obeying COVID policy! 

So right off the bat, I personally think that was an overbearing rule considering we all were tested as soon as we all got on campus.t’s not like we knew people off campus. We just wanted to meet some of our fellow freshman students. And it’s like how else am I supposed to chill with people at night when it gets cold? I guess the school just wants us to go and meet people off campus so we can all chill there. Well… actually we did! Which honestly I had so much fun meeting people off campus and chilling with them I had an absolute blast! 

I see how Fort Lewis would not have people in the dorms and would generate lower COVID spikes. Sure it’s a great idea. I just don’t think that Fort Lewis understands that like yeah, we don’t want to spread COVID through each dorm. But, in all honesty, Tom Stritikus and the Fort Lewis COVID staff, you all just charged everyone for housing and just made us not really even want to stay in the dorms. Like for me, I am not going into another dorm room on campus ever again! Especially now that I am so close to getting kicked out of that school because of the COVID POLICY. So like me and every other social kid at Fort Lewis felt punished for expressing ourselves  and instead of hanging out in the dorms together we all started to meet really nice and cool people off campus. 

I think that’s what caused the problem! Fort Lewis was scared that they would end up like a CU Boulder hotspot so they spent all of their time trying to perfect social distancing and trying to protect the city locals of Durango by keeping everything locked up! They forgot that if you give too many rules and policies to young adults they tend to break them! You see how I say, ”YOUNG ADULTS.” It’s because we all have a conscience and we are all smart enough to be called an adult. And knowing what's right and what's wrong, especially nowadays with all the media we are on! TRUST ME! WE KNOW IT ALL! But I also add Young in there because we are in college and we are on our own! With no other adult to hold your hand and keep you locked out. 

College is supposed to be where you find your best friends for life and find the one passion that you find interesting in life and going and studying it. It’s not even all the college’s fault, it’s just because COVID is in our lives! I hate having to open an email saying, “I know this is difficult times we are in, HOWEVER.” It’s just so sad to think that now we have to divide college student’s from the local’s. Like the local’s getting upset for the spikes happening in their cities because of college students. But it’s like, what do you expect? We are in a pandemic! So yes, let’s get thousands of now legal adults away from their parents’ authority and let’s put them in one city of their choice so they can go to school there and become adults.I feel as though the colleges took this risk at the expense of the students getting a bad rep because we are just trying to live as adults! It was a good try, but I think yall forgot you're trying to control college students!  

Now you must understand that I am not talking all about Fort Lewis! This is of course a problem all over the country! So many people are dropping out of school because of getting caught with their school’s covid policy and do not find online as “good learning”.Being on campus not being able to hangout with people just makes no sense! Now I know that unless Fort Lewis could make a balance with what is right and wrong with some students for the COVID policy, I don’t think I am going to be going back next semester without having a change. Because I absolutely love Durango, it’s an amazing school, and amazing beautiful campus, but I don’t think I will return until there is a vaccine. 

We must communicate with one another

We need to destroy the enemy 

We all have the same common enemy

COVID-19 is that enemy

College student or city local

Democrat or Republican


Ashton Black

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