AIC Tackles A “New Normal” During COVID-19

A list of upcoming events in February. For more, see

Mariah Mauke

College life has begun to look very different for students and staff members since the intrusion of the Coronavirus in early 2020. College campuses that were once bustling and bright are now devoid of almost all characteristics that could have described them just over a year ago.

Reduced capacity of residential students and safety restrictions on classes, events, and organizations have left students reeling. Senior students are finishing their degrees without much familiarity of what they’ve come to know and love about college, and many more students are feeling uncertain that they will ever receive a college experience without the burden of a global pandemic.

There is no doubt that after a year of quarantining, mask wearing, and COVID-testing, students are settling into something of a “new normal.” Members of AIC’s campus community shared their opinions on what this new normal looks like for them, and how exactly they’ve been affected by all of the changes that have come along with Coronavirus.

Michael Carlin, a junior Human Biology major and Residence Advisor, commented on his daily routine. “Zoom is kind of my new normal,” Carlin said. “I have three alarms set every morning to wake me up for my Zoom classes. I open up my windows for some sunlight, open up my laptop, and my day starts.”

Carlin touched on the difference in his academic life now compared to before Covid-19 hit. “I didn’t know what Zoom was a year ago. There was so much more motivation when I didn’t have to log on to school. I actually wanted to go to class and be in college. That motivation doesn’t exist over Zoom.”

Samantha Schieppe, a grad student in the Occupational Therapy program here at AIC, shared a similar outlook. “The motivation level is just not there anymore,” Shieppe said. “It’s not good for your mental health to be able to wake up five minutes before class and not get up and ready like you would if we were in person. You can do everything last-minute.” Schieppe added, “That’s my new normal: procrastination.”

Schieppe has noticed that since transitioning online, she emails her professors for clarification more often, which is a frustration shared by other students as well. This increase in the need for explanation can be attributed to student’s lack of motivation and disinterest in online courses.

“I know it’s been hard for students and professors to transition to online learning,” Schieppe commented. She went on to explain how it gets frustrating for the students because in her experience, professors will say to email them with any questions, but since email is currently the main form of communication, they can get overwhelmed with how many students are reaching out for help.

Aside from academic challenges, students are facing social struggles as a result of the restrictions in place. “I know it’s for the best, but it feels like we’re in jail,” Carlin expressed. He discussed how as an RA, these changes make it feel like he’s being kept from doing his job as it was meant to be done.

Students are feeling increasingly isolated, causing them to go against COVID guidelines. Carlin explained how rather than engaging with the residents as much as he’d like to, he finds himself having to write them up.

The office of Student Life is aware of the difficulty students are having with feeling isolated and are constantly working to get them engaged in a safe manner. Alex Cross, AIC’s Associate Dean of Students, described how part of his new normal is supporting his Student Life team in developing new ways to accomplish this.

“It’s a lot of thinking outside of the box,” Cross said. “We have to take what we’ve known and what we now know we can’t do and redesign it in a way that keeps students feeling connected to AIC.” Cross mentioned programs held last semester such as the Glow on the Quad event and Adventure Park, where students were able to participate in socially-distanced activities like swinging, roller skating, and laser tag.

The ability to have larger scale socially-distanced events is currently suspended due to an increase in disregard for COVID guidelines. Cross is hopeful that there will still be plenty of engagement opportunities in the upcoming weeks.

From February 7 – 16, there will be a series of virtual events hosted by Student Life, including a Super Bowl party, self-care sessions, a movie night, psychic readings, and more. Cross encourages students to uphold the COVID policies and keep the Hive healthy in order to bring back the types of engagement events that were held in the fall.

For more information on upcoming events, please visit

Photo by Atoms. Unsplash.