Courtesy of Zoe Hundertmark

Advice for on-campus living on campus during a pandemic


On-campus living has drastically changed this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With new rules and new challenges, there is a learning curve to adjusting to the campus way of life. Here are some tips on how to make it easier.

Keys, Phone, Bag….Mask

The first struggle I encountered was remembering to carry my mask with me always. I would often leave my dorm with my lanyard and Mason card while forgetting my mask. This happened a number of times, resulting in me walking back to my dorm with a frustrated look visible on my maskless face. 

Helpful tips: 

  • Leave your mask right next to your lanyard and next to your door so you’re obligated to pick it up.
  • Set a reminder on your phone until you can remember. 
  • Buy a custom mask — it will be less likely that you forget it if it’s something you like and value.

Zoom Class 101

Virtual classes have also proven to be challenging. The transition from interacting with a professor face-to-face to communicating mostly through email is a process. Remember that communication is key and contacting your professors can clear up any questions you may have. 

Helpful tips: 

  • Read your syllabus and look for a way to contact your professor. You can also message your professor via Blackboard if no contact information is offered.
  • When writing an email or message, make sure to write formally.
  • Allow two to three days for a reply.

(COVID-19) Test Anxiety

Along with an ongoing pandemic, another cause for anxiety is the COVID-19 test. An article in the Fairfax Times showed a problematic partnership with Mason and Kallaco, the company that distributes COVID-19 tests to the Mason community. Some faculty raised concerns over the validity of the test as well as the manner in which the tests were distributed in a letter to the Virginia Department of Health.

Despite these concerns, it is important to get tested, especially if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive. 

Helpful tips: 

  • The Fairfax campus provides resources for COVID-19 testing, but there are other places to get tested. For example, Walgreens offers free testing with an appointment.
  • Continue to follow social distance guidelines and avoid large-group gatherings 
  • If someone that you have come in contact tested positive, take it seriously and get tested 2