Living in the dorms freshman year is an exhilarating, scary, novel experience. You have the opportunity to make new friends, take pride in your Lakeshore or Southeast neighborhood and discover that you’ve never loathed a person more than the one sleeping six feet away from.
As preventative safety efforts to slow the coronavirus will greatly impact residence halls, freshman year will look starkly different this upcoming fall. Not only will this quintessential college experience become tainted, but there may also be constant anxiety over receiving the virus in such tight quarters.
However, I have some good news … for people who may have believed their housing assignment is, well, bad news.
According to my own research, which is based purely on personal experience and anecdotal information, students living in the Lakeshore neighborhood will be more likely to never contract COVID-19.
I lived in Lakeshore my freshman year. I loved it in the way you might love a bad tattoo. At first you’re skeptical and regretful, only to later embrace the character and charm it brings you. Initially, you only embarrassingly reveal it upon request, but you soon want to flaunt it to the world.
I truthfully only felt this way because of stigma.
Who says infinity signs aren’t coming back? Um, rather, who wouldn’t want to live by the beautiful Lake Mendota?
Historically, UW students sneer at the Lakeshore neighborhood. It’s too far or there’s nothing to do or how could you be happy living among the dullest set of human beings you’ve ever encountered in your life?
While all of these may seem like negative attributes to most incoming freshmen, during a pandemic, they’re ideal!
Let’s start with the obvious – Lakeshore is a hike from most spots in Madison. Or at least it was for me because I’m a lazy piece of garbage and a slow walker. Freshman year, I took the bus. A lot. A lot a lot.
It may be harder to take the bus this fall as social distancing calls for lower passenger capacity. It’s likely Lakeshore kids will be forced to walk and/or bike everywhere. This is the safest option for a few reasons.
Because many eateries, activities and late-night excursions thatdefinitelydonottinvolvedrinking are on average a 30-minute walk, Lakeshore kids will have to think twice about whether or not going outside and/or exposing themselves to a potentially deadly and ridiculously spreadable virus is really worth it.
Southeast kids are more likely to engage in risky behavior because of their convenient proximity. The only thing that’s close in Lakeshore is the a) lake and b) the luxurious, state-of-the-art dining halls.
Without these fun extracurriculars, Lakeshore-ers will eventually get stuck in a monotonous (yet safe!) cycle of — waking up, groveling in disgust at the person they met on Facebook in May, going to class, having a Naked Juice and Clif bar for dinner, listening to Frank Ocean alone in their room (so as to pretend they’re the main character in a coming-of-age film) and going to bed.
Honestly? The CDC would be proud.
You’re wondering – of course some Lakeshore kids won’t go out and risk infection, but what about their friends who are a little more ballsy or own a scooter or something?
It’s extremely difficult to make friends in Lakeshore anyway, so it’s unlikely that most freshmen will have a friend group larger than three.
Not to say you can’t make friends in Kronshage or Dejope or what-have-you, but there’s nothing shameful in long, daily conversations with your mom.
With Lakeshore’s knack of creating there’s-no-one-else-so-we-may-as-well-be-friends friend groups, it will be simple for Lakeshore kids to keep their circle small and keep potential exposure to a minimum.
On average, you see less students around when living in Lakeshore. Or maybe it’s that you see the same people more frequently. That one guy that made you watch Mad Men after spending an entire date talking about Mad Men? Ya, you’ll see him at least twice a week.
Lastly, no outsiders are coming to Lakeshore. It’s mega convenient to pop over to Gordon’s or Rheta’s Dining Hall between classes. It’s fun to play basketball or the spikey game with a mini-trampoline outside of Sellery. You know what’s neither fun nor convenient?
Coming to Lakeshore to do literally anything.
Of course, there are plenty of activities to do on the lake — hammocking, strolling, studying, eating, crying — but all of these can be done either completely alone or six feet away from someone!
There’s no need for any first-year to be risking their health doing activities that go beyond these basic human functions. With their can-do attitude, a Lakeshore kid can make anything as fun as it is over in Southeast.
Count your blessings Lakeshore-ers! You’ve been granted a foolproof way to stay healthy during the pandemic! Enjoy the view, wear your masks and try — but not too hard — to make some friends for goodness’ sake.