"With a pandemic upon us, the vibrant Princeton campus we once had has become eerily desolate. Looking out my dorm window, the utter stillness is only rarely interrupted by a squirrel roaming around, seemingly indifferent to the current situation.
Unable to go home and confined to my dorm in this beautiful spring weather is extremely difficult. While I would have never wanted to leave Princeton campus early, being left behind feels very strange. I was not able to return home to Austria because of flight cancellations and airport closures, and while my family and I would love to be together during this trying time, my parents and I both feel this is the safest option. This choice also allows me to continue with my studies as reliable internet connections are not available at home.
The only real face-to-face interactions I have during the day are short hellos and thank-yous with the dining hall staff, who are working so hard to keep us all well-fed. After picking up food, it's a quick pace back to my room, passing the blossoming trees and other food-goers while, of course, keeping the appropriate social distance.
Back in isolation, there is surprisingly a lot to do. With online classes, video lectures, and virtual campus events, the University is doing everything in its power to simulate a "real" and lively campus community for everyone.
Naturally, this new format will take some time to get used to for both students and faculty. Finding ways to minimize outside distractions during classes and making virtual interactions feel more natural are a challenge. However, knowing that we are all exploring the new Zoom interface together is, in a way, quite reassuring and community building.
Additionally, I am now able to use my free time to be creative, think outside the box, and envision new ideas with the online resources and webinars the Keller Center and other campus centers and departments are offering. I think it is essential to continue to foster entrepreneurial thinking in this tumultuous time. While we are all waiting for everyone to come back on campus in September, there is no need to wait in coming up with the next big idea!"
Stay well Alexis.