Students choose to live on campus, cite financial, familial circumstances

Ikram Mohamed

As Mooov-In day approached, neuroscience freshman Amanda Garcia wondered if she was making the right decision to live on campus.

For some students, returning to campus in the fall meant trying to achieve a sense of normalcy in their college experience. For others like Garcia, staying home wasn’t an option. 

As the oldest sibling, Garcia said learning from her home in the Rio Grande Valley while taking care of her younger brothers would be difficult. 

“If I was at home, I definitely would not have the work ethic that I have now,” Garcia said. 

Unlike Garcia, business freshman Adina Ichilov said she chose to come to campus in hopes of learning how to live independently and to experience some form of campus social life. 

“I've been taking precautions by wearing masks, hanging out with my cohort and my cohort only, and keeping social distances,” Ichilov said. “Those who are following the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and University guidelines should be allowed to go about their business and hang out with who they want to.”

Chemistry freshman Alexia Richardson said learning from her home in Seguin, Texas wasn’t possible. Richardson, a Terry Freshman Scholarship recipient, said the scholarship covers her first eight semesters of tuition and living expenses, and the foundation prefers for her to live on campus.  

Richardson said she was also motivated to come to campus because her Wi-Fi connection in Seguin isn’t strong enough for online classes. 

“I was a little scared to come to campus during the pandemic … but then as time progressed I just kind of grew numb to it,” Richardson said. 

Psychology freshman Ahitza Roque’s tuition is covered by the Texas Advance Commitment program. As part of her set of pre-registered classes, Roque had to take a course that was only offered in person at the time. To fulfill her twelve hours of classes and remain eligible for the scholarship, Roque had to stay in the class. 

“When I found out that I had an in-person class, I had no choice (but to take it),” Roque said. “If (I dropped the class), I would lose my scholarship, therefore I lose my education.”

Roque said she thought she couldn’t drop one class without disrupting the rest of her schedule. Now living in an apartment in West Campus, Roque said she is afraid of contracting COVID-19. 

“My family doesn’t have health insurance,” Roque said. “So coming to Austin, knowing that there are going to be students who have the privilege of getting sick, was obviously a huge fear of mine. I know that they're not thinking of students like me.”