Broncs abroad and those who remain on campus face the same issue: waiting it out away from home

By Hailey Hensley 

Amidst a semester full of changes, some Broncs’ plans have stayed the same despite Rider’s decision to discontinue in-person instruction on both the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses through the end of the spring semester. 

The university’s announcement stated that some students would be eligible for “limited exceptions,” due largely to those students lacking a stable primary residence outside of university housing. These exceptions would allow them to remain in the residence halls through the end of the spring semester. 

Senior technical theater major Miranda Kelley is one of the students remaining on campus for the duration of the spring semester and shared her experience of living on a mostly-empty campus with The Rider News.

“It’s a bit surreal [being on campus]. There are still people around but it’s strange to have classes online and walk around a deserted campus in between,” Kelley said. 

During this time, students who remain on campus are provided with meals by the university, which are distributed in a way that meets social distancing standards. On-campus students may visit the Mercer Room in Daly Dining Hall at any time during the provided dining hours to pick up all three meals for the day. This service is provided seven days a week between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Along with the students who remain on campus, there are other students who are much further away from Lawrenceville. 

A slew of Rider students elected to study abroad for the spring 2020 semester. One student being sophomore marine science major Stephanie Jessiman. 

Jessiman is currently studying abroad in Queensland, Australia, at the University of the Sunshine Coast. 

Jessiman said that regardless of the global pandemic, she felt she was in a good place to be during these uncertain times.

“It’s not as scary over here as one would think. I’ve been hearing so much about what’s going on around the rest of the planet, and I got so lucky to go to such a wonderful place with incredible healthcare that just has not been affected as much as the rest of the world,” Jessiman said.

Jessiman explained that she felt Rider was being very thorough in its communications and that it helped to put her mind at ease. 

“The university contacted me within the first 2-3 weeks I was here in Australia, and Sara [Young-Singh] the Director of the CIE [Center for International Education] made me feel a lot calmer about the situation than I did before,” she said. “She [Young-Singh] stated that the CIE and her especially are monitoring what is going on around the countries that students have been abroad in, and would call us home if it became too extreme to stay where we were.” 

Jessiman closed her interview by expressing sympathy for students who had study-abroad trips that were greatly shortened, canceled or otherwise unenjoyable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’ve heard a lot of my friends who went to Europe or Asia for their abroad experience and they have been called home at this point. My heart goes out to them wholeheartedly because, for me, I couldn’t imagine leaving such an incredible once in a lifetime experience,” Jessiman said.  

Jessiman made it clear that while her time in Australia had been amazing, she wanted to experience it outside of a time of global panic. 

“I plan to do another semester here to account for all these lost experiences,” she said. “I will most likely be back around December, and by then, this whole pandemic should be just a memory.”

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