Late night conversations, just like binge watching a television show, stay with you long after the last word has been uttered. Two years ago, while sitting cross-legged on the kitchen countertop, I recall having a tete-a-tete with my then-roommate about doing the unconventional: I wanted to switch colleges. While it may appear to be nothing out of the ordinary here, it is very rare to make that kind of decision where I come from. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” she had told me.

COVID-19 has changed what college life looks like for many students. Many colleges, such as the University of New Haven, have regularly released guidelines detailing mask and vaccine requirements, quarantine protocols, and class cancellation procedures. With no end in sight for COVID-19, it is uncertain how long these guidelines and protocols will remain in place. Additionally, a new COVID-19 variant has caused new concerns to arise over states and other universities and colleges removing their mask mandates. These concerns include possibilities the variant could be more contagious, cause worse symptoms, and more easily evade the COVID-19 vaccines. The question then becomes: how has COVID-19, and, by extension, the guidelines that have been enacted, affected undergraduate students at universities across the United States?