Post-Covid “Singleness”


Evan Ma/Courtesy Photo

View of Parker Hall from Alumni Walk. There are a many singles up for grabs in this dorm.

I found a seat in the Commons on a busy Friday evening. My time slot of housing selection for next year was coming. I was not lucky enough to get a relatively early time, but mine was not that late as well. As a rising junior, I knew I would definitely get a single room. I turned on my laptop and opened the housing webpage. “There is no house left.” My friend said, “Only Adams, Parker, Page, and Rand.” “What?” The air was silent for several seconds.

I never thought about such a situation. In fact, as the majority of people I know were aiming at Chu Hall and Kalperis Hall, there were only two single rooms left at Chu and nothing left at Kalperis before the rising junior’s selection. This is not usual. “More people prefer to live in single rooms this year,” I concluded. 

This is the first post-covid housing selection. Covid, without a doubt, affects our lives significantly. Increasing preference for single rooms is one of the results. People are no longer comfortable sharing their private space with other people as they used to. The dorm, as a private space, is no longer sharable and should only have one person. Here are my two  assumptions:

First, Covid changed the socializing patterns on campus. Bates used to have social events, such as snowball, gala, winter semi-formal, 280 parties, etc. almost every two weeks. Students gathered and created shared memories. However, because of Covid, social events on campus were largely cut and only gradually recovered recently. The change in patterns of social life on campus greatly affects how people make a friend at Bates, which indirectly affects their preference in choosing who they want to live with. 

“Socializing depends largely on one’s personality. However, I do feel a change in the pattern of socialization on campus, in that it has shifted to a more intimate and close-knitted group bonding after the pandemic.” Yun Zhang ’24 said.  

Fewer students prefer to live in suites of 4, 6 or 8 people. Fewer students prefer to have a roommate. The rising seniors, class of 2024, didn’t have a complete in-person freshmen year. Many of them spent their first year on Zoom with the module system. 

Freshman year is supposed to be the time when people gather and know each other. “Find one’s people” is an important lesson in college. However, since the lack of an in-person freshmen year, the class of 2024 directly stepped into intense sophomore. This is a great challenge in social life. “I didn’t really find someone with whom I feel comfortable sharing my secret in my class,” A student from the class of 2024 shared. 

Second, Covid makes people more stressed. This is the result of remote work, zoom classroom, decreasing social events, wearing masks, lockdown, memories of sickness and death, etc. GPA is inflated. Opportunities such as job shadow and internships were paused. Students become more stressed in both their academic and social life. For some of them, living with someone else is another kind of social life that brings stress. They don’t want to face stress after spending a whole day in classes and extracurricular activities. Having a private space becomes extremely important. 

“It’s comforting to know you’ll always have a peaceful place to hide from the stresses of college,” Lena LaPierre ’26 shared. “I really like having my own space in college. A single room gives me the privacy and independence that I don’t have elsewhere on campus. If you live with other people, you can’t pull an all-nighter in your dorm or stay up talking super late to friends or family.” 

These are only my assumptions based on my observations. None of them are supported by any data. As the housing selection for next academic year comes to the end of this week, I wish the students of every class the best. I hope you can all get the place you want. If not, taking the risk and meeting new people will also be a great adventure.

The time never becomes slower or faster. How long it takes to walk from dorms to Commons never changed. However, the six feet of social distance makes us feel far from each other. Is Covid already passed? Covid might already seem like something from yesterday, but the impact of yesterday never goes away.