Students stay on campus over break

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Walking across campus without a person in sight. The parking lots are empty. Not a student or a professor; it seems the only ones to talk with are the geese when 6,100 students and 250 faculty and staff members are away for the holidays.

Campus is almost empty during break.

Campus and Mustang Walk were almost empty during Thanksgiving break.


Accounting junior Kenneisha Spanish stayed on campus over break because she is from the Caribbean Islands and can’t go home for a three-day break. Spanish said being on campus while everyone is gone is not all bad.

“I like that everyone was gone. It was like a little private hotel,” Spanish said. “You could make as much noise as you wanted or it was quiet because nobody was making noise. Had the bathrooms to yourself.”

During break, there were two on-call resident assistants available if residents locked themselves out or needed any help.

Radiology sophomore and Resident Assistant Tomeya Mckinney said, “As break RAs, we’re weren’t allowed to leave campus because we were required to have a five-minute response time if anyone called.”

While most students who stayed on campus are international, others stayed for various reason.

Sheria Cole, exercise physiology senior is from Wichita Falls but lives on campus.

“I live in town so there was no point in leaving my apartment when I was so close,” Cole said.

Students who worked on Thanksgiving or that weekend, couldn’t go out of town

“I had to work, so there was no point in going anywhere farther just to turn around and come right back,” Cole said.

With everyone gone, there wasn’t any competition for facilities that are ordinarily shared commodities.

Radiology sophomore Heather Armbrister, said, “It was nice having the washing machines to ourselves. Nobody was there to have to share with.”  

Those who had cars had a much easier time finding parking than during the semester.

“I loved parking. I could park where I wanted and never had to park in the back. It was amazing. You could pretty much park anywhere you wanted,” Cole said.

The environment was also different without anyone to upset by being loud.

“With nobody being there, we could make as much noise as we wanted,” Spanish said. “Quiet hours just didn’t exist. The freedom was nice, I had my TV up really loud”

Students also took advantage of the quiet to rest up from a long semester of school.

“I mainly relaxed over break. I usually don’t slow down. It was really nice to not do anything. I watched TV and ate pizza,” Cole said. “It was a lot more chill, no high anxiety. It was just relaxing and calming environment. You never really even saw the campus police.”

Sheria Cole relaxes and watches TV during break.

Sheria Cole relaxes and watches TV during Thanksgiving break.

While classes are out, students who stayed on campus found ways to keep themselves busy.

“I slept and watched a lot of movies. Some of us played monopoly too,” Spanish said. “The gym was open over break for something to do.”

Most of the buildings on campus, including the student center, were closed during break. This requires that students staying on campus to find other things to do.

“The student center was closed and the computer lab and game room are in there, so you don’t really have anywhere to go except the dorm building and just hanging around there,” Spanish said

The student center being closed left students to plan ahead for their meals as well.

Armbrister said, “The only time we stayed in our dorms were to cook meals. We went to Walmart before break to get food to cook because the cafeteria isn’t open.”

The dining hall being closed was difficult for a lot of international students who don’t have cars to go to the store or out to eat.

“One of the main inconveniences was the closing of the dining hall. I know a number of my residents that were international questioned why they closed it,” said Mckinney

Because the majority of the students who stay on campus are from other countries, the facilities not offered during break creates difficulties for the students without transportation.

“The bus isn’t running and a lot of us are international so we don’t have any cars or anything here. We have no way of getting around other than walking or an Uber or Lyft service which are expensive,” Spanish said.

If students did venture off campus, even finding cash was a challenge.

“The only ATM is in the student center, and it was not available to us, so we had to hope we have cash,” Spanish said.

The ATM was closed before classes ended on Tuesday.

“The ATM closed earlier than we expected. I went at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday and it was already down. The ATM was closed before Chick-Fil-A and Burrito Bowl were even closed,” Spanish said

Students who didn’t have money for transportation were left to walk if they needed to leave campus, despite cool, winter weather. The high temperature on Nov. 21 was 39 degrees.

Spanish said, “I’m from the Caribbean so I’m not used to the cold. Luckily it wasn’t super cold so it wasn’t too bad, but it was pretty chilly.”

The cold weather wasn’t enough to keep students from having fun over their break.

“We can only do things that are close to the school, go to the mall, go to the movies,” Armbrister said. “Some days it was cold and we had to walk if we wanted to go anywhere. It wasn’t cold enough to prevent us from going where we were going though. We were determined.”

Having friends and making new friends was a great opportunity for the 150 students who stayed on campus.

“You should plan ahead and find out who’s going to be there so you can split costs and even if you do get an Uber, you’re not covering the cost by yourself,” Spanish said. “Someone can pay on the way there, another on the way back. It’s also good having someone to walk with because walking by yourself can be scary.”

Despite the difficulties, international students have over break, Spanish said it’s up to the individual to make something of it.

“It is what you make it. If you don’t make it fun, it won’t be,” Spanish said.

2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Facility Hours

2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Facility Hours

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