Mason Engineering students ready to return safely
August 19, 2020 / by Nanci Hellmich
College is a great place to study, make friends, and grow, several Mason Engineering students say, and they’re eager to return to in-person classes.
They’ll follow the Safe Return to Campus Plan, wear masks and maintain distance to protect their health, as well as their families, friends, and others. They hope other students will do the same.
“I miss the general atmosphere of university life—the day-to-day activities, small details in my surroundings, and the events,” says Tyler Hawley, a mechanical engineering major with a systems engineering minor. “A return to campus will be a return to a degree of normalcy.”
Hawley says he’s aware of Mason’s safe-return policies, including the daily online health check-in. “It will not be a hardship for me to wear a mask as I have worn one plenty of times so far. As the summer cools off into fall, the mask sweating will be less of an issue too,” he says. “Regardless, it will be an odd sight to see on the campus and in classes.”
Bioengineering senior Ruqaia Al-Kohlany is also eager to get back. “I miss my professors and classmates. I miss the gym, and the fun events my clubs would set up. I look forward to returning to the library. It is a perfect studying environment.”
She’s going to be cautious when she’s out and about. “I am confident that I know most of the Safe Return to Campus policies. Wearing a mask will not be a hardship for me, but distancing from other students might be a bit tough.”
She worries that some students won't take the pandemic seriously and won’t follow safety protocols. “The best thing we can do is ensure that all students are aware of the safety protocols."
For senior Dhawal Bhanderi, one of the best parts of returning to campus is getting back into the labs. He works in the Vessel Dynamics Laboratory on a project that involves developing robots.
“At the lab, there are two researchers including myself. I don’t see the other student very often. It’s going to be an adjustment seeing friends while being distant, but it will be fun to catch up with them.”
For many students such as Anna Close, a senior in civil engineering, the best part of returning to campus is for the camaraderie. "I’m looking forward to seeing people I know at a lecture or in a hallway. I want to have chats with friends, even if I'm wearing a mask and sitting outside six feet away from them.”
Safety is a concern, but she is going to be smart about following the guidelines. “I only have one in-person class, and it's a small class, so we will be able to spread out during the lecture.
Close enjoys both online and in-person classes. “I feel that for online classes I have more control over the pace and have more freedom than I did with in-person classes. However, I miss having that social connection that in-person classes provided.”
The students know that it’s key to follow the safety policies to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
Senior Paul Cipparone, who is taking one class on campus, plans to adhere to the Safe Return to Campus Plan, not only for his own health but for the health of his parents, with whom he lives.
“It will not be a hardship for me to wear a mask, as I currently work at a job which requires us to wear masks, so I'm quite used to it,” he says. “I am looking forward to seeing my friends. I have missed getting food with them, working on projects, and yes, even late-night homework sessions.”
Sidney Boakye, a mechanical engineering senior, says he can’t wait to get back to a regular schedule and “somewhat normal learning environment. I've mainly missed all of the different people I meet on campus.”
He will do his part to protect his health and that of others. “I believe that all the departments, societies, facilities, and communities on campus will act in the best health interest of the students they serve,” he says.