OPINION: Don’t judge students coming back to Pullman

Students who are still in Pullman might not be there for the reasons you think

Students+who+stayed+in+Pullman+are+not+still+there+to+have+the+standard+college+experience.+They+stayed+because+of+money+and+jobs.

LAUREN PETTIT

Students who stayed in Pullman are not still there to have the standard college experience. They stayed because of money and jobs.

DANIELLE DENNEHY

Across the board, it is just a Coug thing to consider Pullman home. We post pictures throughout every break reminiscing on the times we miss on the Palouse. Always finding our way back home has never been as difficult as it is right now. While the university remained open, it advised students to only return if necessary. 

Most of our peers have remained at their permanent addresses, in family homes isolating around the country. For some however, the need to come back to Pullman was extremely real for many different reasons. Having the luxury of a permanent address that is both home and a positive place is something that a lot of people take for granted. 

On-campus employees faced the interesting dilemma of whether they would still be employed in Pullman. For some this is their only source of income, and they depend on it for funding their tuition or any of their finances. Their jobs were not guaranteed even if they did come back, but for many it was their best chance at maintaining an income in the current economic downturn. 

Alexandra MacCord was working two jobs before spring break, needing both to finance her academic and Greek careers. Her original plan for the weeks following our time off was to work around 30-40 hours a week between both Call-a-Coug and Southside Cafe. Coming back to campus was almost a non-decision as she had limited options otherwise. 

“School and life just go hand in hand when you’re on campus in a way that home could never do,” MacCord said. “The focus I need to remain academically driven is something that the campus just helps, as well as staying at home being quite difficult and stressful.”

She is one of many students who consider Pullman to be their ‘real’ home. Though she is only a freshman, the things she is feeling about needing to be here resonate across the classes. For me, that is also why I came back. The need to be in Pullman seems almost apparent to me when I think about taking six online classes, basically all on my own. 

“I had to come back for my internship, but I really appreciate being here. Being able to at least take grad photos, walk around campus, and really take in my last few weeks at the place I’ve loved getting to call home for the past four years,” said Paige Thompson, a kinesiology and sports science major. 

For seniors, the rapid end to one of the most important times in their lives has left a lot of them feeling crushed. Thompson is one of the lucky ones who had to be here and because of that she has gotten to enjoy some of the little things a lot of students are missing. For many of us who are back in Pullman right now, it was not as much of a choice as you might think it was. 

Whether it was a job or a lease holding them to the Palouse, the ones of who are here will openly tell you it’s not the same. Being here is an interesting perspective to have on social distancing. There are handfuls of friends clustered around the town, all separately together, and shockingly enough many are obeying their parent’s instructions and avoiding large gatherings. 

I think that if all of us could still be here we would, but if we all were here it would be nearly impossible to do the things, we all must do. None of this is a personal attack on our college careers — though for some it may feel that way — and it is important to recognize the good we are all doing for our community by staying apart. Cougs help Cougs and in order to help each other we need to stay home. But if it’s any consolation, Pullman misses all of you as much as you miss it.