As an international student, Mai Le’s experience as a first-year student is quite unique due to COVID-19. Although a lot of people say that she is missing out a lot on first-year experiences, she said she still likes DePauw and her experience on campus. Her quiet dorm and small group of close friends have provided her a smooth transition into university.
Le took three photos that can represent her feelings toward COVID-19: the entrance of Hoover, overlooking the inside of Julian and the way back to her dorm.
Le chose to photograph Hoover because she thought it was interesting to see a student restaurant that is so empty.
Le said, “This year, you’re not allowed to eat there for most of the time. There’s a very specific time frame. It’s usually in the morning before class.” She was only able to stay there for around 10 minutes by using a special receipt to enter the dining room before Hoover kicked everyone out and started cleaning the entire dining room.
The second photo overlooks the inside of Julian. Julian is the place where she spends the most time on campus.
All of her in-person classes are in Julian. Le thinks Julian is a good place to study “because Julian is so empty.”
Le took her third photo when she was on her way back to her Reese Hall. Reese was housing normally for upperclassmen, but this year it is specially opened to first-year students due to COVID-19 policies. She captured this colorful but miserable moment using her cellphone.
The street was wonderfully lined with fall colors but at the same time the rainy weather added a desolate feeling to the image.
“This is my first time in America and the weather here is so different. It's been so cold and miserable recently,” Le said. She added that she is kind of thankful for online classes so she doesn’t need to walk to class in this kind of rainy weather.