Courtesy of Siddarth Shankar

Although most Yale students returned home for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the fall semester, some off-campus upperclassmen have chosen to return to their luxury apartments for finals for a better study environment.

Juniors and seniors were invited to campus for both the fall and spring semesters. Unlike underclassmen, they had the option of enrolling and having access to campus facilities while staying off campus. On Nov. 21, most students living on campus were required to depart Yale’s dormitories and take finals from their homes. This differs from the normal academic year in which students generally return to campus for finals after Thanksgiving break. 

While many off-campus upperclassmen also chose to return home for the remainder of the fall semester, some chose to return to their apartments for finals, as they were planning on staying in their apartments for the spring semester as well. 

“By coming back to NH [New Haven], I can focus on my work and get done with finals before going back home to spend more time with family,” Claire Calkins ’22 wrote in an email to the News.

Because of the pandemic, most undergraduates were forced to remain home after spring break last semester as cases rose. As a result, the childhood bedrooms of many students became their main study spaces. For some students, home can be a difficult environment to work in due to unique circumstances. Calkins said that it was difficult to complete school work at home because of space and privacy constraints. With her family around, she wanted to make sure that she was being present when she was at home rather than completing school work. 

Both Calkins and her roommate went home for Thanksgiving break before returning to their apartment. Calkins emphasized that they felt that this was possible because they both tested positive for COVID-19 in September, making it possible for them to travel home for Thanksgiving without having to quarantine for two weeks. 

Roommates Matt Murillo ’22 and Haron Adbaru ’22 echoed that sentiment. “I wanted to return because my experience finishing classes at home last spring was difficult,” Adbaru said. After students exited campus in droves last spring, they had to abruptly adjust to the online format of classes from their homes. This gave students an opportunity to see what online learning at home was like. 

Adbaru only went home for a weekend of Thanksgiving break because he wanted to minimize COVID-19 exposure. Murillo, on the other hand, returned to his home in West Haven for the week since it was nearby. Their third roommate also returned to their apartment for finals.

While some students chose to return to campus because of the difficulty of studying at home, others chose to take their finals from home because it was more convenient.

“I was planning on coming home for Thanksgiving since it was 12 weeks of non-stop classes with no breaks and I hadn’t seen my family in awhile,” Siddarth Shankar ’22 wrote in an email to the News. “I thought it would be easier to just stay at home and avoid a transportation hassle! I also get to use my time more efficiently and can spend the time I used to have to cook and clean to study instead.”

Additionally, Shankar explained that he thought campus would feel lonely after break, as most students would have already returned home. Shankar’s roommate also returned home for finals, but they will both live in the same apartment in New Haven for the spring semester. 

The spring semester will begin on Feb. 1 for undergraduates. 

Sanchita Kedia |