As winter comes to a close and spring quarter 2021 begins, Seattle University students are trying to find a balance between going outdoors to enjoy the nice weather while remaining largely isolated from their friends and peers.
Will McCormick, a first-year Computer Science major from Portland, Ore., moved to campus at the beginning of the quarter and is just starting to explore Seattle.
NAH: What comes to mind for you when you think of spring?
WM: The first thing I think of is things blossoming and warmer weather. I actually just went up to the University of Washington (UW) a couple of days ago to see the cherry blossoms, so that was pretty cool.
NAH: I know Portland is in the same region as Seattle, but is spring different here for you than at home?
WM: I’ve noticed that it’s consistently five degrees colder here in Seattle, which is not much, but it’s enough to be noticeable. Seattle is also a lot larger than Portland, so there’s a lot more to do.
NAH: Do you feel better or different than you did during the winter?
WM: I feel a little better, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I just moved to campus, rather than from the changing seasons. I was living at home during the winter, so getting the chance to come and live on campus has been great.
NAH: What are your thoughts about Seattle so far? Have you found any go-to spots or places that you like to explore?
WM: I just moved onto campus two weeks ago. It’s really nice so far. I’ve been enjoying walking around Capitol hill and the Central District. I also really enjoy walking over to Cal Anderson Park or going into downtown and just exploring.
NAH: Has the weather made isolation easier for you on campus?
WM: The fact that it’s warmer makes it a little easier, because you can go outside more. I really enjoy going outside and eating as well. I was actually able to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because they had an extra one. I had some gnarly side effects, but they’re gone now, and since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just one dose, I’m done. It feels nice.
Fourth-year accounting major Hayden Reynoso, reflected on his spring experiences during his past four years in Seattle.
NAH: What are some of your favorite things about spring in Seattle?
HR: It’s not as cloudy as it usually is, so it makes it good to walk around. This year’s been especially nice, because everything is online, so you can just go and have class at a park or in your backyard if you really wanted to.
NAH: What kinds of things do you like to do during the spring in Seattle? Have you developed any spring traditions?
HR: I wouldn’t really say I have any traditions, but I do enjoy going out to get lunch somewhere and then taking it to the park to eat it and do some dog watching.
NAH: Do you have any go-to spots to grab lunch from?
HR: I always go to Cal Andersen. It feels like there’s always so many dogs playing there or just passing through. One of my favorite spots is Yoshino Teriyaki. I’ve actually been going there so much recently that I’ve become a regular and the owner knows me by name, and we just have friendly banter all the time, which I love. It’s nice to have that type of relationship.
NAH: Have the things you do during the spring changed over time since you came to Seattle?
HR: Not too much. I think the only thing is that now I try to go to smaller, locally owned businesses.
NAH: How is COVID-19 changing your spring plans?
HR: Well, I remember last year I had invited some friends to come to Orange County, Calif.—where I’m from, for the spring break, but those plans ended up being canceled at the last-minute due to COVID-19. This year I don’t really have any plans.
NAH: What are you looking forward to most this spring?
HR: I really hope that people will be able to start going to work in an office soon. Going to school from home is fine and it’s doable, but I don’t think I could work from home. An office is really the most ideal for me.
Laine Gutierrez, a second-year creative writing major, who enrolled at Seattle U at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic reflected on her unique experiences as a college student who has only ever experienced online classes.
NAH: So, you started at Seattle U last spring right when the pandemic hit?
LG: Yes, I had actually just lost my job right around that time because of the pandemic and I also just started at Seattle U that quarter as a transfer student.
NAH: So you’ve never had in-person classes at Seattle U then?
LG: No, I haven’t. I’ve been to campus before but not for classes or anything, so I don’t really have any experience being on campus or getting to experience the spring weather and what it’s like there.
NAH: Do you feel better than you did during the winter?
LG: I feel more-or-less the same. I had the opportunity to go back home to Mexico during Winter break, which was really nice and definitely boosted my mood.
NAH: Has the weather made isolating easier for you?
LG: In a way, yes. It’s nice being able to go out and eat with my friends. Now that the vaccine is out, people are slowly becoming able to do more things. Although, personally, I am still very diligent about taking care of myself, wearing a mask and sanitizing.
NAH: What have been your favorite activities to do lately?
LG: I enjoy going to the International District with my roommate and grabbing food. We usually try to go out every week or two, just to take a breather and check-in with each other and make sure we are doing alright.
NAH: Do you have any favorite places in the International District to get food from?
LG: I love getting Korean hotdogs from Chung Chun Rice Dog right next to Uwajimaya.
There’s no doubt that students this year are experiencing spring in Seattle like they never have before. Being remote has caused some setbacks, but it has also given students the opportunity to experience spring in a way that would have been unimaginable prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.