(SWEETWATER, Texas) – For many students at Texas State Technical College, the adjustment to campus living has taken on an additional aspect with COVID-19 safety measures.

Living in the Sweetwater dorms with the protocols in place is not what students wanted to experience, but they are making the most of what is available.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, students could make their way to the Student Center and enjoy a meal, workout or basketball game. With the gym area closed, students have become more resourceful with their time away from class.

“I was an athlete in high school before an injury in football,” said Tanner Tankersley, of Rotan, who is also a resident assistant in the dorms. “I had put on a little weight, but I knew the Student Center would not be open. It was not a big deal for me because I learned to do other things.”

Tankersley said if he is not in his Automotive Technology classes, he spends time in his room watching videos or television, playing games or doing homework.

He said being isolated is nothing new for him, but he hopes the protocols in place are eventually lifted.

“This is not how I expected my college life to be, but it is not that big of an issue,” he said. “There is another RA that I talk to, and we hang out and observe social distancing. The way we are having to communicate with people is different.”

Fellow RA Ricardo Pacheco, a student in the Electromechanical Technology program, said the housing department has been helpful to students.

“They are doing the best they can to provide all of us with a better college experience,” he said. “It could be worse, but they are allowing us to do some stuff, like get together and visit.”

Pacheco said students living in the dorm are following all safety protocols.

“I have noticed a lot more people around campus wearing masks, even when they are alone,” he said.

The one question Pacheco hears the most is when the gym is going to open.

“Until it does, we all find different ways to work out,” he said. 

Housing director Jose Navarrette said safety is the most important thing he stresses to students.

“Safety is the key for us,” he said. “We want students to know that we have things in place for their safety and the safety of everyone on campus.”

To learn more about the programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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