Campus Diaries: “No one wants a Covid outbreak, but students want to let loose a bit because we haven’t in such a long time”

Campus Diaries: “No one wants a Covid outbreak, but students want to let loose a bit because we haven’t in such a long time”

Memoirs from the weirdest university year ever

Photo by Claudine Baltazar

Who: Jalyn Mowry, 18
What: Concurrent teacher education program (English major), first year
Brock University
Hometown: Peterborough

The Campus Diaries

I always planned to go away for school. Even though my hometown, Peterborough, has a university, I wanted to experience something different. Brock is perfect—not too big, not too small—but the main attraction is rowing. I was recruited out of high school; my old coach talked me up, which was nice.

My days start early—I get up around 5:45 a.m. and head to the rowing centre. During the season, which lasts from September to November, we train five or six hours a day; during the off-season, between two and four. When I’m not working out, I’m usually at the library studying with friends from rowing, or in my room attending class. Because of Covid, all my courses are online except one; I was really hoping they’d be in person. I’m shy and find it challenging to connect with professors and peers in virtual lectures. In most of my classes I feel like a number.

Covid has also affected my social life, obviously. Students are keeping their circles tight, which is why parties serve a purpose: they’re one of the only places you can meet new people. My co-ed residence has five floors and more than 200 residents. Even with that many people, making friends is hard because we’re all holed up in our rooms and there aren’t many offline activities. When there are events, you have to sign up, and there are limits on numbers. Honestly, I don’t bother. Between that and the fact that I’m in a single room, my only real contact has been with the girl who shares my bathroom and my don across the hall.

I didn’t party at all in high school and wanted to change that at university. In late October, the university sent out an email asking students not to get too crazy with the parties. I get it. No one wants a Covid outbreak. But students want to let loose a bit because we haven’t in such a long time. On campus, the main hub for partying is a residence called the Village, which is basically a townhouse setup, with a handful of people to a house and a central courtyard. It’s a great spot to throw parties. When school started, fire trucks, police cars and campus security showed up three or four times a week. The students were doing pretty normal stuff, milling around, drinking and listening to music.

Before Omicron, I went to a few parties, usually 30 or 40 people, at houses off campus. Lots of music, drinking, card games, shots, joints, edibles. A first-year friend of mine went to a house party where one guy ended up passed out on the front lawn by 11 p.m. The neighbours called an ambulance. He’s fine now but that kind of behaviour is such a buzzkill, in part because he didn’t think about how the host might get in trouble.

If things get out of control, I leave. I don’t want to be held accountable for something I’m not taking part in. When you’re focused on athletics, there’s not a lot of leeway to be doing stupid things. I would never want to be disciplined or have a negative effect on the team. Doing hard drugs or showing up hungover for practice isn’t worth it.

This story appears in the February 2022 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe for just $24.99 a year, click here.