Life in a Room: the Covid Campus Experience

 Bryn Mawr College decided to open its doors for students to return for the fall semester of 2020, despite the global pandemic. There was a set of conditions for student to follow, were they to return: there were to be no outside guests, no leaving campus, no leaving the room unmasked etc. The dining halls were take-out only, and most classes were held remotely. Students were only allowed to be unmasked in their rooms, and have one guest over at a time.

I was a senior, and wanted to spend my last year on campus, despite the restrictions. I formed a hall group with my two close friends, Aine and Tamar. I lived in a suite with Tamar and next door to Aine. None of us had ever lived with roommates before, and that brought on a closeness, however riddled with challenges, that was a comforting safety net for all of us in those isolating, challenging times.

This series focuses on the physical space of our dorm room because so much our lives were lived in the confines of that room, due to the restrictions. As a result, the room was a site that altered depending on time and mood. In one room, we ate, drank, did online classes, worked on our theses, created special roommate rituals, and even managed to make a new friendship. Any leaving of the room was temporary, and predicated on preparation within the room by taking temperatures and masking.

I shot most of the images in this collection on a digital camera; at first, in order to remember this semester and practice my photography, but after committing to this project in mid-November, I began purposefully documenting. I also thought it important to include the perspectives of my two other roommates, who have taken photos on their iPhones for their own memories, or to send to family and friends. Ultimately, I edited and curated the selection of images seen here. Most are true to life, while some I edited with Adobe Photoshop to exaggerate reality.

a visual diary curated and photographed by Rachel Grand