With less than two weeks left of classes and with finals fast approaching, students living in Ithaca are preparing to pack their bags, arranging storage plans and booking flights on top of a hectic final exam period and COVID travel restrictions.
For about half of Cornell undergraduates, this year will mark the first time they will move out of Ithaca in May, as students scrambled last year to leave campus last March amid the shutdown. While the pandemic still clouds the move-out process with health concerns and flight scheduling, some students said they also worried that this year’s move-out overlaps with finals.
This year, returning students living on campus must leave their dorms by May 26, worrying some students taking exams on the last day of final exams the day before.
Sarahi Rivas ’23, a student flying home to Texas, said the move-out stress she feels stems from financial concerns over the price of plane tickets and storage units, along with the added worry of not having enough time to complete last-minute assignments.
“Timing wise, I feel like I do not have enough time to do all of my work for the end of classes, plus my finals, plus storing and putting everything away,” Rivas said. “I just feel like there’s so much pressure and I wish they would have given us more time to do that.”
Rivas said her concerns about moving out are also health related — she said she thinks she contracted COVID at the end of the fall semester while flying home.
“I think I got it last time I flew [home]. I was testing negative while [at Cornell],” Rivas said. “But I decided to take a COVID test to make sure and I ended up positive, and I don’t know why, but it must have been because of the airplane.”
Like Rivas, other students said they worried about not having enough time to pack all of their belongings in time to make their flights.
“I have a lot of things to pack, and I am still dealing with the storage unit and making sure I get the right size and just dealing with all of the other things that come with moving out,” said Valeria Valencia ’23, who is planning on flying home to California late next week.
Still, Valencia said she is excited to see her family in the coming weeks for the first time since she left home at the beginning of the semester.
“I missed my parents, especially since they live so far away,” Valencia said. “I think this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing them.”
As some students prepare to fly home soon, others who live closer are preparing for a drive home, without the hassle of scheduling flights or looking for storage units.
Dora Donacik ’24 is making an hour drive back home to Binghamton.
“I’m just going to take everything in my dorm room back home,” Donacik said. “We’re most likely just going to clear one side of the garage and put all my stuff in bins in a pile and then I’ll just bring it all back in the fall.”
Salima Ali ’23, who is from New York City, said she’s planning on making the drive to the city with her parents who are meeting her in Ithaca.
“It’s not too far of a drive, so I am planning on having my parents drive up and I’m going to pack up everything in my room and just drive it all back,” Ali said.
But for some students, moving out means moving minutes away — to a different apartment in Ithaca as they prepare to stay in the area this summer.
For Angeliki Cintron ’22, who will be working as a research assistant in an on campus lab this summer, the move-out process feels less stressful compared to years past.
Cintron decided to stay in Ithaca because their lab position was reinstated, which was canceled last year due to COVID. Cintron plans to leave ithaca for two weeks to visit their family, but will return for the rest of the summer and to move into their new apartment.
“We’re starting a new lease at another apartment though at some point this summer, so one of my parents will drive up when that happens to help us move out,” Cintron said.
After a long semester, Ali, like many other students on campus, is now just looking forward to meeting new students next fall and returning to a campus that more closely resembles the one she stepped onto her freshman fall.
“I think that with vaccine rollouts, hopefully they’ll be a lot more in-person interactions, which I really miss,” Ali said.