Covered up: Students adjust to the “new norm” of mask-wearing


Symiah Dorsey/The Lion's Roar

Face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume in the fall. As classes reopen, masks will be required in the classroom and most indoor locations.

In just a few months, masks have redefined the meaning of normalcy in people’s day-to-day lives. 

Face coverings have become a source of new obstacles as well as new opportunities, and this “new norm” will now extend to college life as face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume in the fall. As of June 28, Dean of Students Dr. Gabe Willis announced via mass email that masks will be required in classrooms and most indoor locations. 

Whitney Bourdier, a junior world languages major, believes masking up is a small price for students to pay.

“I think wearing masks is for the best because we have thousands of studentssome coming from New Orleans, some coming from East Baton Rouge,”said Bourdier. “There is no way of knowing who these people have been around or how hygienic they have been. It’s for the best, really. I don’t see a problem with it.”

Cade Vallot, a junior music education major, explained that wearing a mask is not a problem, but remembering to bring one might be.

“I don’t see myself struggling with masks that much, besides the possibility of accidentally leaving my mask at home,” shared Vallot. “I am a very forgetful person.”

Vallot felt secure knowing that everyone will be required to wear masks on campus.

“Socially, I think it will go a long way to alleviate my fear of the current pandemic while in public,” said Vallot. “Overall, I think it will help. I lack shame, so I am alright with not recognizing people in public.”

For junior biological sciences major Leigh Moore, the new social barriers have been a bit more difficult to overcome.

“The most awkward experience I’ve probably had is people not being able to understand me or trying to smile at people, and then realizing I can’t,” shared Moore. “I don’t go out often, so wearing a mask is annoying, but it’s something I am slowly adjusting to.” 

Although mask-wearing has created obstacles, Moore has found ways to make it enjoyable through fashion.

“I prefer homemade masks, and I plan on turning it into a fashion piece by making some cute ones for once school starts up,” said Moore.

Bourdier mentioned how Americans are now experiencing a realm of fashion that was already present in other parts of the world.

“In its own way, it has become an accessory,” said Bourdier. “In some other countries, they’ve been wearing masks as a day-to-day type thing. This is just new to us.”

Fashion businesses have released masks with various designs, and Bourdier shared how she plans to incorporate them into her wardrobe.

“If I can color coordinate my mask with what I have on, that is perfect,” mentioned Bourdier. “I Google cute masks. I have a friend who just got an African print mask for a wedding that she wants to attend.”

Although the “new norm” has impacted fashion, social interactions and day-to-day life, Bourdier assured that it holds a larger significance.

“I would say, in terms of this becoming the new norm, that it’s important to think about the fact that this is a virus and that many people have died from it,” said Bourdier. “It’s understandable to feel frustrated that you can’t live the way you normally do, but this is necessary. This is real, and it is our responsibility to do what we must do to function as a society. It is what it is.”