Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


On the Homefront

On the Homefront

Photo by Emma Petersen

March 23, 2020

Alexandra Ditoro

Major: Dance and Multimedia Journalism
Year: Senior
Hometown: Alabaster, Alabama

As a senior who is not staying in a dorm, what was your reaction to finding out about the suspension of face-to-face classes?

I can’t stay here [in Chicago]. I can't do it. I'm still paying rent and got my lease extended, so I can keep [my apartment] until the end of September or August. I’ll stay with my family back home [in Alabama] for now. Not indefinitely, once I can move back I will. This is just for my mental health.

I'm nervous about flying, about the airport, about catching something and giving it to my family. My brother has severe asthma, so I'm terrified about getting him sick because I don't think he would fare very well and that scares me. I gotta do it though; I can't live here by myself. Things are changing so rapidly I just have to go home.

How is this going to affect your coursework as a dance major?

It's not at all the same. It's so important to be in person in class. I'm in a ballet technique class, and I'm gonna get the most for my technique in my class by being there and we can't do that. Plus, the dance major is so small that we’re a family. And just to have that taken away from you. And I say all of this being understanding of why Loyola made this decision but that doesn’t mean it's not hard. Our whole ballet class cried on Thursday. There are nine seniors in the dance major. All of a sudden, it's the last time we’ll be doing this. It was just really hard.

[Professors] have been in close communication. My senior capstone course professor is telling us she wants to do Zoom meetings so she can see us and talk to us. They've all been super kind and supportive but in terms of coursework that's something we’re all figuring out.

How do you feel about the postponement of graduation ceremonies?

I’m really sad, but I'm kind of numb to it at this point. Like it’s not the thing I'm sad or worried or angry about anymore. Now, it almost feels trivial. But I want it to happen. But I more so want to be able to celebrate with my family and I know once it's safe to, we will do that so that's comforting.

How do you plan to keep busy and stay sane during quarantine?

The Chicago dance community is great - there's a bunch of people holding free online classes, putting performances online, passing out free videos. I really love coloring so I'm gonna color a lot. I got some embroidery cloths. I’m gonna make bracelets. I play video games and my all-time favorite video game Animal Crossing actually comes out on Friday, so I'll be putting a bunch of hours into that. I plan on taking walks. I feel like I'm not too scared about having things to do but about how long I'm gonna be able to do those things before it becomes a little redundant.

How has this crisis shown you the beauty in humanity?

I feel like everyone is checking in. I have a lot of friends checking in on each other. I was feeling really, really sad on Monday and a friend of mine and I were Facetiming and we had a Facetime dance party. But her WiFi connection was bad so it’s kind of turned into a freeze dance. It's just little things like that, finding ways to be there for people in new ways. And knowing when it's appropriate to laugh at it and not just be sad about it.

Interview by Sydney Owens. Edited and condensed for clarity.