College students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are using TikTok to vent their frustrations about the campus closing and switching to remote learning after just a week of classes.
UNC-Chapel Hill reported four distinct COVID-19 clusters and a sharp rise in students testing positive within two weeks of students moving into dorms and off-campus housing.
Showing off a newly decorated dorm room is a popular summer TikTok trend, but for this year’s students, it’s been repurposed as an ironic take on COVID-19 closures.
Students are also using TikTok to complain about their classmates‘ parties and failure to social distance.
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was one of the first colleges in the US to reopen with a hybrid plan that would allow students to live in dorms as usual. It quickly turned into a disaster, as the university reported 4 COVID-19 clusters within a week of classes starting, and had to move to remote learning.
Having lived in their freshly decorated dorm rooms for less than two weeks, frustrated UNC-Chapel Hill students expressed their discontent on TikTok, the app that has quickly become a favorite of Gen Z social media users.
Sharing a newly decorated dorm room has been an August and September trend on TikTok since the app exploded in popularity in 2018, transitioning away from a kid-driven lip-syncing platform and attracting a wider audience of teens and undergraduates.
This year, the move-in trend has taken on an ironic tone, as students showcase putting up all of their decor just to take it back down and move out of their dorms. UNC students have racked up hundreds of thousands of likes on the platform in the last week.
Some UNC students posted their dorm room transformations as usual, just to make a video follow-up about how their decor „aged poorly“ given the short-lived dorm reopening.
An elaborate UNC dorm room reveal was followed by a TikTok 12 days later that says „Hey, um, we’re packing up our dorm room because we got sent home.“
A similar dorm room transformation posted by a UNC student got over 80,000 likes when it was published two weeks ago.
But Tuesday, the poster wrote „my college is kicking us out after a week,“ using the „you think you can hurt me?“ TikTok meme format, which has been adopted as a way to share difficult past experiences.
UNC students have other complaints about the campus closure
In addition to the dorm room transformations that are being packed up, some UNC students posted about their classmates‘ refusal to stop partying and adhere to social distance guidelines. One popular TikTok shows the creator’s dorm-mates using a slip-n-slide in the rain.
„We’ve been on campus for 2 weeks and they’re sending us home,“ the video caption says, and the student overlayed circus music on top of the Snapchat footage.
Another TikTok is a compilation of clips of the slip-n-slide, as well as footage from UNC parties, with the caption „great job guys, we made it to national news in less than two weeks.“
One UNC student used their TikTok to express frustration with the university’s housing and meal plan cost, writing that „We have only been on campus for a week & they wait till the day that our bill was due to go home.“
It’s also not just UNC students hopping on the campus closure trend. One TikTok creator at a different college campus wrote „me getting my dorm room all set up as if im not going to be sent home in 3-4 business days because theres literally a pandemic and this isnt safe.“
Another user wrote, „My whole fyp is college kids decorating their dorms during a pandemic […] like pack it up,, oh wait you will in two weeks.“
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