Behind the Mask: How ‘wheel time’ helps this student roll with constant changes

Tessa Anderson, junior in English education, can be found riding around town on her Razor scooter. (Emma Witter | Collegian Media Group) Photo credit: Emma Witter

Some nights at City Park, it’s possible to catch a glimpse of two glowing wheels spinning down the sidewalk. Upon a closer look, one can see Tessa Anderson, junior in English education, taking laps around the park.

Anderson said high-energy activities are essential for getting herself out of the house.

“My roommates and I go on a lot of walks, we play a lot of ‘Just Dance’ and I also bought a Razor scooter. It’s purple with light-up wheels,” she said.

Community and a conscious effort to stay active have been Anderson’s go-tos to avoid feeling isolated.

“At the very beginning of corona, I was living with no one, and my mental health really suffered,” Anderson said. “Then, I moved in with lots of women, and that has been probably the biggest change, just watching how much community affects my mental health.”

Many students have found that living with roommates helps with feelings of isolation, and Anderson said the solidarity she finds with hers has been comforting.

“We’re all going through similar things, but we’re doing it together, and we’re all able to support each other and check in,” she said. “In the beginning, no one was around, and you had to be really intentional about reaching out to people. Now, I can just walk downstairs and count on people being around.”

Outside of the house, Anderson can be found rolling around town on her way to a coffee shop for a change of scenery. Open, public spaces are a great place to see people outside of roommate relationships, she said.

When she’s not riding her light-up scooter anywhere in particular, Anderson said she likes to meet up with friends.

“We go and have ‘wheel time,’ and that is spectacular,” she said.

Longboards, skateboards, roller skates and more are all welcome, she said.

For students without wheels, Anderson said getting active is still important.

“Find something that allows you to move and have something high-energy, even if it’s just a walk,” she said.