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Freshman Year 2.0: What Happened to the Class of 2024

I refuse to believe that college will be the best four years of my life. They will be enjoyable and I’ll make unforgettable memories, but there’s no way they’ll be the best. Even before the pandemic began, I believed in this notion.

Fast forward to the present day, all students at Boston University are back on campus, getting tested once a week, and attending classes entirely in-person for the first time in a year-and-a-half. While I was on campus last year as well, I feel like I came back to a new city and a new school. Last year, I seldom took classes in person and was mostly in my dorm for any campus-related activities and events because they were all on Zoom. Sure, I left my dorm to explore the city a bit, but I was always skeptical about going out into larger crowds of people I knew weren’t getting tested every three days like the students on campus — especially by the end of spring semester since I wasn’t able to get vaccinated until I got back home.

Coming back to a bustling campus life with over 33,000 students and over 10,000 faculty and staff, I’m amazed at the sheer size of the school and how much I missed last year as a freshman. Attending Splash (our club fair) earlier this month was the largest crowd I’ve been in since The Before Times, and I was mistaken as a freshman the entire time. It didn’t even matter to me because I still felt like one.

As we reach almost a month into the semester, I realized that going to classes and walking between buildings is supposed to be normal, but it’s still a bit surreal. If you were on campus last year as a freshman, you now have a bit of insight about the location of some buildings and how a college class sort of runs. You’ll find that you only half-know what you’re doing, and you’ll have to figure out the rest on your own. I’ve heard the Class of 2024 being referred to as the “lost class” because of how much we missed for our first year of college and the lack of fanfare from our graduation from high school, which are both amazing accomplishments that should be acknowledged and celebrated. And do I believe that? A little bit. It’s difficult to see the brighter side of things when you are thrown into unprecedented and unpredictable situations without a basic solution to get out.

I don’t want to be negative about it all because there are so many more issues that stemmed out of this pandemic besides the pandemic itself but being a sophomore this year just gives me a bittersweet feeling inside. Bittersweet for what was missed last year but still grateful for the fact that we were able to come back to campus this year, vaccinated but as cautious as we still can be.

To not end this so unhappily, I want to share a few tips for the Class of 2024 (and whoever else needs it) as to how I’ve been adjusting to this seemingly brand-new form of campus life as someone who is supposed to know as a sophomore already.

Tip #1: Plan, plan, plan

A lot of college productivity lists will tell you this, too, but it is for good reason because it’s absolutely true. Planning out your day in your bullet journal, on your google calendar, in a Notion spread, or wherever is one of the easiest things you can do to stay on top of your tasks. And for us sophomores, because sometimes it feels like the class set up is way more difficult now than it was last year, staying ahead of deadlines and keeping track of all the readings or assignments you have to do is crucial.

Tip #2: Join some clubs

Since all campus activities were online last year as well, it was difficult to have the motivation to join if you didn’t get to be a part of anything in person. So now that they’re all back, signing up for a couple of your favorites is a great way to meet people, especially because we didn’t get a normal orientation to meet a mass of people at once. This way you’ll find someone with a common interest too, so double wins there.

Tip #3 Find the perfect study spot

This could apply to anyone, but from the perspective of spending what was supposed to be a great freshman year in your dorm or room at home, finding the perfect study spot elsewhere on campus is key. It’ll be good to just get out of the room and learn more about the different study spaces on campus.

To the Class of 2024: I hope our year is much better than last and we get to experience campus to make memories that make our sophomore year one for the books.

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Madison is studying journalism and international relations at BU. She's from Washington state, loves drinking tea, and watching Marvel movies. Check out her portfolio and blog at https://dontmakelies.com
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.
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