Being a College Freshman During a Global Pandemic

Who could have guessed that the high school graduating class of 2020 would have had to stay home during the last few months of school? Or that they would miss out on fundamental high school experiences such as prom, graduation or senior trips? Unfortunately, no one.

As a student who was a part of the 2020 graduating class, I can say that it was incredibly difficult trying to cope with something most kids our age do not have to cope with. It was an entirely new playing field. And even though I was sad about not having a prom or graduation, I was way more concerned with how my first year as a college student was going to go. 

Now that I am here, I can truthfully say that it is not at all what I expected. The first thing that was troubling me was how I was going to find friends on campus. There were no events or club meetings yet, and I had to find a way to put myself out there to meet new people. That’s when I realized that all I had to do was go on my social media accounts. Finding friends became a lot easier once I started talking to other freshmen students online and getting to know so many people without meeting them yet. Eventually, once we became comfortable over text, we started to hang out in person. Yes, the process of meeting new people was a bit delayed, but I feel like we still made it work. And so far I have an amazing group of friends that I love, even though I met most of them through Snapchat.

The next thing is navigating classes. I have absolutely no in-person classes except one every two weeks. Besides that, the rest are asynchronous, meaning I spend most of my time watching lecture videos and reading a ton of articles/textbooks. Although I like being at my own pace, it is hard to learn when you are just reading alone most of the time. For zoom classes, there is some fun aspect of taking advantage of when to turn your camera/mic on and off. Grades are not hard to maintain if you try to stay ahead of the week’s work. Also, the amount of work seems like an excessive amount considering some people are at home and may have other responsibilities. It is as if professors are trying to overcompensate for the lack of in-person teaching. As much as I respect that, it does end up putting a lot on other student’s plates. 

Lastly, it is the fear of being infected with COVID-19. We have to be incredibly careful about where we are going, who we are going with, what we are touching, literally everything. It is almost impossible to do anything on campus without stressing that you can possibly leave there with this illness. Being stuck in your dorm all day is not always fun, but when you have room/suitemates, there is a lot you can do. We have game nights, movie nights and even nights where we order food and just talk. That is pretty much how I spend my free time when I am not doing work. 

But besides the stress of school work, loneliness and fear of catching COVID, I am so grateful to be able to be on campus when so many others can not. I am grateful to be having this very weird and unique experience that other generations will not get. And I am grateful to be able to reflect on these interesting times.