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Living through a Pandemic as a Freshman

Stepping foot on to a brand-new campus in a brand-new city or state can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially so for freshmen this fall. It’s already challenging enough to adjust to the obstacles of a new home, starting college classes and finding friends. On top of this, juggling the restrictions of a pandemic may feel impossible for some. If you’re on Northwestern’s campus this fall, you might feel lonely if you aren’t with your beloved roommate, out-of-place in a different dorm building or homesick watching your friends at state schools having a different experience. As a freshman, I am no stranger to these challenges! I have three tips and tricks that have helped me in my first weeks on campus so far, and maybe they will help you too!


Talk to everyone!

Everyone on campus is desperate for in-person interaction after months of virtual contact. Don’t feel intimidated to go up to people (safely) and strike up a conversation! Find some things you have in common and remember that you can always rely on the pandemic to bring up as a talking point. If you’re on campus and know people in the area, message them on Snapchat or slide into their DMs and make plans to grab a sandwich at Potbelly or send a late-night cookie run to Insomnia.

Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels


Get outside!

With summer ending in Evanston, the weather is perfect for study-dates outside! If you’re sitting in front of a screen for hours a day, get out of your dorm or apartment for a few hours and breathe in the crisp Lakefill air. When it gets too cold, take your homework to a nearby café like Colectivo, Newport, Cupitol or Coffee Lab, and breathe in that fresh air on your walk there. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Join virtual events

Even though it might be hard to want to stay online after a long day of classes, checking out an event or two every so often will teach you something new! If something sounds interesting, give it a go and hop on that Zoom meeting. Remember, it’s always easier to leave a zoom meeting than an in-person one. You might find your thing and even some friends who share similar interests. Though Wildcat Welcome is over, clubs and other activities might still be looking for members so keep an eye out for emails or messages you might’ve missed the first time around. Remember to check Wildcat Connection to stay up-to-date on events going on. Also, a quick search on Facebook for local events is a good way to get involved with your community. 

With these tried and true tips, you will definitely find your place in your new home. Don’t get discouraged during these lonely times and remember that this set-up is only temporary. 



Julia Rutkowski

Northwestern '24

Julia Rutkowski is a freshman at Northwestern University. She is studying Journalism and hoping to minor in Business Institutions. A Florida native, Julia enjoys spending time at the beach and soaking up the sun but is also loving Evanston fall weather. In her free time, she loves traveling, watching Schitt's Creek and working with kids!
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