As a graduating senior this year has been anything but normal both academically and socially. Navigating college in the time of Covid has brought many new challenges that I had not faced in the years prior during ‘normal’ college life. While I had something to compare it to, college freshmen are experiencing it all for the first time. I sat down with a few freshmen students from my college in an effort to understand from their perspective. Collectively their experiences were similar and emotionally charged with feelings of missing out, feeling unprepared academically, and not getting the full experience.
How do you think our school handled Covid?
With biweekly testing, they said they feel safe knowing that people have recently tested negative, lessening their chances of exposure. They feel a sense of security in the strict policies and are able to easily access data about cases through an online data hub.
Was it harder to form relationships with friends, classmates, and professors?
Unanimously they agreed because classes were mainly remote, in person interaction is not encouraged. Over zoom they didn’t feel inclined to talk to classmates, or form connections. They felt it harder to connect with professors and to participate in online classes. Overall this was a major point of nonfulfillment for the freshman due to less socialization at move in, encouragement to stay close to only roommates, and not venture out as a Covid safety precaution.
Do you feel prepared academically to begin fully in person classes next year?
The freshmen felt as though their work ethic was flawed due to remote learning and are nervous to resume fully in person classes in the fall.
Do you have Covid anxiety or frustration towards other students?
This group of freshmen expressed they have closely followed guidelines. They are frustrated to see students at other schools who are able to go out and have a normal social life during Covid, while they continue to follow guidelines and miss out.
Do you feel you missed out on the true college experience?
Isolation is a common theme among freshman feeling that they were limited to socializing with students in their dorm, even encouraged to do so by the school. Academically they felt a slight disconnect from their courses as there was less interaction, and assignments were done mainly online.
Going into their next academic year the freshmen are unsure what college will look like and are seeing it as somewhat of a second freshman year, in the sense that it will all be new again. They are worried that their work ethic will be compromised but are eager to experience a relatively normal college life.