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What Freshman Need to Know About This “New Normal” as They Navigate Through the College Experience

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Siena chapter.

Dear Freshman,

It’s no question that this is probably not what you had pictured your first year of college to be like. And that really sucks. It’s a lot harder to meet people and hang out with friends when most of your classes are online, and you can’t even see what people look like beyond their eyes. It’s really weird. But it’s really weird for upperclassman too. It’s a readjustment that all of us have to face, but hopefully this can help you get a better idea of what you should expect.

Masks are the most obvious sense of change. They’re uncomfortable, make it hard to breathe and communicate, and an overall nuisance. And yet, they are probably the most critical in making sure you get to stay on campus and live the college life. Wearing them around your neck doesn’t work. Wearing them underneath your nose doesn’t work. Gators don’t even really work. It may be annoying, but the college experience, even at this limited capacity, is worth fighting for.

Storefront Coronavirus note
Erik Mclean
On the other end of things, I’ve noticed some benefits to this “new normal” on campus that you may not have considered. Using the Get App to pre-order food is actually something that is SUPER helpful. It may have its glitches and quirks at times, but the adjusted meal swipe hours to alleviate traffic is amazing. I no longer find myself starving until 7:15 for Casey’s dinner hours only to wait on a 30-minute line because half of campus was doing the same (and don’t even get me STARTED on the hour-long lines for Piazza nights). Piazza is now offered to-go during the day, all week, instead of just Wednesday through Saturday nights. Saga also has more to-go options, and I’ve actually noticed an improvement in the quality of their food as well. You can basically have whatever dining option you want now whenever you need it, which has made me think that this “new normal” does have some blessings in disguise.

Online classes have made meeting people a little harder, but I don’t think anyone is complaining about being able to never have to leave your bed. If your professor allows, you can just turn your camera off and go to your class quite literally just having rolled out of bed: pjs, bed-head, retainer and all. Not to mention you’re almost never late from running across campus. Attendance polices have looser restrictions due to COVID-19 regulations, where some professors would not have excused a single “skip.” Many lectures are also being recorded, so you never have to worry about what you may have missed. While technical difficulties are unavoidable, at least you know you can’t be scrutinized because you HAVE to be online. In this, I find students have claimed small victories.

drinking a latte while on laptop on bed
Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash

The most tragic loss you probably find yourselves facing is the fact that parties have been banned in order to decrease the risk of spreading the coronavirus. From every movie and tv-show about college we have ever seen, we know that a college party is one of the most critical parts of the college experience. But we have to think about the risks we take by breaking this rule: you’ll get what, maybe one party that may be pretty fun while you’re there, until Public Safety shows up, shuts it down, sends you home and now you have to face your family as to why you wasted the money they paid for your tuition on one stupid party. Not to mention you would be putting yourself and other people at risk. Instead, try hanging out with a few friends, wait out these pandemic regulations, and soon you’ll be able to have all the college fun your hearts desire. And think about it, imagine how EPIC the parties are going to be after going so long without having them. Just saying…


A Junior who really wants to stay on campus

Samantha Fazio is a Siena College Class of 2022 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.