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How The Pandemic Affected My Whole College Experience

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Experiencing a pandemic that would take over the majority of my college career was not in my plans. However, from freshman to senior year, a lot has changed, and the college experience I had in my head was completely different from how it actually went.

It all started in 2019 when I got to UMass. I was living in the dorms, going to frats, and walking to class every day. It was a normal freshman year experience. I ate at the dining halls, and if you had a stuffy nose, you went to class anyway, and no one thought twice about it. That was the case until the second semester when everything shut down. I was confined to my room, and I only saw my family — we couldn’t leave the house. I had to immediately accommodate my learning to Zoom and online exams. I struggled with the adjustment, but I thought that by sophomore year everything would be back to normal. That was not the case.

In sophomore year I had a terrible dorm selection; I was far down on the waiting list and ended up in a random room with someone I didn’t know. I was nervous, but I soon discovered that was not going to happen. All of our classes would once again be online, and we would not be living on campus. I quickly had to find a place to live off-campus. I moved in with three other girls and only knew one, my hometown friend. We were confined to that house, and I was forced to, once again, learn online. My roommates and I had to get used to being in each other’s presence at almost all hours of the day.

Junior year is usually when you would move off-campus had it been a normal experience, but I had already been off-campus for a year, and I wanted to be more prepared this time. My friends and I began looking for a house. However, I would not have met these girls had I not been forced to live off-campus sophomore year, and I couldn’t be more grateful. We got a house together and instantly bonded. We took the bus together to class each day, and things began to feel normal. That is until I broke my leg second semester, and I was back online once again, forced to stay in my room, unable to move. However, due to the pandemic, I had luckily already adjusted.

Now we’re here: senior year. I am in the same house as last year with some of my closest friends. I am back on campus, and it is starting to feel post-pandemic. Being on campus has never made me so happy. Seeing my friends walking around and being in person were things I hadn’t been able to do in over two years. However, it’s been four years. A lot has changed in our lives, and this is an adjustment that will be very different from when I was 18.

This was not what I expected my college experience to be. Sometimes I get upset that almost three years of my college career were spent online, but it makes me feel even more grateful for this final year, and I intend to take every minute I can to enjoy my time here.

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Sydney Dion

U Mass Amherst '23

Communication Disorders Major