HerCampus would like to extend a warm welcome to all new students arriving onto campus – or making a virtual appearance- to West Chester University this fall! I know this semester is bound to be unlike any other I, personally, have witnessed. It is difficult to imagine having to think about your degree when everywhere your gaze falls there is something new demanding your attention, on social media platforms and news outlets alike. Combined with the confusion of in-person vs virtual learning platforms. If this is your freshman year let me be the first to say, Congratulations! Life is about to get very exciting; you will meet so many new people and get the opportunity to learn more about your studies and yourself within your college career. If any generation can handle online education with ease and a snap of snarky humor, we all know it’s Gen Z.
Allow me to lead with this bit of wisdom: you can only do the best you can with what you have on that day, and then you do it again the next day. There is no sugar-coating it, this year has been one of the hardest collectively and it is important to recognize when your shoulders need a break from all the pressure you have been unintentionally placing on them. Breathe- and try to understand that even if your college experience isn’t what you had envisioned, it will be unique to you and your friends and leave you with some interesting stories for years to come. You are not going through this alone so, you may as well do your best to ‘roll with the punches’ so to speak, earning valuable experience along the way! Perhaps you could experiment with reaching out to at least one new person every week in your zoom classes. Just because your classes are online does not mean that you can’t make friends! Make a point to build study groups and have nights for Netflix parties and COVID safe hangouts. It is imperative we all keep each other safe and abide by CDC social distancing guidelines, that being said, there is a new open air market on Gay street in West Chester where you and your new friends can snag some homemade gelato at D’Ascenzo’s and follow up with coffee from an array of cafes in town- my all time personal favorite is Dia Doce. They serve gourmet cupcakes and delicious coffee to soothe your study sessions with renowned ease.
In all the commotion it can be easy for your inner romantic eye to be clouded, but try to remember fall is coming right along with the new semester! We all know that means getting to justify buying Triple XL cozy hoodies, paired with fuzzy socks, a chill playlist, and the soft embrace of a cool breeze. If you have been a student at West Chester, as I have, you know that campus and town alike are especially breathtaking in the fall months. I hope you get the chance to enjoy the gentle change of the seasons as safely as you can with your close friends, despite the encroaching pandemic. Even if you won’t be able to experience the beloved ice cream machine in the dining hall, or the quesadillas from the diner, and late nights on the top floors of the Francis Harvey Green Library- just know that those aren’t the most memorable aspects of any college experience. Truly, it is all about the people you get to meet and the learning to be the person you always envisioned you could be. Those are facets of the college experience that will never be shaken by a pandemic or a faulty Wi-Fi connection. Welcome class of 2024!!