By Diana Higgins
‘It will only be two weeks,’ some students thought. ‘Just until we know more about the virus.’
The College was full of hope in March 2020 that the campus would spring back to life relatively quickly. However, after a year and a half of anticipation, students are finally coming back to campus for in-person classes.
Excited, nervous and thrilled is how Lois Berchie, a freshman nursing major, feels about moving onto campus for the first time.
Current sophomores are experiencing their first semester living on campus ??— along with the freshman.
“At least I know I’m not alone going through this college process, so it will be easier to talk about when I run into obstacles on campus,” Berchie said.
This year’s sophomores have the unique challenge of living on campus for the first time among the freshmen class who are just beginning their college experience.
“It’s weird, it’s like I’m a sophomore but I do feel like a freshman in the sense that I’m living away from home for the first time and I’m meeting upperclassmen for the first time,” said Nathaniel Laude, a sophomore music education major.
But the sophomores have a whole year of school already under their belts. Laude feels more mentally prepared and equipped this year than last year because of this. “I do feel less nervous because I’ve gained some of the college experience, so it won’t hit me all at once,” he said.
Gillian Roberts, a junior math and secondary education major, has apprehensions about this semester. “I feel like my ability to focus has declined since I feel burnt out from being online,” she said.
Learning and going to classes is not the only aspect of college that will be shifting. The social parts of the college experience may be nerve-racking for students who have to readjust to campus life. Being a student-athlete, Roberts worries about how sports will be affected.
“I feel worried that any gathering or social event will jeopardize our ability to participate in sports and will shut down our teams,” she said.
Socializing during a pandemic ultimately means having to be cautious. Even though the Covid-19 vaccine has been included as part of the required vaccinations for students, everyone is still required to wear a mask indoors.
“[You] can’t just hit the crowded lib on a Wednesday afternoon or Tdubs whenever you’re hungry,” said Stephanie Shen, a senior communications major. “It’s gonna take a lot more planning and caution and less freedom.”
In spite of the caution many students will be utilizing, Shen points out that others may not follow the guidelines set by the school and the CDC.
“College students are college students, and some of us do some questionable things,” she said. “So I’m sure a few will find a way to do things the ‘old way.’” She listed the ‘old way,’ as basement parties, fraternity parties and formals, which may turn out to be super spreader events.
After the initial two weeks at the start of the pandemic turned into over a hundred more, students will repopulate the campus once again.
Even with the indoor mask mandate still in place, along with other covid protocols, many students are eager to return to a sense of normalcy.
“Honestly, anything to get back in person is worth it,” Roberts said.