How COVID-19 Made My College Experience Even Stranger

Published 2 years ago -

Teresa Prytko, Staff Writer

WORCESTER- Transferring universities amidst the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the strangest experiences of my life. I am a sophomore at Assumption, and I do not know what Charlie’s is. Or is it Chuck’s?

I heard my sisters mention that place a few times, as well many other aspects of the campus experience that they missed since moving back home. They’d go back and forth talking about visiting friends room’s, greeting professor’s around campus, being involved in clubs such as PAWS, and more. The sense of community and connection to everyone on campus was one of the biggest things.

During the beginning of the pandemic, I went to Worcester State University. It has a larger population, especially commuters, so I did not share the feelings that they did. I wondered what I was missing out on, and pondered about it all throughout the summer as I transferred to Assumption.

Late in August was the transfer orientation. It was being conducted entirely over Zoom, but I was excited to meet other transfer students. However, I was almost immediately redirected into a break-out room with an advisor and we planned my schedule, then orientation was over.

Of course, I understand it was difficult due to COVID-19, but I wished there had been an attempt to let transfers meet each other. I ended up being in the same class with a transfer student during the first term, but I never reached out to him, and missed that one opportunity I had.

My first day of classes, I logged into my Zoom meeting and did not recognize any of the faces on the screen with me. My professor talked about Brightspace, which I had never used before. Other words and names were thrown around throughout my other classes, words and names I was unfamiliar with, but everyone else seemed to know what was going on. Maybe it was all in my head though, and I was overthinking it too much.

During the summer, in a measure to stay safer, I made the decision to be remote for both fall terms. I wanted to be on campus, but I also knew that I wouldn’t get the normal experience. It’s hard to make friends when you only see people on Zoom.

The deadline to decide whether or not we would be living on campus during the spring came up too fast for me. Feeling curious about what it is like to live on campus during the pandemic, I decided to reach out to some students who lived there, hoping they could help me make my decision.

Kelly Knutelski, who has only been on campus since the beginning of the second term, has already gotten used to the changes there. “every new guideline or restriction doesn’t really phase me anymore,” she said. “it’s going to be hard to return to the normal ways of living on campus,”

A classmate of mine, Samantha Rhodes, shared some insight on her experience as well, further influencing me. “I feel like I am in prison,” she said. She explained how there is not much to do on campus, and with the limited number of people, it just does not feel the same.

After the stories I heard, I decided to commute.

Hopefully things turn out better in the spring, and I am able to experience more of the college life here at Assumption. At least I want to be able to see classmates and professors in person, go to the library, and even get some food at…well, you know where.

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