The College Freshman Experience: Not the Same for 2020 Grads

Alexandra Fennelly

College is considered to be a monumental moment in your life. Similar to high school, it is a fresh start for you as a person, full of people you don’t know, and the possibilities are endless. Sadly for the Class of 2020, they were robbed of these experiences when they started their freshman year of college, or at least the full extent of them, by Covid. With the coronavirus pandemic still occurring, college is a hot spot for COVID-19 cases to increase because of large groups of young kids in a small area who love to socialize.  Schools are offering online or in-person classes and some are even staying strictly online. One school, in particular, the University of Connecticut, where my sister, Samantha Fennelly, attends doesn’t allow anyone out of the state of Connecticut to attend school on campus this year.

 “Over summer I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be allowed on campus, but I hoped that I would. UCONN isn’t letting anyone out of state stay there so that sucks, but it is the safest bet right now,” said Samantha.

College today is very isolating for many online students. With cameras turned off, watching lessons through Google meet’s and zoom,  staying at home when you know what you are missing out on can be very saddening, according to Samantha. College students are missing out on the experience of a lifetime, they aren’t able to experience a “dorm life” and make new friends. The connection between professors and students has been very different with everything via Zoom. Also, attending classes virtually has really made making friends difficult. “You can’t even see each other face to face or sometimes speak to one another, so communication is also completely cut off,” said Samantha. 

Resentment is an emotion many of the students are having, with this being their first year of college. Some students don’t understand the point of paying  $45,000 to stare at a screen and stay at home for college. 

“I really wanted the ‘normal’ college experience, with going out and meeting new people, but I guess that’s not happening any time soon,” said Samantha.

Students are trying to stay on the hopeful side of things throughout their college experience. There is talk at colleges that with the new vaccine coming out that hopefully next year more students get to board and have that open, face to face interactions that society is lacking. College is a very exciting place to meet new people, and for some, college is the start of a new chapter in life. Hopefully, they will be able to gain this experience back to its fullest degree.