First Year’s Reflection on Fall 2020

Kiana White , Contributing Writer

Since my freshman year of high school, I dreamt of becoming a college student. I knew I wanted to experience being a residential student and engage in campus life through events, activities and so much more. Never would I have dreamed that my freshman year of college would entail wearing masks, social distancing and following COVID-19 mandates. Without a doubt, my first year of college was far from normal. Allow me to take a moment to help clarify a freshman’s perspective of starting their new college experience during a pandemic.

Music and sound recording major Deanna Fielding said that if given one word to describe her first-year campus experience it felt “restricted and kind of bland.” Although she acknowledges the blandness of this past semester, she also realized that there were various “high points,” such as campus activities that many organizations on campus implemented.

Furthermore, fire science major Sadara Funches said that being on campus, “although in a pandemic, it was a nice transition to adulthood.”

Both students agreed on the newly established independence granted being first-year students on campus. Like them, independence was one of the several reasons many first-year students decided to reside on campus. From the various hardships the pandemic caused from cutting first-year students’ senior year of high school to Zoom fatigue, many were yearning to get out of the thresholds of their hometowns and/or cities.

Reflecting on the 2020 fall semester, granted that the university did its best to make students’ residential life tangible, there was still a lack of normalcy. The social distancing guidelines and mask mandates made it very hard to meet new friends and to gain a personal relationship with professors. Thus, making it feel isolated, which created more challenges for networking and building personal connections.

Through it all, first-year students like Funches and Fielding, are uncertain of what the rest of the 2021 semester may hold but are excited to be back on campus. Like them, I am excited about what this semester may have in store for both under and upperclassmen. My advice for first-year students is to get involved on campus by joining Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs). Take it from a fellow first-year student, you will not regret it because there is a club for everyone.