The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the lives of people around the world and, aside from its negative impacts on our health, has also affected the way students receive higher education by having to adapt to the new virtual learning environment.
A lot of people are not fond of change because it can be nerve-wracking, stressful, and overwhelming. However, for most college freshmen, the transition from high school to university is what they have been waiting for, for years.
Although they’re still able to attend classes online, COVID-19 has been a roadblock in their ability to achieve a college experience. For Thomas Napolitano, a freshman marketing major and baseball player, the pandemic not only stopped him from attending in-person classes but delayed his student-athlete experience as well.
“It took away my fall baseball season and is also endangering my spring season,” Napolitano said. “It even took away on–campus learning and kept me from really getting to know my professors.”
However, Napolitano also stated that he’s had some positivity come out of this experience as well.
“It’s brought me closer to my teammates and I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people since I’m living on campus,” he said.
For students who don’t have the opportunity to live on campus, they have to do what they can to make those same connections online. Since it’s more difficult to meet classmates and friends, many students feel alone and have to figure out how to balance their new schedules.
Ariel Gutierrez, a freshman business major, realized that getting a college education is a personal choice. “You have to be really disciplined and eager to learn,” Gutierrez said. “Especially when trying to keep up with classes electronically because it can get very stressful.”
Freshmen don’t always realize that there are differences between high school and college. Gutierrez was able to notice this and stated, “the biggest and most important difference is that you have to make your own schedule and it’s your responsibility to handle your business.”
Having this new sense of responsibility does not only help students excel in the classroom, but it also opens doors and allows them to succeed in other aspects of their lives.
Knowing this now, freshman communications major and softball player, Alexis Rios, wishes she could give her past self some advice about starting college.
“I wish I could go back and tell myself to keep a planner, create a really in-depth schedule, and make sure I stick to it,” Rios said. “That way, I wouldn’t only stay on top of all the assignments I had, I’d be able to finish them ahead of time.”
Students will take the knowledge they gained this semester into spring 2021 where classes will remain online until further notice.