Class of 2024: Entering College in the Midst of COVID-19

Wesley Hall has traditionally been the dormitory on campus that houses the most first-years. That fact is one of the few things that remains the same between upperclassmen and first-years, who are starting their college careers amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo by Alyiah Harris).

Transitioning from high school to college is undoubtedly a major adjustment. Students leave the supervision of their caretakers and a rigid high school schedule they have come to know so well. Despite these jarring lifestyle changes, moving to college also brings new opportunities, including new friendships, study nights, on-campus events, and late nights spent with friends. 

However, due to COVID-19, the class of 2024 is facing a different introduction to college. Students are forced to be under many limitations in order to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. Knowing these limitations, first-years have mixed feelings about coming to college during times like these.  

Students on Albion College’s campus expressed how they feel about being new to college life. Students are taking a risk by coming to a community where a virus, that impacts all students’ emotions differently, is present. For some, starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic has created many different fears. Others feel excitement even in the midst of trying times.

Despite the pandemic, being on campus is still something many first-years are excited about. The class of 2024 has never experienced college life for themselves until now, so some have expressed that they don’t notice the changes to campus culture amid new regulations the same way upperclassmen do. 

“It feels different but easier because we haven’t had a year of college experience so this is what we’re used to,” said Reese Culertford, a first-year.

One of those changes is that students are required to take two classes per module unless they are under special circumstances and have to complete a little over two classes. Some first-years expressed that they like being able to come to college at a time where they do not have to experience the full workload of a normal school year.

 “I feel content with only having two classes and even excited about being in college despite everything that’s going on,” said Demetna Pipkin, a first-year from Houston, Texas.  

Students aren’t the only ones with opinions about their education, though. Parents are one of the biggest influences on their kids’ education, and they have had some opinions about whether their students should be on or off-campus.

Mia Harris, a first-year from Chicago, expressed that her mother felt that the best and safest thing to do was to stay home and participate in virtual learning. However, Harris had other plans.

 “I wanted the real college experience,” said Harris. “I just felt like I needed to go. I did not want to stay home.”

Fear of the virus is also a reality that some students do not want to deal with while being on a college campus. In addition, some students have considered not coming back because they feel that there isn’t anything to do on campus. The rules and regulations the college has set in place keep students, faculty and staff safe, but they also limit social opportunities for students.

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