By Kyra Ceryanek
Being a college freshman can be a bewildering experience, but being one in the age of a global pandemic is a challenge that could add to the anxiety that the Class of 2024 will face in the fall.
The Class of 2024 has already experienced the effects of the coronavirus as they had graduations canceled and now they face uncertainty about starting college in the midst of the pandemic.
Noah Greif will be an incoming freshman at Boston University (BU) this fall.
“It feels really nice how they’re (staff and students at BU) being so personable and supportive. I like that,” Greif said, adding that he has taken advantage of the video chats that the school has offered to allow freshmen to feel included in the community.
Maliyah Stewart, another incoming freshman who will be attending Bridgewater State University in the fall, said her excitement about entering college has been diminished.
“There’s too many unknowns that it's making me both excited and anxious,” said Stewart.
For both Greif and Stewart there are worries about making sure students follow their schools' guidelines.
“People’s judgment on how to go about their health is a main concern for me,” said Stewart.
Students are also concerned about how coronavirus will affect their stress levels and ability to deal with stress. College might turn out to be more stressful for students whose usual forms of stress relief are not available.
“A big part of mental health is managing not being overburdened by classes and having those key activities that help you unwind, relax, and decompress your brain” Greif said.
If the extracurriculars are taken away from students to minimize the spread of COVID-19, freshmen will have to take on the challenge of college without their usual balance.
In addition, the future of the coronavirus has been on the minds of students even before they’ve even stepped on campus.
“Do I need to find a job in a business that has more financial security?” Greif said he has asked himself. He plans to major in business and journalism.
While some students seem to be questioning their decisions on what to study, others, like Stewart, are still motivated to push forward in their desired career.
Despite the uncertainty and disappointments, some in the Class of 2024 have found some silver linings. Greif said that the Zoom virtual breakout rooms created by BU have given him the opportunity to introduce himself in ways that he wouldn't have if he had a traditional start to freshman year.
“People have been communicating more,” she said, adding that people in her life have been reaching out to her more.
Greif and Stewart agreed that they, like many other graduating high school seniors, have found that staying home because of the coronavirus also gave them the opportunities to slow down and help their families and friends know they care about them.