When the pandemic began in March, high school seniors missed out on what is considered by many to be the most eventful and memorable portion of a teenager’s life. Graduation, prom, grad night and many other events were delayed or canceled in the wake of COVID-19 social distancing regulations.
Those seniors are now entering college, where some initially expected the typical “freshman experience” of meeting new friends, joining clubs and simply taking in the vast college campuses that dwarf their high schools.
Things like freshman orientation were moved online. Gone were the campus tours and face-to-face help for services like registering for classes and placement assessments. Student IDs were optional and emailed to those who wanted one. While the services were sufficient, some students noted the uneventful tone that the experience brought.
Despite this, some students are more accepting of the situation.
“Well, personally, I don’t think I’m missing out on anything special,” said Cypress College student Marisol Ramos. “I completely understand the circumstances we are in, and I know my first two years will probably not be as ‘normal’ as everyone else’s.”
Most freshmen lack the privilege their seniors carry of having experienced the campus in person before the shutdown occurred. Many of them have entered the school year with friends and experiences made from prior semesters, while freshmen had to start with little to nothing.
All freshman interviewed noted that they have not participated in Club Rush, conducted via Zoom. Most have not made any new friends.
“I would have been very excited to go on campus and would have really felt like a college student, but due to Corona I don’t exactly feel that way at all,” said Zayna Ahmed of Cypress College.
In the end, the technical changes to orientation and registration were small nuances compared to the overarching effect of the loss of community brought to freshman entering Fullerton College.