Freshmen are starting their college careers differently than they expected this year. The first semester back to in-person classes on campus since March has many feeling anything but normal.
Sydney Sommers, a freshman studying humanities, noticed certain aspects of the typical college life are missing.
“I imagined all the typical stuff, classes every day, homework, hanging out with (and) making friends, things like that,” said Sommers. “I didn’t expect it’d be like this.”
However, the socialization and entertainment part of college is different than she had imagined.
“I was looking forward to campus activities and groups, and I haven’t gotten to do any of that yet,” Sommers said. “It’s a bit more boring than I thought it’d be, just because I’m either in my apartment or at the MC doing homework, and that’s about all I do.”
Sariah Burnett, a freshman studying recreation management, felt the lack of socialization as well.
“I wish there was more interaction with the ward as a whole, but other than that, you still have the partiers, the stay–at–home hermits and whatnot,” said Burnett.
Burnett believes it is hard to socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic because other students either don’t take precautions when socializing or they stay in their apartments watching movies.
Sommers added that the socialization which usually occurs attending classes with other students is absent this semester as well.
“I haven’t had much opportunity to meet people because I really only go to classes in person like two to three times a week, and when I do, we’re all super spread out so it’s not like I can really talk to people,” Sommers said.
In-person classes on campus this fall are small, and spaced out. Chairs and desks are physically distanced from one another. Some are even marked off with caution tape to prevent students from sitting too close to one another and possibly spreading COVID-19.
BYU-Idaho Vice President Amy LaBaugh laid out the new changes around campus and in classrooms in a welcome video posted on BYU-I’s Facebook page on Sept. 14.
Sommers has one on-campus class Tuesdays and Thursdays that she attended just once in person since the semester started. Students are assigned different days to attend on-campus in order to avoid too many students in the same classroom.
Likewise, Burnett also experiences this modification to class attendance.
“I have three (classes) in person, but two of them are once a week if you’re lucky,” Burnett said.
According to Burnett, only eight to 15 people are allowed in a classroom at a time. Despite this, she and other freshmen find a silver lining at BYU-I.
“I feel like I’m actually getting something done that’ll help me in my future career (and) business,” Burnett said.
Sommer’s wishes this semester could be like any other, with regular classes and activities. Still, she’s glad to be here.
“It’ll be a fun story to tell in the future when all this is over,” Sommers said.