Colleges Opening During COVID:

Expectations for Uncharted Territory

Photo via (“Classroom Without Walls” by Samiul Saeef)

Maddy Scharf

 Colleges and universities across the nation have had to replan their whole strategy for incoming freshmen and returning students coming to campus in the fall due to COVID-19. They are experimenting with different ways of learning, such as online classes and outdoor learning, while trying to maintain a clean campus and social distancing between their students. Seniors that graduated in 2020 have had a much different experience during their final year of high school and their freshman year in college. This is uncharted territory for not only the colleges, but for the class of 2020 as well. 

    As a part of the recent graduating class at Tampa Prep, Yammile Barber is not satisfied with her school’s decision of online learning. 

   “I don’t like online learning; I can’t focus that long staring at a screen, so I would prefer going back to school in person,” Barber said. 

   Barber will be attending the University of Chicago starting September 29th, but since she is coming from a hot spot state like Florida, she must self quarantine in her dorm for two weeks and take a COVID-19 test weekly to ensure her ability to stay on campus. She still plans on joining virtual clubs and groups and is looking forward to meeting new people around school. Besides her disappointment about an online-learning only education for her freshman year, she is still eager to start her life on campus. 

    Similar to Barber, Adeline Austin, another student who was a part of the 2020 graduating class, is disappointed about how her first year in college will not be anything like how she thought. 

   “I always imagined going to college, finally living on my own and being able to start a new chapter in my life with more independence, but instead, I’m being asked to stay home and take all of my classes online,” Austin said. 

   Austin is attending Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, but her first semester of classes are all online, so they asked her to stay home if possible. Rather than being stuck at home for her first year, she took this opportunity to live with her aunt and uncle in Georgia for the semester.     

   “Although I’m super sad about not being able to be on campus to make new friends and have the full college experience, I’m glad I have this opportunity to work for my uncle and make some money away from home,” Austin said. 

   Colleges and universities all over the nation have had to find new ways to teach their students and handle life on campus while having to adapt to the world around them. Although high schools have done their best to give their seniors of 2020 the best send off to college while trying to keep everyone safe, some still feel like they missed out on their senior year and on some of their first college experiences. Austin and Barber represent a majority of the 2020 class who are unhappy with the way their first year of college is going. However, they are good examples of the students that are trying to make the best out of the circumstances that their colleges have created while they do their best to navigate through these crazy times. “I think we are all trying to adapt the best we can through all of this chaos,” Austin said.