Southeast Missouri State University student publication

What’s the “College Experience” during COVID-19?

Monday, March 8, 2021
Graphic by Alisha Reisenbichler

A full classroom, hands-on projects and in-person study groups would be a part of the life of many freshmen coming into college, but the pandemic has complicated higher education.

The freshmen of 2020 and 2021 have had a very different experience compared to most other first-time traditional college students, having to go to class via Zoom, wearing masks and social distancing.

These guidelines negatively affected the routine and mood of freshman Chelsea Ryan.

Graphic by Alisha Reisenbichler

“It’s not been bad, but honestly, it’s just been boring,” Ryan said. “All I really do is go to class, come back to the dorm and do homework. It’s certainly not what I expected, at least when I was in high school.”

The precautions for the novel coronavirus have directly impacted many activities freshmen would normally participate in, including SEMO’s sporting events, which now have a much different schedule than before.

For sophomore Carly Williams, the part of the college experience that has been most severely affected is socializing with other students.

“When COVID came around, it was harder to meet with friends or study groups, and there just weren't as many class projects,” Williams said. “It also just made it harder to make new friends.”

For people like freshmen Gavin Webb who consider themselves introverted, it can be even harder to meet new people.

“It’s not good for morale and trying to meet new people with social distancing and the masks; it’s very hard to get to know new people if you’re kind of introverted,” Webb said. “I do hope it goes back to normal, but I don’t really know what that is for college.”

Some people do not consider changes put in place due to the pandemic as negative. Even though some in-person study groups were eliminated or discouraged, people still meet virtually to study. The pandemic allowed sophomore Jessica Tuggle a more flexible work process.

“It definitely helped me manage time to study and get more work done ... also making it easier because of longer deadlines for some classes,” Tuggle said.

College may go back to normal for the Fall 2021 semester; for more information about Southeast’s plan to return to pre-pandemic guidelines in the fall, click here.