By Amethyst Martinez
Last year, college freshmen made their way onto campus or Zoom without knowing what to expect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the same freshmen are sophomores hoping for a better year due to the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on Rider’s campus.
Sophomore psychology major Jenna Rosa stayed home last year due to the pandemic. Rosa said, “My first year was uneventful due to being home both semesters, but I certainly made the most of it. I wanted to play it safe and do my freshman year online since the vaccine wasn’t eligible at that time.”
Many students stayed home last year and only participated in synchronous and asynchronous classes, the freshmen at that time never even having attended a college class in person before. This was after many of their high school senior plans were canceled due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Rosa said, “I feel as though the hundreds of other students who did virtual classes, along with me, missed out on that freshman experience.”
Sophomore global studies major Kay Mcintyre stayed on campus last year despite the pandemic in hopes of creating a more realistic college experience. When speaking about her residence hall, Mcintyre said, “The first floor was actually really quiet. There were some students dorming, but most of us were staying in our rooms doing classes on Zoom all the time.”
With many of the classes synchronous last year, it was certain that all college students’ experiences were affected, especially freshmen at Rider. It became difficult to meet new people on campus due to the strict COVID restrictions and the fact that most classes were held over Zoom.
Rosa said, “Finally being able to talk to my peers in person and not in a breakout room on Zoom will be a great change.”
When asked if she thought it’d be easier to meet people on campus due to Rider going back to in-person classes and dorming, Mcintyre said, “Most definitely.”
Meeting people will become much easier due to the increase of students being on campus, an experience sophomores have yet to encounter.
Rosa said, “I am so looking forward to being able to socialize with people normally again.”
Many students at Rider are excited to start in-person classes again, but especially those who missed out on the experience of being in a college classroom altogether.
Rosa said, “I believe my college experience will be improved by being on campus and attending in-person classes. Zoom, although a fabulous resource, does not equate to an actual classroom.”
Hopefully, in-person classes will return a sense of normalcy that was missing last year.
Although it was difficult to get involved in clubs and organizations last year due to the pandemic, many students did not let that stop them from participating. Mcintyre became the class president of her freshman class, and along with various clubs, hopes to become more involved this year.
Mcintyre said, “With the pandemic happening, you have to take these bits of normalcy as much as you can because we don’t know when another breakout or something similar will occur.”
Although last year was difficult, the class of 2024 remains hopeful for a better year.
Rosa said, “It will be a wonderful experience and a new chapter in all of our lives.”