The New COVID College Experience


Adjusting to college is challenging enough to begin with, but with the additional challenges that the year 2020 has to offer, it is even harder for some freshmen students to adapt to the new life they are building in college.

Maggie Guba was not only a senior in high school last year, but she was also an editor for the Morgan PawPrint. She now goes to the University of Alabama

Maggie Guba

where she majors in nursing. She said, “My freshman year has definitely looked different as only one of my classes meets in person and meets every other week”. She, like many other students in college, has many of her classes online.

Every school has to adapt to the crazy times in 2020. The University of Alabama has its own COVID-19 Protocols. These protocols include,

  • All events of 100 people or more are not allowed.
  • All indoor social events must follow social distancing requirements and any gatherings of over 50 people are not allowed.
  • Masks are required to be worn at all times by everyone.

Maggie said, “I agree with the protocols to an extent, however, I think they are a bit confusing. We are not allowed to have visitors in our dorms unless they live there but do not have any strict rules on students leaving the school to visit our friends or go home”.

The schools have the job of making sure that they can keep students socially distant and try to keep their school from becoming very infected. Maggie said, “Most events must be pre-approved by the university.” The school also has many consequences for students who break the rules and try to have social gatherings without socially distancing. Maggie said, “We also have strict fines and rules enforced for people who break the rules”.

Many students have been given the opportunity to go to their universities at home through online learning. Maggie, however, decided to go to Alabama and be present in her first year of college: “I’m extremely happy. I decided to go to college instead of just staying at home with online classes. I’ve been able to meet my best friends and have amazing memories although it looks different”.

Being able to stay in touch with family is one of the hardest things to do when you aren’t near them. With Maggie far away from her family, she communicates with them virtually, “I Facetime my mom a lot and try to text her a good amount in order to communicate”.

Thomas Baker has a very different story than most because he is not only dealing with the COVID-19 protocols that everyone else is dealing with, but he also is going to college in England, at De Montfort University in Leicester where he is majoring in International Marketing and Business.

Thomas’ days have changed greatly, and they are not very similar to the rules that we have here in America. “The UK Government issues a 6 person gathering limit and a 10 pm curfew”.

With the pandemic, many colleges are trying very hard to contain COVID and keep their campuses as safe as possible, but Thomas said, “I think more should be done. The college isn’t doing any required testing so you don’t know who could have COVID, and there shouldn’t be in-person classes”.

De Montfort University’s COVID-19 Protocols include:

  • Wear a face covering when you are in face-to-face teaching sessions whenever and wherever one-meter plus rules are in place
  • Follow government guidance on social distancing, this involves maintaining a safe distance between you and others as well as not congregating in corridors and door entry and exit points.
  • If you feel unwell because of any COVID-19 symptoms, please self-isolate.

Thomas also said, “Seats in lectures are spaced out and masks are required. Hand sanitizer is also available”.

In the year, 2020, going far from home is more stressful than ever. Thomas left the US to go to England, “I am happy with my decision, especially studying abroad. I’m still getting a college experience, and it’s worth giving up some things due to COVID”. It is even more difficult to make the decision to leave the country now because of the struggle that you need to go through to get back home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for everyone, but the freshmen year of college is challenging enough as it is, since students are adapting and creating an entirely new life for themselves.  Thomas’s main struggle so far is balancing his work and social life at the same time, “College is much more independent, and it is up to you to complete everything”.

Logan Cummings is a Morgan graduate who gave a lot of effort and participation in the Morgan Community. He is a very artistic person, who painted a mural in Mrs. Luther’s room. He also participated in the Morgan PawPrint twice.

Logan is going to the University of Connecticut, and he is studying digital media and design as an art major there. Logan takes all of his classes online and is learning everything remotely. “The social aspect of college is pretty much lost to me,” said Logan, however that is not stopping him from giving his best effort in his classes, “I’m more independent anyway, so having fewer social distractions is actually helping me a lot”.

UConn’s COVID protocols:

  • No events over 25 people are allowed
  • Anyone who is physically going to a campus at any time is to be tested.
  • Everyone who is at UConn is required to wear a mask in public/common areas.

The “Typical” College experience is something that many people look forward to, but Logan is very different from that, “Well, I can’t really enjoy eating at a dining hall or going to parties or anything really social about college, but who cares? I get more naps”.

UConn is a very popular school to go to, especially if you are local, like Logan and another former Morgan student, Emma Blair. Emma is going to UConn and majoring in music education. Emma, like many students this year, has decided to take all of her courses remotely.

Emma believes that UConn has done a good job of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, however, “I did not enjoy the idea of living that extremely cautious lifestyle. That is why I chose to stay home”.

As safe as Emma is taking all of her classes online, her first year of college has been quite different from what she had imagined, “I had never imagined I would be attending college virtually”.

Even though Emma would have preferred to take her classes in-person and live the traditional college life, she is happy to be taking her classes online, “My schoolwork is stressful on its own, and with all of my classes already online, there is no need for me to stay on campus and live an extremely cautious lifestyle”.