College freshmen rethink plans as the coronavirus pandemic drags on

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Emily Schwank, Intern

As the summer comes to a close, incoming college students are coping with the reality of going to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Not every college is taking the same approach when it comes to the new school year. Some schools, like the University of California Berkeley have decided to provide only remote instruction to its students. Others have set up a blended model in which some classes will be online and some will be held in person. Some are only allowing certain students to live on campus. For example, Stanford University is only allowing freshmen and sophomores to live on campus. Mt. San Jacinto College, a local community college, has moved many classes online.

“With everything happening recently, my college experience has been filled with a lot of uncertainty and confusion,” Jasline Dimapilis, a freshman at the University of California Davis, said. “I’m really nervous about starting college during all this. Davis still has not released a specific plan other than hybrid classes though I know already I will only be taking online and remote courses.”

Justin Benjamin, a freshman at the University of California Riverside, said, “I honestly feel pretty excited about starting college, but I am also worried that I won’t get to have the complete college experience in my freshman year, such as going to classes in person or spending time on campus and exploring new things to do on my own.”

Some students, like Brianna Mendez-Espain of Mt. San Jacinto College, have already experienced online summer classes.

“Being online has made it more difficult to have a quick and relevant conversation about the material. Since my professors have uploaded lectures online, I’d have to email them if I have a question,” she said.

Dimapilis said she experienced a similar issue.

“I know I learn better in person with interaction, so I’m anxious to see how I’ll do with remote learning while also balancing the new fast-paced quarter system compared to semesters in high school,” she said.

Some college students are choosing between staying home and living at their school. In some cases, students are allowed to live on campus but all courses will be conducted online.

Dimapilis said, “I recently canceled my contract for dorming in the fall quarter, and though I’m really sad about it, there was just too much uncertainty and the possibility of an outbreak occurring was just too risky and costly.”

A freshman at Brown University, Lyric Johnson said, “My college experience has actually been postponed. Brown University made the decision to have freshmen come for the spring and summer semesters.”

Even though Hunter Gonzales, a freshman at Bringham Young University, is still living on campus, his school is still making efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

“I will still be living on campus in the dorms but in order to decrease contact, the college is scattering check in dates so I will be moving in a couple of weeks early,” he said.

Emily Schwank can be reached by email at valleystaff@reedermedia.com.