The fear that sparked from the pandemic has left quite the impact on people all over the world; however, life seems to now be turning more toward a semi-normal state. In late August, hundreds of students stepped foot on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. These students consisted of both incoming freshmen and students returning to campus after spending more than half a year taking online courses.
Many of the returning students are looking forward to the current semester. Junior entrepreneurship major David Harris feels great about the return, as the campus seems to have more life to it than it did during the previous semesters.
“The energy here is definitely a lot more lively,” Harris said. “You see more people outside. People engaging with other people. I think it just brings new light to the campus after having such a very unfortunate series of semesters where we were online. It’s good to see the campus coming back to life.”
Other students are just relieved that they no longer have all of their classes taught remotely. Junior business administration major Thomas O’Connor found it more difficult to learn and attend class through the use of online applications.
“I know I struggled the past three semesters learning on Zoom,” O’Connor said. “I got very distracted. Coming back to campus really makes me focus better and will definitely improve my grades.”
While many are happy about returning to campus, some students are still adjusting to the changes. The study habits one may have developed through remote learning may need to be altered as students transition back to in-person class sessions. It’s something that could take a bit of time to get used to.
“It does take a little bit adjusting to as far as the studying and the learning believe it or not,” Harris said. “Your study habits could be a little different when you’re online because essentially everything is kind of at your disposal. Your disposal being your computer, but when you’re in-person, different professors are different with the way they give you your material.”
Other changes made on the campus may be too different for some students, especially for in-coming freshmen. Junior English literature major Yancy Carter provides some details on what she noticed while being back on campus.
“There are a lot more people in-line and they’re not used to paying with a card everywhere,” Carter said. “They’re still not doing cash here. Now they’re putting stuff on the keyboards and it kind of makes it hard to type sometimes.”
For the fall semester, it has been decided that students who received the vaccine are allowed to roam around the campus outside mask free. The administration for the campus, however, are still mandating masks for students inside campus buildings regardless of their vaccination status. This mandate seems to have a mixed batch of both criticism and agreement.
“We got like a 98% vaccination rate,” O’Connor said. “I think it should just be no more mask mandates.”
Senior English major Carman Martinez fully supports the indoor mask mandate remaining in effect.
“I want to keep them for as long as possible,” Martinez said. “It is about the only thing that’s protecting us and the only thing that’s giving us safety besides the vaccine.”
One difference found among the views of many students is whether they should be concerned about the semester. Some fear that there will be a larger spread of a COVID-19 variant throughout the campus with so many people close together regardless of them being vaccinated. Others believe there is nothing to worry about and that the whole semester will go by smoothly without repercussions.
“You come to Plattsburgh and you expect the full college experience, but it might be more worrisome because I just know the Delta variant is here,” Carter said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that. You have to always think positive.”
Sophomore early childhood education major Colleen Alva makes note that the future of the semester is more thrilling and optimistic.
“It’s a lot more exciting,” Alva said. “There are already a lot more in-person events and there are so many more people on campus. This is an opportunity to meet more people, which is always nice. Definitely looking forward to this semester.”
The feeling of excitement and worry varies from student to student as it is unknown what the future holds. Things can change and turn for the worse or things can bounce back and return to normal.
“You never know with the pandemic whether things are gonna go awry or if they’re gonna go positive again,” said Martinez. “I think for most people it’s a little bit sad and a little bit hopeful because you finally get to see actual people again.”