Natalie St. Denis
After another long, pandemic-ridden semester, many students are looking forward to the fall semester. President Alexander Enyedi sent an email to students with a generally optimistic lens of what the fall will look like. The email served as a sigh of relief to many, as the weight of COVID-19 was slightly lifted. Although, we aren’t out of the water yet.
Incoming SUNY Plattsburgh students remain optimistic, despite the uncertainty around how the pandemic may attempt to dampen their college experience.
“I think I’m optimistic that people will be vaccinated and that we’ll have in-person classes, which is going to be new because I’m mostly virtual right now,” incoming freshman adolescent education major Anne Cook said.
SUNY Plattsburgh students took the trek to Hawkins Hall or any in-person class at all for granted. It may have taken a pandemic to realize that in person classes are a large part of the normal college experience. New students come to college eager to walk around campus to classes instead of rushing through the sardine-packed halls of high school.
“I hope I have in-person classes so I can start it off with a normal experience and hopefully be able to experience actual college activities and meetings and gatherings and stuff like that,” Cook said.
Along with all the optimism is a shred of doubt. New students like Cook worry about how strictly the COVID-19 procedures like distancing and masking are followed in new locations, like Plattsburgh.
Overall, SUNY Plattsburgh has remained relatively diligent about following the recommended protocols. This could be the reason many returning students, like freshman accounting major Haley He, aren’t worried for the fall semester.
“I’d say I’m feeling kinda positive because most people are getting vaccinated right now and if we just social distance and wear masks during the fall we’ll be alright I guess,” He said.
He mentioned that most of his friends are vaccinated and he plans to get his vaccine in the summer. He hopes this will allow for more club opportunities on campus.
Socializing through events like Greek life and clubs on campus is another extremely important aspect of college life, especially early on in a student’s college career. Freshman gender studies major Alexis Putnam is looking forward to more social opportunities in the fall, since she missed out on some due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’m just excited for more clubs and stuff to be offering in-person stuff rather than on Zoom so you can actually meet people and talk to them in-person,” Putnam said.
In-person classes also offer the opportunity to socialize with new people. Putnam says her schedule for the upcoming semester is still a little unknown in regards to what will be offered in-person.
“For me it’s pretty much 50/50. A lot of the professors that I’ve talked to in my department specifically aren’t sure if they’re gonna be in-person or not,” Putnam said.
Being trapped behind a screen, trying to absorb a degree through a computer has certainly been a challenge. It’s simple to wear pajamas and turn on a laptop, opposed to getting ready for a class. But in the grand scheme of things, many would choose in person classes over the simple luxury of being able to roll over, grab the computer, log-on to Zoom and only hear maybe half of what is being said.
In person classes are certainly an aspiration, but the main goal is to simply get out of this burdening pandemic for now. Once that is achieved, a normal college experience will hopefully return.