By: Katelyn Norris

The first semester of college is always difficult Freshmen must deal with adjusting new schedules, mastering time management and getting the most of their social lives. However, this year first year students must combat all of this with the ongoing pandemic and all that come with it. 

Emily Richardson is one of those first-year students and she said fully remote learning has been both a blessing and a curse.  She said being fully remote has improved her academics but her social life has suffered greatly. 

“I was leaning toward living on campus and then make a ton of friends to get the full college experience,” Richardson said.  “I haven’t been to a party or get to go to class and see campus. Now it’s me in my room on my computer.” 

Richardson said she is very shy and doesn’t feel comfortable reaching out to classmates via email or Teams. She also said she doesn’t have the option to come to campus due to health concerns.  

“I know that is pretty sad, but it’s really hard to message some to say ‘Hey! You look nice. Let’s be friends!’’” Richardson said. “I’ve [been] going to classes online then doing homework. There is not really a social aspect to it, it’s just school.” 

Julia Cordts, a fellow first year, said she feels it is more difficult to create meaningful connections between her peers and professors. She said it is hard to talk to others because once the class Teams call is over, there aren’t the small talk opportunities that happen in the classroom. 

“Online learning has definitely impacted my first BU experience, because it is harder to make friends over a Teams screen than it is in person,” Cordts said. 

Cordts did say she was able to make a few connections with the students in her dorm. However, she said college did live up to expectations but were hindered by Covid and online classes. 

She said she has been having a rough time with her courses this semester. Cordts said she decided to withdraw from a class. 

“It was taking up too much time and effort that I needed to for other classes,” Cordts said. 

Caleb Puckett said being hyflex has given him the best of both worlds when it comes to the first-year experiences. He said he can come to campus for a few of his courses, while remaining at home for others.  

“I am remote most of the time and it’s difficult to complete classes while I’m next to my bed or just in my house in the comfort of my home,” Puckett said. 

He said the social aspects of his first semester has taken some getting used to but added he has made some effort to connect to peers. Puckett said he came to campus when there were events, but it has felt different given the circumstances. 

“I expected it to be more social and I was looking forward to it. I had some issues with that but still I expected a few more things to be going on,” Puckett said. “In academics I didn’t really know what to expect. It has been not terribly difficult to what I was expecting but it certainly hasn’t been easy.” 

Richardson said online learning improved her academics because she has no other distractions while Cordts said she is struggling in her classes. 

Richardson said she hopes the spring semester is better for everyone and she wants to be able to interact safely with all her classmates. 

“I hope I will be taking classes next semester that I will actually be able to use better and help me connect with others. I’m hoping to learn more that I can in my everyday life and just society when things get back to normal,” Richardson said.  

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