OPINION | Lack of student activities takes away college experience

The fall semester courses consist of a hybrid in-person and online format, resulting in a nearly empty campus. Due to the pandemic, select events have been canceled and others have limited access, which Christina Block says is ruining the college experience for freshmen. Photo by Misha.

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Freshmen are not getting the full college experience when school events continue to be canceled.

As a freshman, I was looking forward to attending events to become more involved on campus and meet new people; however, when the school continues to cancel events, I’m not on campus enough to meet anyone other than the few students in my classes.

It’s nearly impossible to talk to other people on Zoom and most of my classes in-person only consist of five other students. Most students who are supposed to attend in-person class end up zooming in because it’s easier to roll out of bed a few minutes before class, turn on Zoom and listen to a professor lecture, while giving little — if any — engagement back. Besides, half the time most people’s cameras are off, so you can’t see their faces.

The ultimate college experience doesn’t just consist of school and going on holiday breaks, but meeting new people, building relationships and making memories, all of which you can do by attending an on-campus event.

I came here because the university is still offering in-person classes, which allows students to interact with the professor and learn face-to-face despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students in other colleges aren’t getting any in-person class time. Instead, they’re completing school solely through online classes, and they can’t live or be on campus because of virus.

Compared to other schools, I appreciate that DSU still offers in-person classes; however, because of this, I assumed they would also keep their events. The school did announce at the beginning of the year that events would be hosted, but all the popular ones have been canceled.

One of the events, CHAOS, normally includes a dance, but this year the university couldn’t host the dance, and the DSU Student Association advertised it as contests, giveaways, scary movies and haunted houses. This got people excited for the event until an announcement four days before that it would be canceled due to increasing COVID-19 cases in Washington County.

Seeing events being advertised throughout campus and having upperclassmen explain how great it was and that I should go to the event gets me excited, and I start finding people to go with. Then it gets canceled.

I try to get my homework done when a school event is planned, so I can attend, but when it gets canceled last-minute, it’s hard to make other plans.

I know I’m not the only freshman who feels this year doesn’t fulfill the college experience. A classmate mentioned to me that she doesn’t think college is for her because she doesn’t know anyone, her classes are difficult, she can’t find anything to do in the area, and she doesn’t know where to meet new people.

According to Very Well Family, roughly 20% of college students say they don’t feel lonely, and for the students who do, their main cause is the lack and quality of communication with other people. So, they tend to go to social media, thinking that may be the next best thing, but social media only makes things worse.

A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that students become socially isolated and feel overwhelmed by their emotions when they frequently use social media, according to the article in Very Well Family.

If you’re a freshman and you feel lonely or feel you’re not getting the full college experience, know that you are not alone; other freshmen are feeling this too. The only thing we can do is take advantage of the time we have in college now and build relationships with the few classmates who show up to school. We need to remember to wear a mask and keep social distancing. By doing this, we can hope everything will go back to normal and we can look forward to getting the full college experience next year.

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