College during corona: Baldwin grads tackle challenges in first semester
November 24, 2020
While COVID-19 has presented a lot of obstacles for high school students, college students have faced even greater challenges.
Here is a look at how the first semester of college has gone for several members of Baldwin’s Class of 2020.
Gavin Wieckowski, West Virginia University
Gavin Wieckowski, a freshman at West Virginia University, said his college experience has been a challenge so far.
“College life has been rough,” Wieckowski said. “I’m constantly checking my email to try not to miss anything important, and sometimes campus can feel like a ghost town. There’s a lot of pressure not to go outside if you don’t need to.”
The virus has also taken a toll on student social life and interaction, he said.
“COVID has had the most impact on social life here on campus,” Wieckowski said. “There aren’t many opportunities to interact with classmates after classes because of the pressures and risks of possibly contracting COVID.”
Wieckowski said club meetings have been reduced and that only a select few meet regularly.
“Some of the clubs I was interested in no longer meet at all,” Wieckowski said. “Large clubs will still occasionally meet on Zoom, but it’s obvious that things have changed.”
The first semester is ending early and WVU students only have two more weeks of school following Thanksgiving break.
“Before midterms, cases spiked and WVU mandated a few weeks of all online learning,” he said. “After the break, we have one week of online classes and one week for finals. So the next time I’ll be back on campus is for the spring semester.”
Tori Tamborino, Carlow University
Tori Tamborino is a nursing major at Carlow University in Pittsburgh who also is continuing to pursue her passion for track and field through a Division I scholarship. Despite the struggles posed by COVID-19, her freshman year of college has been running smoothly, she said.
“It’s amazing, I still feel like I’m getting the full college experience, even with the coronavirus,” Tamborino said.
Carlow has continued to follow a hybrid system, with some classes in person and others online, while students live in their dorms.
One semester in, Tamborino feels that college has been a rewarding experience.
“I have learned so much and I can’t wait to carry out another semester, and then next year I start clinics,” Tamborino said.
Alexa Mazzarini, CCAC
Alexa Mazzarini, a freshman at the Community College of Allegheny County, decided to go online with all her classes this year.
“I chose to do my classes fully online through Zoom. It makes school much more flexible, which is great,” Mazzarini said.
Mazzarini’s initial plans for college were to attend a four-year school after graduating from Baldwin. But because of COVID-19, Mazzarini decided to spend her first years at CCAC.
“I was expecting to have a real college experience with dorms away from home,” Mazzarini said. “But due to COVID-19, I’ve decided to lay low at home for now.”
As for extracurriculars and on-campus clubs, Mazzarini has chosen to skip them for now because the meetings are only being held on Zoom.
“I didn’t think that I would get the full experience of what the clubs and extracurriculars had to offer,” Mazzarini said. “So I decided to skip over joining any clubs this semester, but I will probably join when they are able to meet in person.”
Joey Weber, Kent State
Joey Weber, a freshman nursing major at Kent State, said that not being able to embrace the full college experience has affected his first year of college.
“I was hoping to be able to hang with and meet new friends, watch Kent State football in person, and be involved with a fraternity,” he said.
The year did start off better than he had assumed it would, at least.
“Going into this year I was expecting everyone to be super uptight about COVID-19. In reality, there were a lot of things, within CDC regulations, that I did the first week,” Weber said.
His first semester has been stressful, though, and with COVID-19 and all online classes, the pressure did increase. However, Weber said college also has been a fun and new experience, despite the extra strain.
:College in itself is stressful and corona really adds on to it, but overall I’ve enjoyed college so far, considering what’s going on,” Weber said.
Cassie Carlson, Youngstown State University
For Youngstown State freshman Cassie Carlson, college has been a mix of remote learning and in-person classes. And for her, things seem to be going very well.
“The hybrid classes are pretty nice. I go in once a week for class, then the next day that I would normally be in class, we have an assignment due. It’s nice because we have a day for a lecture and a day to practice,” Carlson said.
Carlson is attending school on an athletic scholarship for softball. The fall softball season was canceled, but she and her teammates are hoping for a full spring season.
“We are unsure of where and when games are going to happen, and we won’t be playing any schools until things are figured out,” Carlson said.