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What Is It Like To Start College In A Pandemic?

Tulane Freshman and CollegeFit Mentor Tara Ampolini shares her experiences starting college in a pandemic.


This year, I started my first year of college during a global pandemic. I think that my experiences and the challenges caused by COVID have been similar to the reality for everyone at school in person this semester. So, I thought I would share my experiences with other people who may be starting college soon.


Though most of my classes have been entirely in person, some of them have been in hybrid form; half online and half in person. For some teachers, this means going onto a Zoom class. For others, it means watching pre-recorded lectures and doing various activities. This has changed the way that I learn because it has made me more responsible about keeping on track with my work and making sure that I stay motivated. Though this is not a part of the typical college experience, it has been beneficial in teaching me study skills. I've learned how to use my time wisely and stay on track in classes, a skill I will definitely need in later semesters.


Another thing that has been different than standard semesters is the way I approach making friends. Since we didn't have freshman events, most of my friends come from living in the same hall as me. This has made our hall super close, and I have met a lot of great people. Because of COVID rules, it can be difficult to plan things to do since we can't be in bigger groups. This has prevented me from making friends with a lot of different people. Still, I think that this has allowed me to become much closer with a small group of friends, and I honestly believe that this is a great thing to have, especially when you are first starting out.

One other drawback of starting during a pandemic was that I missed out on some college events, like freshman orientation events. Going into college, I had certain expectations about these events. Though it is somewhat disappointing that I missed out on these, I think that having an atypical college experience has allowed me to have some great stories. For example, even though we didn't have a huge convocation with the entire class of 2024, I got to have the experience of having it with a small group with an impressive use of technology. This is something that I will remember forever and that I know my experience unique when compared with others.


Though this experience as a whole has been challenging in some ways, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to go to in-person classes and meet some great friends. Though I am missing some aspects of the "traditional college experience," starting college in a pandemic has given me some great experiences and stories that I can share with others. All in all, this shows that your college experience is really whatever you make it out to be, so as long as you go in with a good outlook, you will have a great time!



Tara with her friend during the beginning of the semester. All Tulane students must wear masks in public.

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