One way to sum up the recent learning lives of college students is this: they had a lot more to worry about than course content.
Making friends in a new environment, especially during a pandemic, can be difficult.
“You can’t really see people face to face because you have to wear masks the whole time,” said Alexi Vani, who graduated in May. “So it’s a bit harder to know people, but you still get to see them.”
Not being able to see people’s faces is a challenge but for recent alumna Isabella Guadamuz, she has made the most of what she can.
“I found that it was a lot easier to make friends than I had imagined primarily because everybody was able to bond over the past year and a half of things that have just been happening to us,” Guadamuz said. “I think the shared experiences ultimately made it really easy to bond with people.”
To attend Loyola University Chicago, the school required Guadamuz, as well as every other student, to be vaccinated
“Our school is very conscious about COVID and is making sure that it follows all protocols, ” Guadamuz said. “It is really strictly enforced that we wear masks.”
Other schools such as K-State highly suggest their students to stay safe, get vaccinated and test if they are not feeling well.
“They offer free vaccines to students and you just have to go to the health center and sign up,” alumna Genevieve Klobe said.
At K-State, Vani is part of choir, eSports club and anime club. During choir, students are required to wear a mask. The eSports club meets virtually.
“Not seeing people’s faces, kind of a downside, because there’s a lot of nice people there,” Vani said.
Activities around the school campus are starting to get back to being normal.
“I went to a soccer game a couple weeks ago with some friends and it looks relatively similar to what it used to be because people are outside and everyone is vaccinated,” Guadamuz said.
With college, having new roommates can be nerve racking especially during a pandemic.
“Thankfully my roommate is vaccinated and pretty cool about the situation,” Klobe said.
Guadamuz has seen how past experiences and way of life have encouraged students to take precautions to benefit themselves as well as the people around them.
“Everyone is wanting to be social again, so everyone is putting their best foot forward,” Guadamuz said.