Opinion: A sophomore’s experience on-campus after freshman year stuck indoors


Photo by Claire Lawrence

Even though they have been attending school for a year now, sophomores return to campus feeling like freshman because being in-person is brand new to them.

As a sophomore at St. Edward’s University, this is my first year where I get to truly experience college life. Last year I sat in a dorm alone, day in and day out, attending all of my classes via Zoom. I wouldn’t leave my desk for hours at a time and felt more disconnected from other students than I ever had. With the privilege of being able to experience in-person classes for the first time after high school, I’ve noticed how many social skills I’ve lost and how different the college experience really is compared to what I was living through last year. 

The first week before classes started, I walked around campus trying to map out where all my classes were. Some buildings I didn’t even know existed, and I had to look at a map to figure out how to get to them. The campus is much bigger than I thought, and I didn’t even know there was a second Jo’s location in Doyle! While walking through each building and along every field and courtyard, I came to realize that starting in-person classes was going to be a huge change for me. 

Going to all my in-person classes for the first time, I noticed how many people wouldn’t speak up or participate in discussions, especially if the professor didn’t push for engagement. I wondered if everyone else was feeling just as socially lost as I was. I hadn’t been in a classroom for almost two years, and the shift from high school to college class was very rough. I didn’t have the cushion of freshman year experiences to fall back on. Walking around campus, it felt like there were two freshman classes. Many sophomores, including myself, were having to learn new aspects of college life alongside first-year students. 

One of the things I love most about having in-person classes is being able to attend weekly Hilltop Views meetings. Last year everything was online. I never met a single editor or fellow writer in person until a couple of weeks ago, and even then it was hard to recognize who was who because I had only seen them on screen. Another thing I love most is being able to be in the presence of others in a tight-knit class who are all here to learn the same things that I am. I’m finally able to get a taste of how college is meant to be, and I feel incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity by St. Ed’s. 

Even if I have to get up at 8 a.m. every single weekday, at least I’m able to get myself dressed and ready for the day knowing that college life is one step closer to normal. I have a reason to stop and get coffee in the morning, eat lunch outside of a dorm and am able to work on my social skills in a safe environment here on campus.