Students’ experiences before and during COVID-19

OSU freshman Noah Pragin (left), majoring in Computer Science and Sean Coleman (right), majoring in Biochemistry, ordering food at Serrano Grill. West Dining Hall is their favorite dining hall because it’s close to their resident hall and has the “best” food.

Jeremiah Estrada, News Contributor

Students of Oregon State University are currently having different experiences of college life that vary from before and during the ongoing pandemic, whether the freshmen have decided to stay home or come back to campus.

Freshmen of the university are unable to have the typical college experience due to factors of COVID-19, which can affect several aspects of their life. These can include living in the dorms, participating in clubs and remote learning.

Tate Davis and Shawn Ichikawa, who are OSU freshmen, shared their thoughts on how the pandemic has altered their first year of college so far, beyond just school work. Davis who is living on campus right now resides in Hawley Hall and said that there are setbacks that online learning has created for his overall experience.

“I wish classes weren’t online and that we could be more social, but there’s not much that can be done about it,” Davis said.

Ichikawa who had decided not to come to the Corvallis campus for the fall term is currently back in his hometown, Austin, Texas doing school. Within his first few weeks of college, he has found it to be easier than high school especially regarding the two hour time difference between Texas and Oregon.

“I was planning on going to Corvallis this fall and stay in Sackett with my roommate,” Ichikawa said. “I’m quite sad that I won’t be able to have the fullest first year experience on campus, as I was hoping to get out of here, but I guess since I’m able to visit my friends in Texas for a few months it’s not too bad.”

Ichikawa says he does not like class instruction on Zoom due to the lack of in-person interaction. He thinks that it can be challenging to replicate a real classroom environment online.

The circumstances students now undergo are significantly different from that of previous years. McKenna Johnston who is a former OSU student, recalls her time in the dorms and on campus from when she was a freshman last school year.

“I lived in Wilson Hall my freshman year and I loved it!” Johnston said. “The building and rooms weren’t amazing, but the community of our building made it completely worth the community showers.”

Johnston said that for her doing school work was easier to do living in the dorms than at home because there were so many places to study. She recalled a dorm memory of how at the beginning of the year, everyone would leave their doors open and people would come and go making friends as they went down the hall.

“I can definitely say that I learned more outside of the classroom than in it,” Johnston said. “After moving into the dorms and gaining a lot of independence, I had to figure out how to balance school and fun.”

Johnston expressed how she was disappointed that COVID-19 cut her freshman year short and that she greatly misses Corvallis.

The experiences for first-year students at OSU are vastly different now and then due to the pandemic limiting social interactions and delivery of class instruction.

“I really wish classes won’t be remote for the rest of the year, but I understand the challenge that the school’s up against and the danger that COVID-19 poses to the community,” Davis said.

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