A woman walking through a grass field

Whether you are an incoming freshmen or a graduating senior, college is going to look different this year. As a rising junior who attends college outside of my home state, I have been filled with anxiety and questions this summer in regards to the return to campus in the fall. The biggest question: Do I pay for a full semester of housing only to be sent home five weeks into the semester?

I attend school in New York City, the previous epicenter of COVID-19. The city was hit hard in the beginning of 2020, and every day last spring, I woke up to devastating statistics of people testing positive in the city of people I love.

Back then, I just knew I could not possibly return in the fall. I could not comprehend this being “over” in time to have a “normal” junior year, and it’s not. Although my school has allowed students to return to campus, we get to choose whether or not we would like to take classes online or hybrid (both online and occasionally in person). There are also very strict guidelines for students who do decide to return to campus.

I was originally excited to see the friends who I hadn’t seen since early March and feel like a college student again until I started to weigh what going back to, and living on, campus would look like. Most of my college friends feel the same as me. There is a desire to go back to school as we worry that these four years that are so precious are being wasted. Yet, there is also the desire to be safe and not throw away money.

However your new semester looks, you are not alone in dealing with the questions associated with starting school amidst a pandemic. Here are a few questions that college students are mulling over as the new school year approaches. Although I don’t have any answers for you, I hope that knowing that other students feel the same way and have similar questions let you know that you are not alone in your worries!

You are not alone in dealing with the questions associated with starting school amidst a pandemic.

  1. Do I go back to campus just to get sent home again?
  2. Should I stay home to save money this semester?
  3. Do I move to school just to take classes online?
  4. What will my friends decide to do?
  5. Am I receiving the same level of education that I normally would? Should I just take this semester off? 
  6. What is the quality of education I would receive if I chose to stay online?
  7. With all the restrictions around COVID-19, in efforts to keep us safer, will I still feel like I am at college or will I just avoid human interaction? 

Students, what questions do you have as you enter the 2020-21 school year? How have you been processing any anxious thoughts you may be feeling?

Image via Micaela Fox

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