Senior Staff Writer
COVID-19 has changed every facet of human life since the pandemic began in December of 2019 and lockdowns began in March 2020. The college experience is no exception to this.
The importance of having a good college experience along with a good education is emphasized in college recruitment materials. According to experts, it is important to find a campus that has an experience that will best fit the prospective student.
“UNC Greensboro takes pride in being a community where everyone finds their place, their home, their people,” says UNCG on their website.
The traits that normally create a college experience however have been changed by the advent of the pandemic. Opportunities to socialize and make friends have been limited by social distancing measures. While some activities are being held digitally, they can be difficult to find and do not entirely replace the interaction that normally could have happened during the event. This has led to an increase in loneliness and depression in college students, especially those from out-of-state who are living on-campus.
According to a survey conducted by Boston University, depression and anxiety are more prevalent in the current generation of college students than there has ever been. “Half of the students in fall 2020 screened positive for depression and/or anxiety,” says Boston University professor Sarah Ketchen Lipson in an interview with Boston University’s student paper.
According to Matt Musico, a college admissions expert for CollegeData.com, what most students are missing and find most difficult about the current college experience is that it is not the version that they expected.
“[I’m looking forward to] Seeing the best college town in America full of people walking down the streets,” says an anonymous freshman from the University of Michigan in Musico’s article. “I’m extremely excited to get into a great routine of going to in-person class and experiencing college for what it should be, not the simulated version they are currently trying to sell me.”
There are ways to get back social opportunities and interactions while protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus. One major social outlet in the wake of the coronavirus is online gaming. Many games that have become popular since the first lockdowns, like Genshin Impact and Among Us, allow for players to interact with one another with special opportunities for friends to interact with one another through a shared interest. They also can facilitate making new connections across the world.
There are also all sorts of virtual events being held over YouTube live streams and TikTok where people can get involved in creative outlets as a part of a community.
If you are vaccinated and are willing to wear a mask in public, there are also several in-person events being held by UNCG and the Weatherspoon Art Museum on campus. Throughout October and November, several artists will be visiting and holding events with visitors. Students can visit the Weatherspoon Art Museum and attend events for free unless otherwise stated.
More events are being held in-person as more people get vaccinated. While the college experience is not currently what students may have expected, there are still ways to enjoy and cultivate a new and unique college experience.