COVID-19 has managed to begin affecting every aspect of life – from the way our classrooms are set up to the new regulations within our dorm rooms.
As a current sophomore, I have witnessed firsthand how COVID-19 has shifted the social scene on campus with its ever-increasing difficulties.
In this new “day and age,” wearing masks and sitting six feet apart, and sometimes more rules than that has made it almost impossible for incoming students to expand their social circles. As I watch my freshman peers navigate their classes without the first-year basics – such as new study groups, lunch tables, and closer set seating charts in classrooms – it has been hard to witness.
This lack of social interaction will be shaping the entirety of their “college experience”. Not to say that they are not necessarily “going out” or making friends in their dorm rooms, but they cannot do this without the risk of potentially catching the coronavirus.
With these implementations becoming the new normal, it can be assumed that they will have long term effects on student socialization. As young adults grow accustomed to not seeing faces outside of their dorm roommates and close contacts, they might begin to lack the desire to expand their friend groups.
This notion certainly does not encourage the idea that the mask mandate is a bad thing, but the lack of familiar interaction will eventually take a toll in the long run.
As we head into another year that will likely yield the same type of classroom and community settings, it is important that we look for innovative ways for incoming freshman to meet their peers in safe ways.
The college world is intimidating enough for young adults leaving their home for the first time. Friends are the most important aspect of an enjoyable college experience.