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Brockport students adjusting to new lifestyle

By Sarah Killip / Staff Writer

SUNY Brockport is looking anything but ordinary this year. The COVID19 pandemic has changed the face education and put a halt on many aspects of student life. 

With the need to remain socially distant from peers, and having classes transition online — being social and active on campus is nearly impossible. These challenges affect each student mentally, emotionally and physically. So often praised by our elders, the “best years of our lives” seem to be falling a little off course.  

SUNY Brockport freshman Billy Kedley is trying to make the best out of his transition from high school to college.  

“Going into freshman year with COVID-19 limiting what we can do is definitely a challenge, however it hasn’t been nearly as challenging as I expected,” Kedley said. “We can still go to virtual office hours and get tutoring if neededfeel like having online classes makes transitioning from high school to college easier. We finished high school with online classes so I kind of have the gist of it; it’s not a dramatic change like when senior year was cancelled and we were forced to go online. We knew what to expect this time around.” 

Having experienced college before COVID-19, senior Bryan Short feels as though the transition from in person classes to mandatory online learning has been difficult.  

It’s a lot harder to learn. My classes specifically are group project oriented,” Short said. They consist of term long projects which need to be completed as a team. Not being able to really sit near each other and having limited meeting times is going to add a greater level of difficulty.” 

In terms of enjoyment, the social aspect of school is not there. Many students have mixed reactions to the new college atmosphere. 

“I’ve found this year more exciting than I expected,” Kedley said. I thought we would be confined to our dorms, not being able to meet others, and stuck with our roommates 24/7. However, this is not the case if you can find people to safely enjoy your time with during these timesI know for othersincluding myself somewhatthat finding friends and people with common interests has definitely been a big struggle this year compared to others, but I am still enjoying my time at Brockport.” 

In contrast, Short views the situation a bit differently. But let’s face it, starting your senior year off in a pandemic is not the most joyous experience. 

It feels weird and discouraging to have to go to school like this,” Short said. Even though I know the new safety measures are necessary, it’s still a much less enjoyable experienceAny kind of extra club that I could be in or activity that could happen outside of the classroom have all been essentially canceled. There’s no appeal to join an organization that can’t even meet in person, or has to try to organize everything through only emails or conference callsFinishing college like this definitely takes away any kind of possibility of making the last semester memorable in any real positive way.” 

Freshman Jonathan Zavala wouldn’t call his college experience perfect but is still finding ways to enjoy his time at Brockport. 

I was hoping to get to meet a lot of people and hangout often,” Zavala said. I’ve been steadily making friends, mostly people from my hall and on Cross Country, I just wish that we didn’t have to be so restrictedI didn’t know what to expect from college and to be honest, it’s not the best thing ever, but I like the amount of freedom we have to do things. I like my roommates and the friends I’ve made this year and am hopeful about the upcoming months.” 

Amid all the change, are students actually staying safe? Short feels that many are trying their best to be as safe as they can but notes that the experiences being lost in the process are irreplaceable.  

“It’s very hard to balance staying safe and being social,” Short said. Part of what makes college such an enjoyable experience is being surrounded by peers also getting their educationNormally you get to meet a wide variety of people, and not having that creates a very different environment.” 

With an uncertain future, tough transitions and a weary atmosphere, all Brockport students can do is focus on the little parts of each day that bring some sense of positivity and fun to this year’s college experience.  

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