New Graduating Class Brings New Adjustments

By Lorena Grajales, News Editor 

An unusual new semester made its way to UTC, bringing mixed feelings for the majority of students, especially freshmen. Due to COVID-19, their last semester of school consisted of cancelled proms, early dismissals, and postponed graduations for many. Now as they’re entering their first year of college, how are they adjusting?  

For freshman Isabella Lewis, it’s imperative to see the bright side of the situation, no matter how difficult.

 “With the online classes, it’s way harder to keep up with all of your assignments…but it’s nice that I get to do it in the comfort of my own home,” she said.

 For others who were supposed to live on campus this semester, the transition to online classes hasn’t been the easiest. Freshman Madeline Eagle shared that face-to-face classes were the most important factor of college that she was looking forward to. 

“It was kind of sad cause I was like, ‘wow it’d be like fun to be walking around campus and going to classes’ and that was when I realized that I would much rather have in person classes than online because it’s the college experience that everyone expects when you go your first semester,” she said. 

When it comes to the social facet of college during the pandemic, students are worried they won’t have the chance to make new friends. 

“All of my classes are online so there’s kind of no way for me to meet anyone,” Lewis said. However, hope still remains for the semester ahead. 

Although not every freshman is living the expected on-campus experience, UTC still wishes to make them feel welcome by introducing several virtual and in-person events for them to engage and interact with other students. According to the Assistant Director for Student Engagement, Laura Petrus, freshmen will have various ways of meeting new people.

 “We’re trying to look at opportunities for students to just get social engagement. Trying to find creative ways for students to connect with each other online and meet with different types of students and get to know each other in a virtual platform,” she stated. 

A few virtually accessible events for students include “Language Hour,” student organization fairs, workshops, and more. 

The University seeks out to bring a sense of normalcy to campus by bringing face-to-face events that students can look forward to during the semester. Although these events will be monitored with safety requirements such as face masks, six feet of social distance, and regulations in the number of students allowed, UTC expects these events to be an effective way for students to still feel involved. 

“For newer students it might not be what they expected, or that snapshot they imagined of what their freshman year would be like, but we’re all trying to do our best and find creative ways to still give them those interactions and those experiences that we know are valuable and that we know students want,” Petrus said. While a demanding semester lays ahead, class of 2024 is ready for the challenge.

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