Off to college during a pandemic

Graduates learn to navigate college during after a tough year


Taylor Bautista poses before her first day of sophomore year at Ohio State.

The class of 2020 and 2021 experienced a bad breakup from high school. Canceled dates, long distance relationships and ruined expectations made the year to remember less than spectacular. 

Over the past two years, GlenOak graduates have been working to overcome the challenges COVID-19 has presented. 

Darrion Williams, a college sophomore at Ohio State, has been through the shutdowns and high hopes of COVID throughout his first year of college.

“The workload doesn’t seem as unbearable as it did last year,” Williams said. “I also believe that being in person helps with my overall well-being. The only thing I liked about COVID was being able to fall asleep after a zoom meeting.”

After a year where many college students were online, they are relieved to be back in person for classes, in dorms and able to socialize with other students. 

 “Mentally this school year is a relief because I actually get to get a change of scenery from class to class. I get to eat meals with my friends and not be in my room all day,” sophomore Taylor Bautista said. 

Bautista is a sophomore at Ohio State. Instead of living in her dorm last year, Bautista decided to move home after a bad quarantine experience.

“My experience last year in Lawrence Tower was horrible. I had to sleep in an old hotel room with a small blanket and one small light in the corner and it made me sad because everyone else was out enjoying their first ever week of college,” Bautista said.

As continuous changes happen, students have had to adjust to these hurdles but they also learned new things about themselves.

“I would of course take back COVID in terms of saving lives that were lost, but I think the fact that many of us were forced to isolate ourselves if we were sick taught a lot of people how to be okay with just being with themselves for a while,” Bautista said. 

Though the class of 2020 have finished their first year of college, the class of 2021 are still experiencing college life as freshmen. 

 “Sometimes I have those moments where I’m sitting in the cafe doing homework and I’ll realize that GlenOak is in class right then,” Ohio State freshman Alea Zelle said. “It’s weird to realize the whole truth of the situation.”

Although students continue to adapt, this is not their main concern anymore. 

“My biggest struggle right now would honestly be combating boredom,” Walsh University freshman Dominic Gemma said. “My friends all have different schedules than me, so finding stuff to do between lunch and dinner if I have no homework is challenging.” 

Despite these struggles, freshmen like Zelle have been impressed with how much they have to do on their campus.

“I thought that going to college I would stay in because there wouldn’t be that many things to do with the pandemic… but there’s so many ways to get yourself out of the dorm…” Zelle said.

Although students have had a year full of roller coasters, college freshmen are finally receiving the in-person college experience they dreamed of, even with all of the restrictions that come with it. College students are eager to see how this year plays out as they unknowingly walk into it.