Sophomore students finally make it to campus after spending first year online

By Emma Russell
Student Life Editor

The fall 2020 semester was completely virtual, and while the spring 2021 semester allowed for some students to move onto campus, many chose to stay home. This means that many sophomores have never lived, or even been, on campus before, and that they are experiencing everything that Washington College and the Chestertown community has to offer for the first time. 

One such student is sophomore Hailey Sutton, a Peer Mentor who moved onto campus early for her job training.

Sutton said it felt weird moving onto campus before the rest of her class because she was “expecting some of my friends to be here to show me around, and even with friends here I still felt a little lost and left out.”

According to Sutton, she had only visited campus twice before moving in, and quickly realized that she was lacking geographical knowledge about WC’s campus.

“I had to really take the time to work harder than some of the other Peer Mentors who have lived on campus before,” Sutton said.

Some students have more experience with WC’s campus than Sutton, such as sophomore Abigail Collins, who lives in Kent County and has an older sister who is a senior at WC.

According to Collins, that makes her luckier than most because “that gave me the advantage of causally being on campus a lot, even before I was a student.”

Even though Collins lives so close to campus, she was still missing out on the vital college experience and dealing with the difficulties that come with being completely virtual.         

“I remember so many times during the semester when my WiFi couldn’t handle my Zoom calls and would go out, which made me get behind in classes,” she said. “Hopefully with classes being in person, it will be harder to miss them or fall behind.”

Though Collins and Sutton had different experiences when it came to physically being on campus, both share the same sentiment when it comes to finally meeting their classmates, whom, prior to arriving on campus, they had only known virtually.

According to Collins, she is very excited to meet her friends. “It’s a little weird to think about, like my roommate and I never met but we are really good friends,” she said.

“I’m just really excited to finally meet my class after a year,” Sutton said.

In order to allow students to finally interact face to face, “second-year students will also have the option to return a day early — Aug. 28 — to participate in a variety of activities designed specifically for this class,” according to the WC website.

Sutton was a member of the student body chosen by Interim Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator Greg Krikorian to help plan the activities designed for the sophomore class.

“In our planning we tried to prioritize bonding, and even though I know it won’t compare to doing [in-person] Playfair, and having been on campus, I think it will give some sophomores the time to meet new people, and I think that’s what you really wanna take away from this,” Sutton said.

Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ’12 emailed a schedule to the sophomore class detailing the activities planned for Aug. 28 and 29. 

After receiving a negative COVID-19 test and moving into their dorms on Aug. 28, students were encouraged to attend a class meet and greet from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the Hodson Green, a barbeque hosted by the Student Government Association and class officers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a bonfire hosted by the SGA and Student Events Board.

On Aug. 29, the Hodson Boathouse was open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for any student who passed their swim test. Students were encouraged to “take a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard out and enjoy Chestertown from the best spot: right on the river,” according to the schedule. Students also had the option to instead participate in a scavenger hunt that allowed them to get to know campus better, which was from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sophomores were also invited to the All Campus Picnic from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hodson Hall Commons, so they could interact with students from other classes. 

This is only the beginning for the class of 2024 who finally gets to have a normal college experience after spending their first year completely online.

Photo by Sammy Jarrett

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