Today was my first day at Harvard — online.
This was definitely not what I had envisioned as the start of my college journey. However, over the past few months, Zoom has become the new “normal.” At first, it was hard to wrap my mind around this new reality. My campus experience would be extremely different from what the upperclassmen had told me about. Sitting down at different tables and meeting new people every day in Annenberg, the first-year dining hall, wouldn’t happen anymore. Pre-orientation activities, orientation, and all classes would be online this year as well, but first-year students get to be on campus.
These new changes have seriously made me question what I wanted out of my college experience. With the extra barriers that bar us from the same social experience our older peers had, we now all have to put in extra work in getting to know our classmates. This is literally every freshman’s worst fears coming into fruition.
Even in a pandemic-free year, the anxiety of building friendships is enough to cause at least four mental breakdowns on the way to campus. Now, we don’t have the luxury of fostering meaningful relationships through traditional, in-person means.
However, even though this is an unprecedented challenge that none of us know how to navigate, it gives you so much more liberty with meeting people that maybe you never would’ve met.