B2SB: What COVID-19 Means to an Incoming Freshman

By Jess Bazaldua
Web Content Contributor

A new normal is settling in for the fall 2020 semester. Roadmaps and plans have been enacted to ensure that student health is a top priority while maintaining education methods. 

However, major rites of passage and events that usually accompany incoming freshmen, such as high school graduation and move-in weekend, have taken drastic turns for the purpose of social distancing.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with production staff member Lucy Emmerson to speak to an incoming freshman about their pre-college experience.

Why did you choose Texas State?

There is a really great Speech Therapy program here and that’s where I want to be! Also, campus is close to my home in Cedar Park, so it’s not too far of a drive to see my parents and friends.

What were your initial thoughts or concerns when COVID-19 caused schools to close?

I was worried that my first semester at Texas State would be online and it would be a hassle to meet people. There were not too many other issues, but the dorm room situation concerns me. Being with a random person and wondering where they have been stresses me out, especially if I have been social distancing and they haven’t.

That is a very tricky situation! I know that communication and having a serious conversation is something that could get everyone on the same page. 

What was your high school graduation like and what changes would you like to see for future graduations?

It seemed a little unorganized. It only took about five minutes, which was a little depressing seeing as my older friends had graduation ceremonies and I got to go sit and cheer them on. I wish there was a better way I could have more people there. It needed to be a bigger deal than it felt like.

Most summer activities were restricted, like swimming at the pool or going to the movies. How did you manage to make this summer memorable?

I have taken up hiking with my close friends who I know social distance. I’ve also had time to invest in friendships in San Marcos, since I usually go to California. It’s a bummer but I have had time to get more things done. 

Have you previously looked at “move-in weekends” and what are you expecting your move in day to be like?

I’m expecting my move-in day to be a little hectic since I can only bring one parent with me. There’s a lot of stuff to move in for only two people. It’s also sad that I have to choose one parent instead of having both and my brothers with me. 

Move-in weekend is a family affair, from what I’ve noticed. It’s sad because that’s the last time everyone goes out to eat as a family and spends time together before saying goodbye.  

Moving on to happier topics, more retailers like Hot Topic and RedBubble have fashionable face masks. Do you think that encourages mask use, especially with college students?

When I see my coworkers walk in with a cute mask, I think they’re great, but I’m not really going to spend money on a cute mask because my parents usually just get the cheap masks. For college I might buy one, but in black to match everything. 

Before you begin this semester, what message would you give to a high school junior or senior who is starting to apply for college during this pandemic?

You’re not alone so take it day by day. It’s a good life lesson that shows you can’t completely plan out your future as much as you would like because the unexpected can happen. 

How do you plan to maintain your mental health during the pandemic?

Mainly going outside. I like hiking, being in nature, and going to the lake. I feel like I would get a bit of seasonal depression if I were only at home, so it’s nice to force myself out of bed.

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