B2SB: How to Enjoy the College Experience During COVID

By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor

I sat down with Calvin Miller, the Podcast Manager at KTSW, on Aug. 6 to discuss common concerns we noticed from incoming freshmen. Overwhelmingly, we realized the concerns for fall 2020 first-year students are much higher and differentiated from past generations.

It was sad to hear that some freshmen had all but given up on enjoying a traditional college experience. However, from our discussion, Miller and I discovered that although future student’s experiences will be different from our own, there’s still plenty to do at Texas State and in San Marcos to make their time here memorable.

The following are the three cornerstones of new Texas State student life, and ways to get involved now despite Coronavirus restrictions.

A photo of a soccer ball, art palette, and needle
Organizations for sports, the arts, and other majors are still active. Photo by Andrea Mau via Canva.
  1. Organizations are still alive!

Easily the best way to get involved on campus is by joining an organization. Despite COVID-19, many of these organizations are still active. Some of their activities have been adapted for an online format, but many will still be holding in-person events with precautions like masks and attendance limits.

Some clubs are even online-based. “One [club] I’ve been checking out personally is the eSports Club. They have games like Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch, and some others,” said Miller. 

However, not all clubs have the luxury of being web-based, so many organizations will still have in-person events on campus. For example, the Black Student Alliance, as well as other inclusive organizations, will be held online as well as in-person meetings every other Tuesday.

Based on your major, your student email will be added to specific email lists that are relevant to you. Miller and I both cite an email as our first introduction to the organizations we are active in.

“There’s a ton of emails that Texas State will send out. Just try one! If you don’t like it there’s still a lot of options,” said Miller. There’s plenty to check out online as well. Texas State has a wide variety of different clubs and organizations available to browse on the Student Organization Council website.

A photo of food, movie reel, and shopping bag
There’s plenty to do in San Marcos, from movies to shopping. Photo by Andrea Mau via Canva.
  1. There’s still plenty to do off-campus.

Like many students, the closing of the San Marcos River has canceled many of my summer plans. It’s practically tradition to float on the river in your free time as a Texas State student, but this shouldn’t prevent us from acknowledging the many activities San Marcos has to offer.

Recently entertainment centers, such as The Spot, have reopened with COVID-19 safeguards in mind. The Spot offers bowling, arcade games, and five-dollar movies for reservation.   

Downtown San Marcos hosts a variety of shops to browse from, and the farmers’ market is also still alive and well. The market offers fresh fruits, coffee, clothing items, and most importantly a place to go on the weekends every Saturday on the Square from 9 am to 1 pm,

Although students may not get to make memories on the river until spring, San Marcos is still a college campus city with a lot to offer.

A photo of a computer, reading, and text messages
Utilize the internet to stay connected with other students. Photo by Andrea Mau via Canva.
  1. Utilize online forms.

Before COVID, the online world was still a large part of our professional and personal lives. Take a moment to consider how online learning will apply to your major and how to make the circumstance benefit your future.

GroupMe was helpful before COVID-19, but now will be an essential resource for seeking out friends and help in classes. Make sure that if you can’t stay active in person, checking up online is a priority.

Adapting to online may be more obvious for some than others, as Miller said, “I’m going [to college] for Market Research and Analysis so there’s a lot of stuff that could be done online. For me, it was ok. Now I know that’s not for every situation or degree.”

If you’re able to find positives from the online situation, you are more likely to use this time effectively. As Miller said, “It was a little bit hard of a transition not seeing as many people, but [there was] a lot less time driving and a lot more time for classes.”

This isn’t to downplay the hardship that newcomers are currently experiencing in college, but merely a suggestion that a productive mindset may help keep spirits up. The COVID-19 lockdown may present the most unique circumstances for personal growth yet.

In summary, Freshmen should stay alert of club activities, enjoy what the city has to offer, and stay creative with new ways to learn online until things return to a new normal. There are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of and memories to be made at Texas State! 

Featured image by KTSW Multimedia.

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