Freshmen enter college during pandemic

Luc Stringer | Banner | Katelyn Elizabeth, freshman criminal justice major, and Melia Lawrence, junior psychology major and First Year Experience leader, get to know each other.

As the new academic year begins, students are adjusting to the changes this season continues to bring. While students of all years are being affected by classes moving online, this year’s incoming freshman class will miss out on many first-year experiences.

While California Baptist University will not host its regular in-person events, such as Welcome Weekend and others, connections can still be made and optimism can still be found. 

Being intentional about forming relationships with fellow Lancers is what will keep the students connected, even if not together in person.

Katelyn Worrell, freshman criminal justice major, said she has been able to enjoy her first year of college with a positive outlook, despite these changes. Worrell said she has loved living on campus and spending time with her roommate.

“Being on the cheer team has definitely been something that’s connected me to enjoy my first year,” Worrell said. “It’s also been really amazing to not only meet new people every day but to become good friends with the people I simply wave to when I pass by.”

Despite the differences 2020 has brought, Worrell finds her positivity through her cheer team and the new friends she has made. In this way, she continues to grow with her fellow students and form friendships which will last a lifetime.

Guadalupe Acevedo, freshman architecture major, agrees her first year of college has been different than she thought it would be. But through this, Acevedo has also been able to focus on the good which has come with her first college experience.

“A positive outcome is that I have met wholesome people as my experience continues and it’s a very beautiful and different environment that I love,” Acevedo said.

While different than expected, friendships and bonds can still be made this semester. Even though the majority of classes continue online, meeting new friends and forming new connections is not impossible.

Finding people to connect with is not always easy, though, and can especially be harder now that classes are not in person. First-Year Experience leaders are upperclassmen who help freshmen become plugged into campus any way they can, and help them create relationships with fellow students.

FYE leaders are still here for their students, just as much as they ever were. It is no less a priority to them to help freshmen find those they can have strong relationships, even while not always together.

Melia Lawrence, junior psychology major, has been an FYE leader for two years ad currently oversees around 150 freshmen. 

With classes all now being virtual, Lawrence says being an FYE leader this year is more difficult compared to the past due to minor technical difficulties. 

While Lawrence feels the challenges of online, and the sadness of her students not being able to attend events, she still encourages her freshmen with positivity.

“A word of encouragement would be to make the most of this semester despite the circumstances,” Lawrence said. “Many people don’t have an opportunity to attend school so give it your all. Try to branch out and meet new people and be intentional with those around you, even your professors because they care so deeply and want the best for you. Be intentional about growing your faith and finding people to walk alongside and support you through the journey.”

Creating these intentional relationships, though even through a screen, is important during these times. Staying in communication with fellow Lancers keeps the school unified when we are not together.

Students can still encourage one another and be there for each other during this time. It is important to reach out to one another and still do outdoor activities that are still allowed.

Be intentional about reaching out to classmates and getting to know one another.

While college experiences have changed and this year looks different, memories can still be made. Chins up,  Lancers. While on-campus activities may look different this year, connections are not lost to us.

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