Restricted college experience influencing freshman students to consider going home

By Tatiania Perry

Up until a week before the start of classes, many freshmen were uncertain about what college life would look like for them. 

Some imagined what college looked like in the movie, a full quad, constant partying and of course a rigorous yet fulfilling course load.

Because of the pandemic, however, many of them just got the course load.

Undeclared freshman Lonnie Jones was excited about what college could be, despite the pandemic. 

With the intense testing schedule she was sure that students would have a bit more freedom to come and go as they please. 

“I know I’m here for school and that’s the most important but I still wanted to have the college experience of going out and having fun, ” Jones said.

No matter what it looked like, Jones was excited to begin this new chapter of her life, but even after a week the reality of what her semester is doomed to become has sunken.

“My hardest class is Macro(economics) and with classes like that they are fast paced.” Jones said. “It’s harder to communicate over zoom that I need them to slow down or I have questions.

Following the first weekend of all students on campus there was a spike in Covid cases, which prompted Chancellor Robert J. Jones’ Massmail restricting campus further.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday undergraduate students are asked to limit their in-person interactions to only the most essential activities. 

Attending class, getting groceries and going to work and religious activities were among that short list of acceptable behaviors.

The email ended with a reality that many universities have had to face. 

“These actions will repair much of the damage a few irresponsible students have caused, and this should flatten the curve,” the email read. “But, if this approach does not successfully reverse this upward trend, we will move quickly and decisively to transition the rest of the semester to fully remote instruction.”

Upon reading the email Lonnie Jones began to entertain a thought that was already in the back of her mind.

“I have made friends here but i miss my friends back home,” she said. “I tried out college for this semester but if this is all the same next semester I will just stay home.”

Tatiania Perry

I am a journalism graduate student. In my undergraduate at the University I had the privilege of working for The Daily Illini as an Assistant Sports Editor, interning for NBC Sports Group in the digital media department as and most recently I served as a digital intern for Illinois Public Newsroom and a Teaching Assistant for the College of Media. I chose to go into Journalism because I love the idea of telling the stories of those who would otherwise not be heard, being a voice to the voiceless.