Attention Freshmen: Here’s Some Advice For Your First Online Semester

Incoming freshman face virtual learning for the first time|Photo Credit: Pixabay

By Marisa Morrison

Almost everyone can agree that this semester has been either challenging or stressful, filled with unexpected twists and conflicts in regards to how classes have commenced since August, and many are left with questions and concerns for what the rest of the semester has in store during such unprecedented times.

However, if one specific student year had to be examined during these times, freshman year piques some interest. How have freshmen held up during the start of such off-set beginnings? Are they adapting well to the new shift in academic studies?

As a senior myself, I relate to the hardships and anxieties of starting the new journey of college as a freshman, but especially during these times of uncertainty and change, it is important to discuss ways to alleviate that anxiety and push forwards towards achieving a successful semester. Unlike other students who have been properly introduced to or exposed to college campus life, Freshmen are handling the whole concept of starting college remotely instead of face-to-face, which gives them a more limited perspective of what college entails. It’s not only the classes and courses that matter, but also the exposure to an academic setting and atmosphere that helps develop students over time as they advance in college.

By omitting such aspects, freshmen become limited in how they grow in responsibilities and accessibility to college attributes and amenities. The thought of starting college can easily be intimidating and become less exciting for freshmen who have not been properly introduced to the next level in academics.

When I had first been exposed to the college environment as a freshman, I was awed by the amount of accessibility I had to the ability to take full advantage of, such as using computer labs, the library, tutoring centers, and more. This year however is different. Due to the potentiality of a COVID-19 outbreak in populated areas where there is limited room for social distancing, students must make spaces at home instead of at college for quiet studies. This comes along with creating their own sources of information and accessibilities through the internet, a choice many upperclassmen were not forced to make when they started college. Before you completely rule out college services however, most amenities have officially stated that they are planning on or have already migrated their operations online, with almost the same components to their services that would normally be face-to face made accessible remotely.

As previously mentioned, the library has shut its doors amidst the rise of the pandemic, but has made accommodations with online real-time chats with staff and librarians. The already accessible OneSearch feature along with research guides are also on the college library website. A tip for freshmen and all other “different” year students would be to take advantage of these newly renovated resources to the best of your ability if the need for individual research or e-books arises. And if you happen to be inconvenienced at home without any way to print out information for classes, the York College Print Shop has reopened this semester with all print requests being available for pick up only.

There are temporary hours of service in place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workload, for some, may become strenuous and plenteous since the semester has begun, especially for current freshmen who have not had the proper introduction to the responsibilities demanded of them in college life, and how to effectively manage time and productivity with classwork and homework.

The best advice is to stay on top of assignments and lessons for each class you take – this will ensure that new work that is assigned does not slip under your radar and you can stay current on class changes and adaptations, especially if professors decide to give more than one assignment at a time.

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