Seniors say they missed out on college experience

A+light+trail+from+a+MTD+bus+occupies+the+intersection+of+Armory+and+Fourth+streets+on+March+26%2C+2020+soon+after+student+left+campus+due+to+the+start+of+the+Covid-19+pandemic.+University+seniors+feel+they+have+missed+out+on+the+college+experience+because+of+the+pandemic.

The Daily Illini File Photo

A light trail from a MTD bus occupies the intersection of Armory and Fourth streets on March 26, 2020 soon after student left campus due to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. University seniors feel they have missed out on the college experience because of the pandemic.

By Olivia Vamos, Staff Writer

When the class of 2022 were sophomores, everything changed. The pandemic hit and their college experience was completely altered. Now, as they’re about to graduate and things are just starting to go back to normal, many feel as if they’ve missed out. 

Julie Roser, senior in LAS, said even though she wanted to be at school, she withdrew for a semester her junior year because of the pandemic. She said she felt isolated.

Roser intended to have a minor in art because she thought it would be enjoyable. But because she withdrew for a whole semester, she now instead has to finish her psychology major classes in order to graduate on time.

“You can’t learn how to paint and sculpt and draw online,” Roser said. “That’s something that’s super hands on. I wanted to do a lot more stuff in the liberal arts.”

Roser said she feels like she missed out on meeting more people.

“The interactions that I have valued the most over my past four years here are always those random chance encounters with people and obviously that wasn’t possible when everything was online,” Roser said.

Jack Langan, senior in Business, said one thing he missed the most from his college experience was having the opportunity to study with others in person.

“I am someone who really likes to go to the library and work on problem sets with people,” Landan said. “I missed a lot of that comradery and being able to ask people questions when you’re sitting next to them in class.”

Thomas Quig, senior in Engineering, is the president of the SIGPwny RSO, the computer security club. He said it would have been more enjoyable to have the RSO meetings in person because they would have been more interactive.

“People are a lot more willing to ask questions when it’s in person,” Quig said. “When it’s over Zoom, everyone’s got their cameras off (and) it feels very lecture like when it’s over Zoom.”

Quig said that last year, there were certain opportunities he wanted to pursue but didn’t attend because of the risk of potential exposures.

“At the University running club events, going to sports events, going to places where while I may have kind of been able to do it last year, technically it didn’t feel right or feel safe to do so,” Quig said.

Langan is involved in a few choirs on campus and said he’s excited to perform live again. He said last year was difficult because there weren’t any in-person performances due to safety guidelines. 

Langan also said he missed an aspect of the college experience all students with varying interests share: the lecture experience.

I am really looking forward to having that one last college lecture experience,” Langan said. “I think that’s something I missed for a really long time because the other ones were all like 20-30 person classes for the past two years. I’m glad that I’ll be able to leave college having had that experience one last time. I think that’s a cool thing to be in a lecture hall with 300 people or something like that.”

Quig said despite missing out on a full four years of common college experiences, he is grateful for the experiences he has had.

“There are things I missed out on, but ultimately I think I had a good time for what it was,” Quig said. “I pushed really hard to try and have a great community of people around me and form a great group of friends, form a great group of extracurricular associates and people who then became my friends. I think I got lucky and I think that is not the same for so many people in this school, which is really unfortunate.”

Although last year was not how Roser thought it would turn out, she said she had a chance to reflect on what she wants to do post-graduation.

“Last year was time for me to get to know myself a lot better and then figure out what I really wanted to have foundationally for myself graduating from college,” Roser said.

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