What about the Sophomores?

The class of 2024 are experiencing their first mostly normal year of college. This transition has been strange for many.

Kathryn Robinson, Variety Reporter

In the spring of 2020, the class of 2024 was graduating high school in a pandemic. The ceremony they had worked so long for was altered, if not completely online. College would not look the same for them. Now, a year later and a year of Zoom classes under their belt, how is the class of 2024 doing? 

Confused, overwhelmed, disappointed and relieved are a few words to describe how Hamline’s sophomores are doing.  

Sophomores Raul Ortiz, Kate Kelley and Erika Albrecht all reflect on their lives one year ago as freshmen at Hamline and their expectations for the start of their first year.

“I was expecting to be able to actually have class, to walk around on campus and actually know all of the buildings,” Albrecht said.

Kelley expressed disappointment about how the current first-years seem to be having a more normal first year of college.

“I was expecting an actual freshmen orientation,” Kelley said. “They just chucked us into school and now the Freshman actually get to do stuff.”

Making connections with others during their first year was a difficulty that they all shared.

“I thought we were going to meet people in person rather than online, and that just wasn’t the case,” Ortiz said. 

Emme Nelson, a student athlete in both track and hockey, struggled with the difference in campus life, even though she was able to meet friends because of her sports. 

“I feel like under more normal circumstances, making connections would have been much easier,” Nelson said. “I was happy to have built in groups of people through my hockey and track teams, but it was still depressing to see how inactive campus was without any major events or sports games going on.”

The mental health of students was affected by the pandemic and online classes, but not always in negative ways. The time alone forced many students to reflect and learn more about themselves, especially during their first year as independent adults.

“I was able to focus on myself and improve myself, but sometimes being super independent was challenging,” Nelson said.

Kelley echoes this feeling.

“Isolation made me more aware of my insecurities and mental health, but because I was able to pinpoint my problems and I had the time to work on myself, I think I benefited from the excess alone time,” Kelley said. 

Albrecht feels the effects of isolation as well.

“I was not drained and I got to know myself, but it was difficult for me to be so isolated,” Albrecht said.

Now, with vaccines, campus life has been able to look more normal. Sophomores are experiencing much of college for the first time along with the class of 2025. This shift has been eye opening for many sophomores, and many of their expectations for college have shifted.

“I had no expectations really, I was just like, I don’t want to get my hopes up for something that might get taken away again,” Kelley said. 

Once last year was far behind them, many students wanted to start anew this year and enjoy all that college has to offer.

“This year I am trying to make up for lost time,” Albrecht said.

Many students share this view of the year here on campus.

 “After last year I felt like I did not have much of an experience with school, sports, or the social aspect of college, so this year has been a breath of fresh air. I’m very grateful to be a part of my sports teams as well,” Nelson said.

The first few weeks of the semester have not seemed to disappoint. 

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how willing the administration is to let us be in person and do a lot more of the college experience,” Kelley said.

With the vaccination mandate, most classes are in-person, so a schedule full of Zoom classes are hopefully a thing of the past. 

“It’s much more enjoyable to not look at my computer screen for three hours,” Ortiz said.

The adjustment to in person college has been fairly smooth as well, thanks to the many events that are open for all students.

“I’m already adjusting much better this year,” Nelson said. “Social interaction, whether that’s in school, activities or with friends is so important, especially for the college experience.”