Senior vs Freshman: The pandemic effect


Gina Gelchie

Signs outside of past hangout spots limit the number of people to a room.

Gina Gelchie

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused universities all over the world to rethink daily operations as an institution. Pace University was one of the many that needed to make decisions about the educational, social, and residential policies on campus. Many of these decisions included hybrid learning, social distancing and mask policies, family units, and cleaning practices.

Although every student is affected in their own way, the groups that may be the most impacted are the Freshman and the Seniors; the first and last of the Pace University experience.

Because of the new social distancing guidelines, students cannot have guests in their room, suite, or house. There are also limited common areas such as study rooms and lounges available because of the decreased capacity requirements.

Lounge seats have been designated by alternating green and red stickers. (Gina Gelchie)

“It’s weird not being able to go over your friend’s house when they live a few houses down or go visit your friend’s dorm right down the hill” stated senior Sarah Mass.

The restrictions have made it more difficult for freshmen to meet their peers outside of the people they reside with.

“I met a few new people when they were in the lounges. It’s harder to connect with people with masks on,” said freshman Melanie Yodice. “It is much easier to socialize when you are able to see someone’s face.”

The guidelines that need to be followed in classrooms are also making it difficult for new students to make connections with their classmates. Students are limited to Zoom calls or the small groups that can attend the class in person.

Lisa Gentile, a freshman commuter, stated “I made a friend through a zoom class and I made friends with another commuter student by speaking with her after class.”

For the Seniors, the biggest difference in the campus environment is the lack of student body interaction. Senior Brian Batesy stated, “The campus feels empty and quiet.”

In previous years, the start of the semester was an exciting time for upperclassman to reconnect with the friends they had made in years prior.

“I miss how lively the campus normally is in the beginning of the semester. Previously everyone would be sitting outside, playing music, going to events,” explained Mass.

For the first-year students, the biggest difference overall is having their first experience of freedom. The transition to college allows first-year students to become more independent academically and socially.

“I like being away from my parents being “on my own” for the first time in my life. However, still having to follow so many rules certainly makes it harder to enjoy the freedom of being independent” said freshman Samantha Swenson.

With all of the challenges this academic year faces for Freshman and Seniors, both groups have a sense of sympathy and understanding for each other.

Yodice speaks on her empathy toward the Class of 2021. “I feel even worse for the seniors because this is a very important year for them too,” she stated. “It is unfortunate for them.”

The freshman and seniors are the students being most affected by the university’s changes but, accepting that this is the new normal for the foreseeable future.

Mass discusses her view on her last year as a Pace student, “This is definitely not the senior year anyone pictures or dreams of throughout their college experience. However, things happen and we need to make the best of what life is right now”