Eagles are Back in the Nest

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A student sits in the FGCU library following the university’s COVID-19 guidelines. EN photo by Julia Bonavita.

Victoria Foltz, Contributing Writer

As a freshman walking through South Village was something I had obviously never experienced. There were people everywhere: students, volunteers, parents, all carrying boxes and rolling suitcases. After living through a pandemic my senior year of high school, watching all of this unfold in front of me was surreal.

I walked around SoVi in circles, trying to find the check-in area for Eagle Hall, before finally working up the courage to ask a stranger where I was supposed to go. Now four weeks into it, I look around and think, how did I not know where to go? Everything seems so obvious now.

I knew that being a freshman would be hard enough, but being a freshman during a pandemic? Even harder. Finding my classes, meeting my professors, and making friends has been a lot to handle all at once.

Nevertheless, Weeks of Welcome did make the transition from high school to college easier. It helped me meet new people, make friends, find extracurriculars, and get acclimated to the campus and everything in it. The free food was just an added bonus.

“During a WOW event, I learned about the campus lacrosse team and ended up joining it,” FGCU freshman Savannah Mock said.

With the convenience of Double Maps showing students when the shuttle would make its next stop, the first week on campus ran pretty smoothly. Unfortunately, without hesitation, the app crashed for a few days and was then declared to be permanently shut down. This has been an inconvenience at best. Waiting at the Palmetto Hall shuttle stop, wondering when, or if, the driver would ever turn the corner and stop in front of us has been agonizing. Would we all end up walking to main campus in the 90-degree heat to catch our 11:30 p.m. classes? Every day was different.

Last year the school required students to wear masks and social distance, whereas this year, both are less common because nothing is required, rather expected of students. However, with the vaccine out, students are highly encouraged to get vaccinated and end this pandemic. Most classes being virtual last year was very helpful in the sense of convenience and social distancing. Nevertheless, in-person classes are more efficient. It is a lot easier to communicate with professors and allows students to participate more in class.

“In-person classes allow me to be so much more attentive than online classes,” FGCU freshman Amanda Targos said.

Targos is glad that her first year of college is looking closer to normal than the one before. After being online for her senior year of high school, she is excited to meet new people and join clubs that interest her. While some people find it easier to participate in extracurriculars by being back on campus, other students feel the exact opposite.

“I feel like all I have done this year is attend class and go drive back home because I’m a commuter,” FGCU sophomore Natalie Simeus said.

Simeus thinks that her greatest challenge this Fall is being more socially active and participating in things other than just attending class. Living through a pandemic as a college student is something none of us have ever experienced. After last year, students are happy to be back on campus and excited to see what this year has in store for them academically and in their extracurriculars.