September 3, 2021 | LIFE | By Carlee Castillo

The leaves are tinged yellow. Bells are ringing across the Colorado College campus. The halls are filled with students. In-person school is back in session, with many students experiencing it for the first time in over a year. 

Online courses presented a unique challenge to the entire student body as a particular facet of social interaction was halted. However, the absence of a typical first year posed a unique set of challenges for the sophomore class. 

Life requires cycles, ebbs and flows of activity. However, online classes created an unusually long period of stagnation. In such a static state, it’s easy to fall into unhappiness and restlessness. However, it can also allow for reflectiveness and appreciation. 

“The most beneficial thing about online classes was meeting my professors individually at any time throughout the day if I had some questions or concerns,” Alex Stambuk ’24 said, looking for the positive. “Many of my professors tried to make online college as easy and smooth as possible. I realized that if I can overcome the pandemic and online school, I can pretty much overcome anything. I have become much more understanding and empathetic to people since the start of the pandemic and doing school online.” 

Personal development could be considered a bright side to our year of virtual learning. Nevertheless, the lack of tangible classroom interactions has affected many students, both socially and emotionally. Missing out on a normal first year experience, Megan Moen, a sophomore at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs regards the abrupt transition between online and in-person learning as “much more difficult” than she expected. 

“I have a lot less time to spare with classes on campus, and class is now much more socially draining than when everything was virtual,” Moen said.

Whether it’s difficulty meeting new people, a quickly-draining social battery, or difficulty juggling coursework, a lack of a first year experience has imposed unique difficulties to the sophomore class. Yet, the class of 2024 remains optimistic in their new start; many of us are looking forward to meeting new people and connecting with professors. 

As both online and in-person learning present varying challenges, it is easy to get caught up in yearning for the opposite of your current experience. However, no matter the destination, the new school year promises a reintroduction of activity,and the sophomore class cannot wait to face it. 

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