Amelia Kunko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I had long dreamed of my first year of college, excited for a fresh environment, the opportunity to meet new people, and the ability to explore all of my academic interests. My senior year of high-school was filled with giddy anticipation of the new friends and classes I would encounter in the fall of 2020. By the end of last summer, however, I realized that my experience as a first-year college student was going to look drastically different than I had expected due to the pandemic. I made the decision to attend Ursinus remotely, which worried me. I feared my first memories of college would be tarnished by my inability to experience campus life first-hand.
As I begin my second semester, I realize that despite the challenges remote learning has presented to me, I have learned a great deal about myself and my expectations for the next three years. One of the reasons I am grateful to have been a remote student this year is that I have been driven to connect with the Ursinus community in any way possible. Despite my inability to connect with peers, professors, and staff in person, I have been motivated to do everything in my power to become involved in the community. When I started my first semester from home, I never expected that I would be participating in talent shows, joining clubs, or beginning my search for internships from my bedroom. One aspect of college life that I was looking forward to was the sense of independence. Even without the experience of living on campus, I have grown to be the most independent I have ever been. Learning to manage a college workload has not been a simple task, even from the comfort of my own home; the challenge of doing so, however, has absolutely given me the skills to succeed in my academics.
This academic year has undoubtedly been a stressful period of my life, as it has been for a majority of college students. I have, however, learned that these unprecedented times are what I make of them. Being proactive in Ursinus’s community despite the challenges of doing so remotely has made my first year of college extremely meaningful. Reflecting on the past several months has made me aware of the personal journey I have taken, and despite the limitations of remote learning, I am grateful for my experience.