Many students at Drew are adjusting to life back on campus for the first time since the pandemic began. After a year of solely online classes at home or on a half-open campus, it was announced on March 25, 2021 that Drew would have a fully in-person Fall 2021 semester.
When students first learned that the fall semester would be fully in-person, they were ecstatic. “Initially, I was so happy that I literally cried. I was really excited to have a normal senior year,” said Julianna Hamilton (‘22). However, due to the ongoing pandemic, students still have their doubts about returning to campus. “I was kinda scared of having the whole campus back, because I had been so used to having a quarter of the campus last spring,”added Hamilton.
For many students, this is the first time they are experiencing being back in the classroom full-time. The previous spring semester was met with increased COVID-19 safety protocols, such as bi-weekly testing of all students and staff. For the freshman, sophomores and transfer students who have only seen this version of campus, there was enthusiasm to return to a “normal” campus. “As a transfer student, because I didn’t get a very normal first semester at Drew last spring, I was excited to be back and maybe get a real semester this time,” said Sarah Perry (‘23).
Though there is a general feeling of excitement among Drew students, it was not without challenges, specifically adapting from Zoom classes to in-person classes and maintaining energy for everyday activities. “I think my attention span got worse after doing Zoom classes so I think it was an adjustment to be back in-person and figure out how to be present and active in classes again,” said Perry.
Despite these challenges, morale remains high among students. “I just feel like being in-person is so much more beneficial to everyone involved, including students and professors,” said Hamilton. Now, students are seen walking back and forth to classes, eating together in the Ehinger Center, studying at the library and enjoying time outside before the cold weather arrives. Professors are back in the classroom, ready to resume teaching in-person and assist their students with any struggles they may face. With the continued guidance of navigating COVID-19 safety protocols, there is overall hope that campus may return to a post-COVID normal.