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First year students have been challenged this year to start their college journey during a pandemic.

What is it like being a first year in college in a pandemic?

College is hard enough. But how hard has it been to be a first year during the coronavirus pandemic?

College is challenging and a new adventure to embark on. But the 2020 fall intake had a different experience then the normal first-year experience.

Across the country, schools moved to online learning in hopes to keep students safe from COVID-19. Many college students felt they were walking into the unknown. Cleveland State freshman Jenna Kiss was one of them.

“Adapting to college has had its ups and downs. But having to do mostly everything online has made it a bit hard,” the Cleveland-born Kiss said. 

Kiss has been in college classes before through college credit plus. But starting her freshman year at CSU brought additional challenges, especially being online.

“Almost all my classes this semester are online and for me it's hard to be able to keep up with everything,” Kiss said. “One of my teachers does not use Blackboard at all so that is what I am struggling the most with.”

She never met her professors nor did she have any interaction with classmates. She felt lost at times. She had to figure out her classes, did not know anybody and did not know whom to turn to.

Kiss said she thought the administration was doing what it could to help, even sending a survey email to gauge changes and to see how students were doing.

She said she just learns better in a classroom. Without that environment, she was worried that she would not do as well as in face-to-face classes, especially as CSU was new to her.

The past year was tough, but she's determined to put it behind her, and she's looking forward to meeting her classmates. 

“I do wish there would have been something I could have done to be able to meet more people on campus so I could have made some friends,” Kiss said.

Now, with vaccinations becoming available, she hopes her sophomore year will be a different story.