Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk freshmen adjust to COVID-19 restrictions

Clarissa LaGasse
Dorm room door at Suffolk University

Starting college as a freshman is hard enough. But for many members of Suffolk University’s freshmen, social distancing restrictions due to a global pandemic has made for an even more difficult adjustment. 

The class of 2024 has learned how to navigate Zoom instead of Suffolk’s academic buildings, connect with a professor virtually and other ways to learn online instead of in person. However, the hardest adjustment COVID-19 has forced freshmen to face the change in the social aspect of college.

According to the Suffolk Reopening Guide, which outlines COVID-19 and social distancing regulations on campus, residents at 10 West and Modern Theatre will have access to the Smith Hall Café during dining hours.

This means that students living in One Court Street and Nathan R. Miller Hall will not be able to enter Smith Hall Cafe. This is similar to last year, except instead of being checked in by someone who lives in that building, students living in different residence halls cannot go into other residence halls at all. 

Freshmen also do not have roommates and cannot gather in groups of more than 10 in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the guide said. But these regulations have still been hard on freshmen, who typically make friends by having roommates and hanging out with students at other halls. 

Freshman Maura Sullivan is a broadcast journalism major who is living in one of the residence halls this semester. She loves to collaborate with friends on assignments and homework, but COVID-19 restrictions have made that hard for her to do. 

Sullivan said not being able to hang out with friends in other residence halls has been the most difficult barrier she faces on a daily basis. 

Currently, all residence freshmen are living in one of the five Suffolk residence halls. Residence sophomores are living in one of three university-sponsored hotels. 

“I think that a limited number of guests should be allowed into each other’s residence halls. If we can eat together, why can’t we hang out together?” said Sullivan. 

Freshman law major Caitlin McHugh said she also wishes that students could go in other students’ dorms. 

“Basically, it’s hard to have a big group of friends. You honestly cannot do that” she said.  

McHugh said she envisioned what college would look like when she was starting her junior year in high school, and expected to meet a ton of people during her freshman year at Suffolk. Given the current circumstances, she said college is the almost the complete opposite of what she thought it was going to be. 

“This pandemic makes me frustrated because I was looking forward to college, but I also think it is helping us adapt to the circumstances”.

Organizations across campus have been organizing events to welcome freshmen, such as student involvement fairs, which are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the start of the fall semester this year These events are held virtually and at a limited capacity in person to help freshmen meet more people.

Through these events and other experiences, freshmen across campus have found some positives in starting college during a global pandemic.

Sullivan said she “has learned how to use Zoom and Blackboard a lot better” during this time, and noted that the professors are much more organized than she expected, even over Zoom.

Although the beginning freshman year of college may sound like a nightmare to some, many freshmen at Suffolk have been able to enjoy their experience so far. 

Suffolk freshman and political science major Alicia Bibi, who also plays soccer for Suffolk, spoke about how much she loves the city. Bibi is not from around Boston, but she frequently came to visit Boston during her high school years. 

“Honestly I really like it,” Bibi said. “Going into Suffolk at school I was a bit worried about it because I go into Boston a lot and I was scared I was going to get sick of it really quickly, but I’m not. I actually really love it here.”

Bibi had been able to find a balance between schoolwork, hanging out with friends and soccer quickly, and said she has not seen COVID-19 restrictions getting in the way of a positive college experience. 

“I feel like it allows me to get used to doing my schoolwork without having to compete in games. I am able to get used to the schoolwork now so then when we have our season I’ll be used to it”.

Follow Clarissa on Twitter @Clarissalagasse


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Suffolk freshmen adjust to COVID-19 restrictions