Five First-Year Students Discuss Their Fall 2020 Experience

Members of the Class of 2024 offer glimpses of what it’s been like to come to Muhlenberg during a pandemic.

 Friday, November 13, 2020 09:00 AM

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Melanie Halbert ’24. Photos by Marco Calderon and Paul Pearson

“I have never been thriving more socially than I am right now. Two upperclassmen in the theatre & dance Facebook group, they took a bunch of theatre & dance first-year students and threw them all into a group chat. We all had each other on the first day. Some of them I’m still close with. I go to a lot of Hillel events, and that’s where I met some friends. I met my closest friends through my classes. Because we were all quarantined at the beginning of COVID, everyone’s been hungry for new friends and interaction.”
Melanie Halbert ’24

“My only real COVID fear was that we were all going to come here and we were going to be idiots and it would spread through us like wildfire. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that a lot of us have the same views on this, that it’s important that we social-distance, because if we want to stay here, we need to make sure that we don’t have an outbreak. Something I’ve heard from a lot of my friends is that we didn’t pack enough warm clothes. We thought, ‘We’re going to be here for two weeks and then they’re going to send us home.’ I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life, and down there, we wear coats for a little bit of warmth, but mostly for fashion. I’ve had to text all my friends that I’ve met up here like, ‘Hey, can y’all ask your parents where I should buy a winter coat from?’”
AJ Henley ’24 (to read a longer version of Henley’s story that ran in the Fall 2020 issue of Muhlenberg Magazine, click here)

“Our generation is so in tune with technology, and there are so many different ways of communicating. Once you reach out, through social media or by talking to the person who’s in front of you in the dining hall or who’s in one of your in-person classes, it’s not as hard as it may seem to make those connections and make friends. And, there are a lot of opportunities for students to gather and still be responsible. I've been able to socialize through a lot of online, virtual activities—trivia, bingo, whatever it may be. Then, as long as you're still being safe, you also get some limited physical interaction with the other students. Because we're all trying to mitigate and stop the spread, I think that that actually brings our community together—not physically, but in more of a deeper sense.”
Theo Judson ’24

“I’ve been in a fortunate position because I play lacrosse—me and three other recruits, we really clicked, and we’ve been hanging out pretty much 24/7. We’ve also connected with the men's lacrosse team: They bought a projector, and we watched the first NFL football game of the season projected outside. We lift with the volleyball girls, so we've become close with them as well. Lifting in a face mask really isn't that bad. I've become used to that. But running in the mask … I feel like I'm breathing and a mask is going in my mouth and it's suffocating me. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s becoming easier.”
Elisabeth Loiselle ’24

“Even before I came on campus, I was absolutely, 100% taking all the precautions. I was wearing like three masks anytime I went outside. I really did not want to get COVID, and I didn't want anyone I knew or associated with to get COVID either. I brought a lot of Lysol wipes and gloves to campus. I was prepared, but I did still have fears. I’ve gotten not as stressed out, because I’m taking the right precautions … My friends are one of a kind. When we come together, we make magic. However, we still social-distance. We all wear masks. We spend a lot of time at the Red Door—we do our homework there and eat there—and we’ve gone on walks and to the movies happening on campus. We have a lot of good conversations and fun times together.”
Matthew McCray ’24