Sophomores, I feel you! The problem discussed in this article is one that has already been discussed to exhaustion, and yet its relevance is still felt by Rollins students— especially the sophomores. The problem, of course, being COVID-19.
If you were on campus, you may remember the stillness and the silence. Unlike the typical college campus, Rollins felt empty. Peer mentor Alex De Felice (‘23) remembers it well: “Campus was so quiet last year, and now it finally feels busy again,” she said.
Staff members echo the same joy in seeing and hearing both old and new faces as students hurry to class while laughing with their peers. Of course, even with the excitement of a full school once again, lingering effects from the pandemic continue to plague the student body.
The previous school year, Rollins started a bit later than normal in September, partly due to the time it took to arrange a housing plan for approximately 2,600 students attending Rollins, many of whom had originally planned to live on school grounds.
All students were forced to move to single occupancy dorms in an effort to keep COVID-19 at bay. Freshmen and seniors received priority for on-campus housing, with unoccupied rooms being given mainly to non-Floridian sophomores and juniors. This caused many Florida residents to remain virtual as the school year ramped up.
Additionally, with the risk of COVID-19 transmission, events and traditions such as orientation, Candlewish, and the Gateway Fair had to take the backseat.
Many current sophomores felt slighted by this; they missed out on important memories and opportunities to get involved and make friends. Some sophomores, however, are taking a broader, more positive outlook.
As said by student athlete Morgan Reilly (‘24), “My experience at Rollins so far this semester has been completely different. It has been an overall more college-like experience. We are allowed to practice with sports teams, have events with sororities and fraternities, and so much more. Although the pandemic is ongoing, I am so grateful to Rollins for bringing us a new normal this semester.”
Hang in there, sophomores! Although you may have arguably taken the toughest blow to your college experience, De Felice believes that “there is definitely more of a capacity for on-campus events this year compared to last year due to less restrictions.”
So even if you are a sophomore who feels as though you may have missed out on your freshman year experience, try to take advantage of the many opportunities Rollins has to get involved!
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur or Rollins College.
Have a differing opinion about sophomores? Send us your responses. We want to hear your voice.