Freshmen feelings: Students arrive nervous, excited

SU freshmen arrive nervous, excited

While some are excited to be on campus for the first time, others are concerned about being responsible with COVID-19 risks.
Published: August 24, 2020

This year, move-in looked different. Incoming freshmen arrived in masks, socially distanced and apprehensive about the weeks to come. While some schools and colleges chose to forgo their annual Opening Weekend plans, the Newhouse School welcomed students outside on its plaza.

After a mass gathering of freshmen on SU’s Quad, students are already predicting how long their school will remain open while others are excited to be on campus after having their high school senior year cut short. Newhouse freshmen shared their perspectives about the school year.

Emma Lambiaso: Lawrinson Hall

Emma Lambiaso, Newhouse School freshman

“Obviously the thing on the quad wasn’t good at all and someone said in a Zoom last night, it was really interesting, he was like ‘we expected this to happen let’s hope it’s just a learning experience and everyone’s done and we don’t have it happen again’,” said Lambioso, a magazine, news, and digital journalism freshman. “I think Syracuse really needs to enforce things in order for that to happen. There are schools like Notre Dame that are shutting down. I have a friend at Notre Dame. She thought they were going to make it to Thanksgiving because they have really strict rules, stricter than us, but then they had off-campus parties and now they’re all quarantined in their dorms for two weeks. They can’t leave and they have all online classes. I’m just waiting to see if we’ll be here longer than two weeks. I like to see that Syracuse seems to be taking it seriously.”

Sophia Anastasakis & Isabel Bekele: Sadler Hall

Sophia Anastasakis (left) and Isabel Bekele (right), Syracuse University freshmen

“It’s definitely been a little bit difficult,” said Anastasakis, a magazine, news and digital journalism freshman. “It’s intimidating to be a freshman I think in general, but then all things considered with the COVID restrictions, I think that it’s been a little more challenging. It’s hard trying to meet new people and wanting to talk to people from everywhere. It’s hard because the floor lounge capacity is only four people. Also, the wearing of the masks too can kind of be another barrier on top of the social awkwardness. It’s been challenging but at the same time we’re all going through it together. There is this comradery because everyone is experiencing this really strange thing, but we’re also really excited to make the most of what time we have here. It’s kind of a mix of emotions.”

Bekele, an advertising freshman, said the hardest part was walking around campus the first night and seeing other freshmen already connecting.

“I would just see all these big groups of freshmen and I was like, ‘How does everyone already know each other?’,” Bekele said. “I think what’s unique about Syracuse is that they had kids come here and quarantine. It was a little hard the first 24 hours for me because I felt like everybody already had their friend group because they had already been quarantined here, especially a lot of the people I was interacting with. So I was like ‘Oh my gosh am I an outsider on the second day?’

“I was expecting everything to be a little bit more strict, to be honest, and it’s kind of lax from what I’ve seen so far in the way that people are gathering and all the restrictions on campus I feel like the only blanket restriction that’s super enforced and that everybody follows is wearing your mask. People here are really good about wearing their masks so that’s something I feel comfortable about but there are a lot of grey areas.”

Jared Rowland: Flint Hall

Jared Rowland, Syracuse University freshman

“I think I definitely do feel safe on campus,” the broadcast and digital journalism freshman said. “I think the precautions that are being taken are honestly pretty reasonable. I don’t see how someone can complain about 25 people or less. It’s just part of being a person now. With the mask thing, people are being really good about it and I think that’s really reassuring especially now and especially here. I don’t think the precautions are too unreasonable.”

Cc Gulbrandsen and Jenny Destefano: Lawrinson and Sadler halls

Cc-Gulbrandsen (left) and Jenny Destefano (right), Syracuse University freshmen

“I’ve more so just been excited to be here, but I think it’s kind of scary when we get those emails that are very terrifying and getting threatened to be sent home,” said Gulbrandsen, a magazine, news, and digital journalism freshman. “I think everyone needs to be responsible. I put it more on the students to be responsible because it’s our years and we’re responsible for three other grades as well as ours, so I think it’s both ways but the students more so. It’s really exciting to be here and to be in school because my friends don’t have the same experience.”

Destefano, a magazine, news, and digital journalism freshman said she feels lucky to be back on campus.

“It’s really sad that some people are predicting that we’re going to go home in two weeks, and I just want to make the most of everything while I’m here. I think the mask protocols and social distancing measures have been good, but the whole thing with the Quad and DPS not breaking it up in time is kind of concerning. I’m a little nervous for my first week especially having in-person, online, in-person, online classes. It can get a little crazy to have only 10 minutes in between. I’ll figure that out though.”

Taylor Contarino and Sophie Cohen: Sadler and Lawrinson halls

Sophie Cohen (left) and Taylor Contarino (right), Syracuse University freshmen

Sophie Cohen, magazine, news, and digital journalism freshman said she is excited to have classes in person but is nervous students will get sent home.

“I’m just hopeful that we’ll stay because I really want to be here,” Cohen said.

“If I was in a crowd of over 100 people [at the Quad] I would be like ‘this feels weird.’ I can’t imagine going to a concert right now and being in a crowd. It feels so uncomfortable and wrong. It kind of sucks that it was right off the bat. I moved in that day and it happened that night. This is what we have to deal with.” 

Contarino, a broadcast and digital journalism freshman said she thinks Syracuse is doing what they can do ensure student safety.

“I’m definitely a little bit anxious but very energized. I’m very hopeful and optimistic that we can have the full semester,” Contarino said. “I think they’re definitely trying to enforce the rules as much as they can. I think the school wants this to be a full semester as much as we all do. After everything we went through with our senior year of high school, I think Syracuse is working hard to ensure a successful fall semester. I wish the school planned more social events with enforced social distancing and wearing masks. Giving kids more things to do would prevent them from making their own mass gatherings.

“To be completely honest, I don’t think that the intention [of the Quad gathering] was bad. It seems like small groups of people started going and then it erupted into this one big mass gathering. I don’t think it was intentionally meant to be a big party, and it ended up being something that it shouldn’t have been.”