Opinion | UI sophomores: college is just beginning

UI students finally transition back to in-person classes, a first time for the sophomore class


University of Iowa freshman line up for food and drinks outside the President’s Mansion during the OnIowa President’s Block Party on Sunday, August 19, 2018. OnIowa events help incoming university students engage and settle into their new environment.

Sophia Meador, Opinions Columnist

For many, the transition from high school to college is uncomfortable. Leaving the comfort of home behind and facing the uncertain futures is a challenge on its own. But for the University of Iowa sophomore class, we faced this transition alone because of precautions of the pandemic.

Though COVID-19 is far from disappearing, vaccines have enabled the UI to offer in-person instruction for the majority of fall 2021 classes. While this transition back to normalcy is a relief to all, the rising sophomore class awaits a normal college experience — with in-person classes — for the first time.

The last time I had classes entirely in-person was the last day prior to spring break – senior year of high school. While most students and faculty at the time were aware of COVID-19 at the time, I’m sure no one thought that would be the last full-day of in-person learning for more than a year.

Heading into the coming school year, it’s difficult to prepare for in-person learning while still comprehending the year we all just experienced. While the immediate halt and transition from in-person to online was difficult, many were able to find a new normal in logging onto class in pajamas rather than actually leaving their bed for class.

Most students found comfort in muting themselves and turning off cameras during Zoom classes, and some were even able to double task, scrolling through TikTok and attending lectures at once.

Though many of us experience Zoom fatigue from sitting through online classes all day, we also found a new normal through this mode of education.

As an incoming sophomore, this school year feels like uncharted territory of learning and being present – both physically and mentally. We now must move beyond the barrier of a computer screen and meet classmates face-to-face for the first time in over a year. I personally have felt anxiety and fearful thinking of this transition back to normal, which for us is brand new. However, I found comfort in the fact that college is not just resuming. It is finally beginning.

After the precarious freshman year we survived, sophomore year is our year to experience everything the UI has to offer. This year we should all dedicate our time and energy to finding pieces we can puzzle ourselves with in the student body.

As COVID-19 proved, our time in school can be cut short at any time. So, go to the meeting for a club you know nothing about, join the intramural team for the sport you were sub-par at in high school, meet with the study group in your challenging class and attend the events hosted by the UI before it is too late.

This is the year to make memories we missed out on freshman year: participating in “Iowa Wave” at the children’s hospital, experiencing Hawkeye Homecoming, and stepping foot in Carver-Hawkeye arena for the first time.

To anyone feeling anxious about going back to class; you can do this. Unlike our predecessors, freshman year taught us to be independent learners and not just students. With the independence we found in our first year of college, we are more than prepared to take on in-person education.

Now is the time we push ourselves as learners and grow with the help of students and faculty at our side. Don’t be afraid to go to office hours or ask a fellow student for help in class. The biggest obstacle to our college careers is – hopefully – behind us.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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