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Navigating education during a pandemic

by Amanda Fraser

On March 10, 2020, the State of Michigan announced its first positive cases of the coronavirus, and nine days later, Rochester University went into shutdown.

While the coronavirus had an effect on everyone, the high school class of 2020 faced unprecedented challenges and transitions. Students missed out on canceled proms, had to hop on Zoom, and they were uncertain about when school would resume. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.

Then, they had to transition into life as a college student—still under the safety protocols. Some of today’s RU seniors were already on campus prior to the shutdown, and they experienced a different transition.

Georgii Reshotka, a senior information systems/programming major who is an international student, said, “Going to RU during the pandemic was a weird experience. During the lockdown, there were only around 20 people living on campus. We were not allowed to sit together in the cafeteria, did not have access to the arena or the weight room. We had to have our temperature checked every morning to get a wristband in order to be able to go to eat. In general, it was an interesting experience and definitely not a good way to start your college journey.”

As the world began to gradually emerge from the pandemic, the class of 2020 then had to endure another transition, and that was going back to “normal.”

Aleah Dymond, a senior nursing major, said, “With COVID we were used to having extensions with projects and papers, and tentative deadlines. It was easy to sit in on an online lecture and not be actively participating. Once we were fully back in person, you have to be more engaged, which for me was hard to focus in class for long periods of time.”

The 2024 RU graduating class had their high school senior years disrupted and their first years in college were completed wearing masks, distancing themselves from others, and doing required daily health screening check-ins. It was definitely unusual times.

With the transitions they had to endure over the past few years, they are now ready to step out of the university setting and into their professional lives.


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