By Isabel Landers
Gathered around tables in the cafeteria and sand volleyball courts, jumping in the car with nowhere to go: This is how Trevecca freshmen have found community amidst a global pandemic.
Freshmen students have learned to make traditions of their own. Ending their high school career with canceled proms and high school graduations prepared them for the things they would miss out on coming into college.
“It’s not really difficult to adapt to the situation we are in because it’s not like we have known anything different,” said Adam Newman, a freshman.
Trevveca’s 336 freshmen are among the 3.2 million high school graduates to start college during a global pandemic, according to educationdata.org. College administrators nationwide have struggled to make students feel like they are a part of a community.
Freshman Mia Turner has enjoyed being on campus despite the pandemic. Finding a good group of friends while attending her classes and living in the dorm rooms have made her feel more connected.
“With Trevecca being a smaller school they have been very intentional about making us feel welcomed,” said Turner.
The hardest part of trying to gather students is the COVID-19 regulations. Under Davidson county Phase Three guidelines, gatherings of more than eight people are prohibited, said Rachel Thompson, social life director
“It’s hard to find a community when there can only be eight people coming and going from an event at a time,” said Thompson.
Newman wishes that there were more things that he and his friends could do on campus. It has been a bit challenging to find affordable and safe things to do with his friends, he said.
‘It would be different, and maybe easier to find community if we had more inside common areas on campus so that we could be friends with more than just dudes,” said Newman.
Deron Medley, a freshman Biology major, came to school with two friends from his hometown. When it was warm outside, he spent most of his time playing sand volleyball with his friends, along with many other freshmen. He hopes to find something like that this semester but doesn’t know how possible that is because of cold weather.
Megan McGhee, director of new student programs at Trevecca, knows this year’s freshmen have had to overcome many firsts for Trevecca students.
Trevecca’s LINK program, which exists to help students transition to Trevecca and college life, has been a key part of creating community among freshmen. The pandemic has shifted the way that this class operates.
“The class dynamic has changed which makes it hard to have discussion and link is a very discussion-based class. Things that would have happened in the classroom every day have changed this year,” said McGhee.
LINK leaders still found ways to connect students virtually with activities like online game night and Netflix watch parties.
The uncertainty of not knowing when things might begin to look normal again means that this year’s freshmen will set a precedent for the years to come.
“This year’s students will get to rewrite what it looks like to be a freshman,” McGhee said.