Raven Harper | Campus Editor
For many students at Hampton University, returning to in-person learning was a huge relief after being remote for over a year. However, after a couple of months of being back, some are still struggling to adjust to campus life.
Nina Pinto, a senior Psychology Pre-Med major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says it has been a weird adjustment so far, which has made it very stressful for herself and many of her peers.
“I feel the student in a lot of people died in March of 2020, so getting back into the habit of going to classes and the workload is hard,” Pinto said. “I really have to put that effort in now that wasn’t enforced for like an entire year.”
Hampton University quickly shifted to remote learning in March 2020, after sending students home because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic. For almost 14 months, students attended classes online.
With the rollout and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country, Hampton reopened the campus in August for the 2021 fall semester for in-person learning to students who were fully vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID-19.
In the first weeks of October, students already have experienced Homecoming week, with midterms immediately following. Pinto feels as though the school year is quickly progressing.
“At least from my point of view, I feel like Hampton is almost trying to recreate what was the normal academic experience, when in actuality, it has changed a lot,” Pinto said.
To help students adjust to this new normal, Pinto believes wellness days should have been implemented into this semester to help with the burnout she and many of her peers are currently dealing with.
“Post homecoming and midterms week, we were burnt out. I’m still burnt out,” Pinto said. “Wellness days back at home were great because it was a time to decompress from looking at a screen the entire day. However, I think they are needed now more than ever because we are trying to adjust to a new normal. So for us to not even be able to have the opportunity to take a break, it’s overwhelming.”
Last year during remote learning, the Student Government Association (SGA) implemented wellness days to address the students’ mental health concerns. SGA, in tandem with Hampton administration, scheduled a few days throughout the semester for no classes, advising students to take the time to focus on their well-being.
Pinto suggested that aside from wellness days, a possible fall break should have been considered.
“It’s really sad, but a lot of students are like, ‘I really need a break,’” Pinto said. “People, myself included, are very overwhelmed. I feel like maybe even just a four-day weekend for a fall break would have really helped alleviate stress and helped students get caught up a little.”
Madison Davenporte, a freshman Marketing major from Atlanta, Georgia, says that being new to Hampton as a first-year, along with the pandemic, has been a huge adjustment for her.
“This is my first time in college,” Davenporte said. “I spent pretty much my entire last year of high school online. So not only am I adjusting to getting back to being in person, but I’m adjusting to college life as well, so I would say it’s a lot harder and has been a challenge for me.”
Davenporte says the most challenging part of adjusting to campus life has been the fast-paced environment at Hampton this semester.
“Being online, the workload wasn’t as heavy,” she said. “However, now being in-person, I have such a heavy workload. It’s like once I’m done with something, there’s always something else that’s due right after.”
The lack of socialization during quarantine also played a role in Davenporte’s stress this semester, which she said made it difficult at first to be social and meet new people.
“Learning remotely, I got so used to being in my room all day that I’ve lost that social aspect,” Davenporte said. “So actually being here in person, it was harder getting out and meeting people than it normally would be.”
Davenporte thinks the administration should allow the student body to have more campus activities to help everyone get used to getting back to normal as much as possible.
“I understand that the school is being cautious of campus events and activities because they don’t want to have to close the campus down again, but a lot of our freshman class lost most of our senior year, and we feel like we’re losing some of our freshman year, too,” she said.
Davenporte said that many campus events and activities students had proposed or planned at the beginning of the semester were turned down.
Now that administration and student activities are allowing more and more to occur, she feels like it’s already late into the semester but is still hopeful for more campus activities soon.
“It just takes time to get used to,” Davenporte said.