In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic upended everyone’s lives, especially college students. Many schools were forced to shut down and move classes online, which made communication and social life difficult, especially for transfer students and freshmen just entering college.
Students who transferred to Loyola Marymount University during the pandemic said there were limited resources provided for students, advisors were unhelpful and e-mail seemed to be the only form of communication available to stay on track academically.
“I have been told different things from different advisors. Some things were incorrect and I had to navigate the school by myself. During COVID, the accessibility to faculty was non-accessible,” said Cameron Cummings, a senior at LMU who transferred when courses were online.
“I couldn’t figure out how to talk to someone. No one was answering the phone and I felt like everyone was confused about what was going on. [The Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts] was confusing and was not accommodating,” Cummings, who transferred from the University of Colorado at Boulder, added.
LMU offered some services to transfer students during the pandemic, but not enough, according to some new Lions.
“There was a peer leader that reached out to me. The orientation class helped me get to know my classmates. I really don’t think they helped enough though,” said Madeline Pontius, an LMU senior and recent transfer student. “I felt like we were on our own, but being online made it easier to become friends with other students.”
Freshmen also struggled with their transitions from high school to college during the pandemic.
Peter O’Donnell, an LMU sophomore, started college during the pandemic and struggled to meet classmates. O’Donnell said he found it hard to be social during his online experience.
“It was pretty terrible,” he said. “It was definitely better than staying at home, but it still was tough. It was really hard to meet new people since there were very few social events and class was online. I’m happy with the way things turned out, but me and all of my fellow sophomores agreed that freshman year was an awful year.”
On the other hand, many students who enter LMU during the pandemic enjoyed their online experiences. Some said online schooling seemed to allow for more flexibility and less anxiety.
“I liked online because as a transfer, I didn’t know much because I could hide behind the screen a little bit. It felt easier and less overwhelming because I wasn’t face to face with everyone. It was new for everyone,” said Pontius.
Cummings also enjoyed her online experience while being home. “It was perfect because you got what you put into it and the notes and lectures being posted and meetings being recorded was more useful than having to write things down. I also liked how I didn’t have to commute, and it was just opening my laptop and logging onto Zoom.”
A 2020 survey from PR Newswire stated that only 19% of teens think that school should be fully in-person, 42% of students would prefer to be fully remote and 37% would prefer hybrid schooling.
Mayah Bosworth, a sophomore at LMU, had a different opinion on online schooling.
“It was a stressful online year that was mentally challenging,” said Bosworth. “I am so thankful that my parents let me move to Playa Del Oro for my second semester because it helped me not feel alone in my experience. The first semester I spent at home with my family was really hard on me, especially seeing all my other friends who were allowed to live on campus.”