College Students Attended All Virtual Classes

College student studying alone in dorm room during COVID-19 pandemic
Artwork by Anthony Faust
College student studying alone in dorm room during COVID-19 pandemic

For the Forgotten Class of seniors who graduated ceremony-less in the spring of 2020, those students who went on to college in the fall of 2020 kept the weirdness right on rolling. They were the class of students that got to start college during a pandemic, with all their classes being attended virtually.

Normally, the freshmen year at college is a year for wing-spreading: moving away from parents for the first time; meeting a whole new group of friends that aren’t from the same hometown; and independently navigating a college campus while pursuing higher education.

During the pandemic, however, nothing was normal. Freshman year of college was significantly altered. Some colleges didn’t even open student housing for incoming freshmen. For those who did, the dormitories had a ton of restrictions, sometimes forbidding students to visit other floors. Cafeterias were replaced with grab-and-go meals. Weekly COVID-19 tests were the norm in some schools. Dormitory rooms felt a little like prison cells, and the students were serving sentences isolated from loved ones.

Most colleges were virtual learning only. Students would listen to lectures and take notes from their dorm rooms, rather than 500-seat lecture halls. Zoom socials and virtual study groups were the full extent of the socialization many students experienced. Additionally, athletic events, one of the hallmarks of the college life, were played without fans in attendance.

Some students saw this huge shift coming and opted to take a gap year, typically taken by high school graduates prior to starting college, when universities switched to remote learning. Many factors, including financial difficulties, the diminished college experience due to online learning, and pandemic-related stress contributed to the trend of taking a gap year a more popular route. In fact, incoming freshmen enrollment fell by 13.1% in fall 2020.

The college experience has always been more than just getting an advanced education, and with the fun and exciting parts of college removed from the equation, what was left was kind of terrible way to start the journey of higher learning.

"This book will make you laugh and feel ALL the feelings."

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"One of the most delightful reads of this year! I highly recommend."

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"A great coffee table book. Easy to pick up read."

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"Great coffee table conversation starter."

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"Funny and fun to read. What a fun way to put the pandemic in perspective."

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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