Day in the life of a freshman

Sydni Bratthauar, Staff Reporter

I visited John Carroll University in November 2019, before COVID-19 hit the United States.When I could finally move in after a semester of remote learning, I was nervous about how different my first year of college would be compared to a non-mask, no social distancing environment. In the end, excitement outweighed nervousness.

I knew my first semester on the campus would be different than I envisioned it during my senior year of high school. However, I am just happy to be living on campus! My move-in day started with a COVID-19 test, which is the new normal. I was overjoyed when I tested negative and could move into my dorm room in Hamlin Hall. 

This year, Hamlin Hall has transformed from a Greek Life dorm to a freshman dorm. (Sydni)

The first week went by slowly, but I viewed it as ‘the calm before the storm’ because classes started the following Tuesday, Jan. 19. One of my goals for the spring semester is to meet as many new people as possible, following the health guidelines, of course. Luckily, the 21st century has made communicating with people easier and more efficient, so connecting with others hasn’t been extremely hard. Technology also helps with homesickness, which I luckily have not experienced much. 

By now, I’ve lived through my first week of HyFlex classes. One of my classes is completely online, but I get to go to in-person classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. My biggest worry is getting lost and being late as a result. I’ve already gotten lost on campus so many times that I’ve lost count.

On the first day of classes, I had one online and one in-person,so I needed to make sure I had enough time to get to in-person class. As a Communications major, most of my classes are in the O’Malley Center, so I know the general vicinity of where to go. As a first year student, it’s a blessing to have everything in one place. 

O’Malley Center is home to various academic departments ranging from Communication to English and Language. (Sydni Bratthauar)

I had to ask some upperclassmen about where the actual classroom was, but I got there on time to Small Group Communication & Leadership. It was interesting to only see half my classmates’ faces due to the masks, however, I’d take a mask over remote learning any day.

The class ended at 12:15 p.m., so I was ready to eat. I headed over to the Lombardo Student Center, which contains the JCU Bookstore, Schott Dining Hall, Inn Between and The Cubby. There’s probably more there too, but I’m sticking with what I know from my first weeks here. The food at the dining hall is a variety of options, and it’s quite tasty for cafeteria food.

The past couple of days, I’ve gone to the Mail Center located in the Administration Building. I’ve had the most trouble navigating this building because it’s overwhelmingly large. The sign at the entrance of the building is supposed to state where things are located, but the sign points to more classrooms, more offices and so much more. 

Lombardo Student Center is home to the many working parts of the university. It is where students eat, work out, purchase textbooks and is full of various offices. The Carroll News, ResLife, JCU PD and WJCU are all neighbors in the student center. Do you know where those are all located? (Sydni Bratthauar)

I never thought I’d be going to the Mail Center multiple times a day, but my father ordered the wrong sized curtain rod for my dorm the first time around, and I needed to replace it. It was a complicated process, but I figured it out in the end.

My first two weeks on John Carroll’s campus have been great. I got to meet new people and explore some of the different buildings. Even though COVID-19 is making my freshman experience different from what I dreamed, I’m still glad the university decided to reopen for the spring semester and give its students the opportunity to have a somewhat normal semester.