The Class of 2020. Where are they now?

Molly Lavelle, Writer

The class of 2020 experienced their senior year different than any other. Not only did they miss out on a normal graduation and exciting summer, but they are also dealing with the struggles of being a freshman in college through these hard times. The students went to a variety of schools across the country, and so are dealing with many different situations. Moving to a new school with little/if any friends is already a challenge, let alone the fact that these students have to deal with a hindered college experience. From COVID living situations and their adjusted individual social life, 2020 seniors are dealing with their new lives. 

Moving into your dorm is one of the most exciting things for a new college student. For many people this year thankfully, it was still an event to look forward to. Many students have moved into a dorm or apartment on their school campus. Whether they have three roommates or zero, students are learning to enjoy time in their dorms. For many, this is the only place they will be spending their time during the first semester. Many schools like University of Alabama, Elon University, and Villanova University closed down the common rooms on different floors to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19 between students. Schools require students to wear masks everywhere they go. The only exceptions are their dorm rooms. Luckily, numerous schools have open dining halls so students can get food of their choice. Even though many classes across the country are being held online, some schools are offering in-person lectures. Students must wear their mask and sit far apart from each other, but at least they are having face to face learning situations. This is not the case in all schools, however. Weldin Dunn, Class of 2020, is living on the University of Delaware campus in an apartment having no contact with other students in a learning environment. His classes are all over zoom which can hinder the social aspect many college students long for. We see a common thread of this disappointment felt by students at many schools. However, some universities are able to do more for their students. 

Greek life is an important aspect for certain students going into college. Though many universities do not hold rush until the second semester, University of Alabama is trying their best to make the entire greek life experience fun for the students while still being safe and obeying COVID guidelines. Sam Shipp and Ashlee Borst are two students who enjoyed this process very recently. Borst ‘20 explains, “We held rush all online. Bid day was in person, however, everyone was wearing masks and was six feet apart. We are allowed to get food at the house and go to study and eat, but no events like date parties and swaps are able to happen.” Other schools, like Penn State who don’t incorporate Greek life at all during their school year, are still allowing students to be in contact with each other through numerous clubs and organizations. When asked about their social life, many students explained how it was difficult to meet new people. Remy Stewart ‘20 said, “College has definitely not been how I expected it to be. It has been really hard to meet people considering we have not been able to have parties or even go in each other’s dorms anymore.”

 One student’s experience is particularly unique. Jadyn Elliot was supposed to be a freshman at Haverford University playing for their volleyball team. She was registered in classes, had a dorm, but something just felt off to her. She made the last-minute decision to take a gap year and work in an office until next year when the pandemic is hopefully more under control. Elliot ‘20 explained, “I considered how different the campus environment would be with the social distancing guidelines, hybrid class schedules, and the canceled volleyball season. I am taking two online classes and I’m working in an office environment to build my resume during the year.” She also described how it has been tough finding things to pursue in her gap year because things are closed and not always safe. 

Though these students are all experiencing different beginnings to a new chapter of their life, they all share the bond of being a Wilmington Friends graduate and having important morals in their lives. Regardless of how long they were a student at Friends, the staff, environment, and community taught them life lessons they will remember forever. Taking their time to share their experiences with a freshman writer shows the quaker values still being lived out in their day to day lives. This truly shows that no matter where they end up or what they encounter, we are all in this together, as a family. Even though they are all cheering on different schools now, they will forever be part of Wilmington Friends.