Students who graduated from UConn in 2020 had to adjust to about two months of online learning. For the graduating class of 2021, most classes remained online for another year.
According to several graduating students in the class of 2021, the pandemic caused an incomplete college experience and missed opportunities; whether it was seeing friends, going to clubs/classes or just the overall sense of community. Nonetheless, this year’s graduating class of 2021 enjoyed reminiscing about their past years at UConn.
“My most memorable year, by far, was freshman year because nothing can beat the excitement of leaving home and being a college student for the first time,” Nathan Choi, an eighth-semester computer science major, said. “I tried so many new things and met so many new people, which made every single day extremely exciting.”
Choi said he not only learned a lot about himself during his time at UConn, but added that online classes actually made his computer science classes easier. However, he was still sad to spend his last year missing out on intramural sports and clubs. Choi said he was disappointed that he had to pay full tuition for a fraction of the experience. After graduation, he will be working as a software engineer at The Hartford.
Isaiah Edwards, an eighth-semester digital media and design major, said he almost did not apply to college because he didn’t know his potential. He also hated the idea of change – and is still skeptical about it – but going to UConn challenged his identity. Edwards said that his sophomore year, when he developed long-term friendships by joining organizations like UConn Bros and UCTV, had to be his favorite.. Edwards said he will miss his friends and mentors who have helped him during his college experience.
“I tried so many new things and met so many new people which made every single day extremely exciting.”Nathan Choi
“I was hoping that getting back on campus this semester would act as a distraction to everything going on in the world and in my life,” Edwards said. “But it was really disappointing to see how dry campus was. Especially thinking about the things I missed out on and can never get back – my last UCONNIC, Huskython, end-of-the-year banquets, to name a few.”
Edwards stated that there were also times when he felt the UConn administration could have done a lot more to protect students against racism and hate. Edwards added that after graduation, he plans to promote Black artists in New Haven and help organize the second Black Haven Film Festival.
Ashlyn O’Boyle, an eighth-semester English major, transferred from Eastern Connecticut State University to UConn during her sophomore year. O’Boyle said her time at UConn was a mix of good and bad experiences. However, the events, clubs and professors made her experiences at UConn enjoyable.
“My most memorable time was my sophomore going into junior year because I made a lot more friends, got more involved with clubs, took a variety of different courses, used the new gym and was more comfortable with the campus,” O’Boyle said. “When I first got there, I was slightly overwhelmed, but by junior year I was confident with myself and my education.”
Like other graduating students, O’Boyle said her final year felt strange. During her senior year, she lived on campus for the fall semester, but moved back home for the spring semester. She missed how easy it was to make friends on campus. Now about to graduate, she feels there wasn’t really much support for seniors and she had to figure out things on her own. After graduation, O’Boyle is going to work as an English teacher in Harlem at Success Academy.
“I’m going to really miss walking through Fairfield Way and seeing a sea of people going to and from classes,” Choi said. “And though I didn’t realize this at the time, I’m also going to miss being able to go to the library with friends to grind for exams or even just do homework because the vibe was honestly really nice.”