University of Connecticut students have said the beginning of the semester had been shaky starting out, but they are glad to be back on campus in person.
“It’s been a little rough just because it’s junior year,” said Dominic Parciasepe, a fifth-semester environmental engineering major. “But it’s been fun getting back in person.”
Parciasepe said COVID-19 had been an interesting time for him in the previous semester. He said he was on campus and it felt very empty and while he said online learning was easier than in-person courses, the courses were less engaging.
“I like just being able to feel more involved and interact with those around me rather than being in a Zoom call with everyone,” Parciasepe said.
Parciasepe said he is on the men’s crew team and that he is looking forward to competing again and trying to find an internship.
“I LIKE JUST BEING ABLE TO FEEL MORE INVOLVED AND INTERACT WITH THOSE AROUND ME RATHER THAN BEING IN A ZOOM CALL WITH EVERYONE.”Dominic Parciasepe
Samuel Pontes, a fifth-semester environmental engineer, also said his junior year has been rough trying to balance his workload after returning to campus.
“Now that we’re back in person, feeling a bit hefty, trying to keep up with assignments and exams that are given out, but it’s going,” Pontes said.
He said COVID-19 was an unusual period for his studies, and during the Fall 2021 semester, he felt a disconnect from others while trying to juggle work and assignments that he believes didn’t stick.
“It didn’t feel real, almost like a lucid dream,” Pontes said. “The only benefit was staying home and being with family, but sometimes I get upset thinking about that. I lost a good year or two to COVID-19, that time being on campus around other people, socializing.”
Pontes said he’s happy students are back on campus. He said being around people, even when just heading to the library or the classroom, brightens his day.
“Yeah, it’s nice when you’re home and you can stay in your pajamas all day, roll out of bed to your next class, have food in your kitchen,” Pontes said. “That was really nice, but in my opinion, it’s worth giving that up just to be here having that social aspect, just networking and connecting.”
Thomas Connolly, a third-semester finance major, said he hopes to finish the rest of the semester strong.
“IT DIDN’T FEEL REAL, ALMOST LIKE A LUCID DREAM. THE ONLY BENEFIT WAS STAYING HOME AND BEING WITH FAMILY, BUT SOMETIMES I GET UPSET THINKING ABOUT THAT. I LOST A GOOD YEAR OR TWO TO COVID-19, THAT TIME BEING ON CAMPUS AROUND OTHER PEOPLE, SOCIALIZING.”Samuel Pontes
“For spring break, I went to Florida,” Connolly said. “I felt a little burnt out when I came back as a lot of students do. But I’m definitely gonna lock down and grind for the rest of the semester.”
Connolly said the beginning of the semester was difficult due to the two weeks of online instruction. He said instructors were pressed to get a lot of assignments and tests in, and he felt that a similar situation may be happening after students return from the break.
“The week I got back, I had a lot of exams that I’m gonna take home tomorrow,” Connolly said. “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure considering we just got back.”
Connolly said he is on UConn’s club golf team, and he was looking forward to intramural sports. He said he was looking forward to getting outside in general and has a bit of cabin fever after being locked up all year due to the pandemic and is looking forward to the last few weeks of the semester.
“To anyone who is struggling to find motivation, when you look back on it, it’ll definitely be worth all the time and effort you put in at the end of the semester when you get good grades and everything pays off,” Connolly said.