“Hopeful.” “Safe.” “Engaged.” Students Share Hopes for the Fall Semester
Thrilled to say hello to friends and goodbye to Zoom, they embrace the start of a new school year, even with masks
The last year and a half was anything but typical for college students, whose experience included classes and club meetings often happening remotely, dining halls and FitRec operating at reduced capacity, and the close bonds that define the campus experience strained.
This semester promises to be (somewhat) more normal, thanks to the University’s mandate that on-campus faculty, staff, and students be vaccinated, BU’s robust coronavirus testing program, and continued masking and other health and safety protocols. In addition to freshmen, some sophomores are stepping on campus for the first time, and many upperclassmen will reunite with friends they haven’t seen in person for a year and a half.
How are students feeling? BU Today asked, and students answered, expressing excitement about a sense of belonging again, eagerness to reconnect with friends in person, and relief about a much-deserved Zoom break.
Karmynn Faye Lustria (COM’22)
I’m hoping that everyone can stay healthy and that I’ll be looking at screens as little as possible. I think that our education is important, but everyone has also been through a lot, so I just hope that the campus environment puts everyone’s physical and mental health first. As for the second thing, it’s been really hard to connect with folks and concentrate through all the Zoom meetings [last] year, so I’m hoping that in-person classes will be able to stay in-person.
Chike Asuzu (COM’23)
Above all else, I am hoping for a sense of community that feels tangible. Having my freshmen year suddenly halted by the COVID outbreak in the middle of my second semester here put my college experience in a limbo that seemed endless. Since it is not lost on me and so many others that this is far from over, I think the most I can aim for is sharing space with the people I always wanted to meet here.
Faisal Halabeya (CAS’22)
I am so excited to fully see and be with my peers, friends, professors, colleagues, supervisors, and others on campus. Over Zoom I had to spend so much of my energy on the tech—and on trying to focus—that I really missed out on that human-to-human interaction. In-person education means being able to direct 100 percent of my attention on the people around me and the task at hand, whether that’s learning physics or just having dinner together.
Campus also feels safer to me this year. Knowing that around 99 percent of the people on campus are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 gives me the courage to put myself out there again. I am thrilled to be able to walk to classes, meet up with friends more liberally, and live my life with fewer anxieties about getting seriously ill or infecting others.
Ruby Maute (COM’23)
Wow. I have so many hopes for the fall, but with everything that has happened in the past year and a half, who knows what to expect. At the very least I hope that everyone will wear their masks and will adhere to BU’s testing guidelines so we aren’t sent home.
I hope those who choose to party will do so safely and won’t cause a spike in positive COVID cases. I hope professors will continue to record their lectures. I hope COVID and all of its variants go away. I hope the GSU Panda Express doesn’t close. I hope that going back to in-person classes and the multitude of in-person events will lift people’s spirits and improve their mental health. I hope that I reconnect with my friends from freshman year. Oh, and I hope I don’t get COVID.
Nyah Jordan (COM’22)
As Student Body president, my hopes in terms of managing healthy spaces for academic and social settings extend way beyond what I want for myself. College can already be stressful under normal circumstances, so the Student Government is finding ways not only to make the University better, but to bring a sense of safety and belonging back to the community. Some initiatives that we are currently working towards are creating even more wellness and social spaces across campus, getting students involved in mayoral campaigns, addressing food insecurity and environmental justice at BU, and so much more.
As a senior, I want to explore the city of Boston as much as I can before I go. As simple as it sounds, I’m excited to return to movie nights with friends, having a picnic in Amory Park, and even meeting up with my executive board in person. This last year and a half has made me appreciate all of the little things, and I can’t wait for the Student Government to help the student body come alive again through amazing initiatives, events, and projects to define our new normal.
Kristen Schallert (CAS’22)
As students return to campus, my hope is that social gatherings—while (understandably) eagerly awaited—will be treated with caution and appreciation. The safety of those around us is paramount, and I pray that our community considers that while meeting new people and rekindling old friendships.
The 2021-2022 school year will be my last on campus so I wish to leave a lasting impact by carrying out my duties as the It’s On Us president and Allocations Board chair to the fullest. Having the opportunity to achieve this in person will be all the more meaningful. So with that, I would love to remember my peers in good spirits, interacting safely with one another as the community gradually adopts this long-awaited “in-person” format.
Cecilia Szkutak (CAS’22)
I transferred to Boston University as a sophomore in fall 2019. After a semester and a half, the new home I had made in Boston quickly crumbled as I was sent packing back to my hometown in Vermont.
This year I am looking forward to so many things. Although it will be my senior year, this will also be my first full year of on-campus learning at BU. I am looking forward to all the little things—finally speaking face-to-face with my professors and peers again, studying in my favorite spots on campus, and continuing to immerse myself in the Boston community. This fall I am working as a campaign manager for a Cambridge City Council race. This is a dream job that I would not have managed without the support of fellow classmates and the experience I gained through leadership opportunities at BU. I am excited to be able to learn both inside and outside the classroom, something that is truly unique to living in such an incredible city.
Amos Mwaura (CAS’22)
I’m excited for this upcoming semester. I was here over the summer, and I could already start to see campus becoming more lively again. BU will become even more lively when everyone moves in, which I’m pumped about. I’ve missed the feeling of walking down Commonwealth Avenue and waving to at least five people on my way to class. I’ve missed going to in-person events. I’ve missed being able to visit my friends in other residence halls. Even with the uncertainty COVID-19 variants provide, I’m optimistic it will be a great semester.
I’m also excited to go to in-person class again. I’m definitely more engaged when I’m learning in person, plus I feel I get to know my professors on a more personal level, which is important to me. I have a diverse and exciting course load for my senior year so I’m excited for the more traditional learning style to return.
Wish Pandey (CAS’24)
I have very high hopes for this school year. First, I hope to enjoy a (mostly) normal college experience for the very first time, since my freshman year was completely upended by the pandemic. I look forward to attending in-person classes, meeting up with my clubs and organizations in person for the first time, and to indulging in large group settings. I’m excited to go out without constantly fearing that I might catch a virus and harm the people around me, which looking back now definitely took a toll on my mental health. Although I will undoubtedly continue prioritizing safety, I’ve felt more at ease after being vaccinated and seeing Massachusetts reach high levels of public immunity. With that being said, we cannot ignore the fact that the world is still very much affected by COVID-19 and all of its variants. However, the optimist in me still dreams of a “Roaring 20s” era for this school year and beyond—a time for us all to heal, find ourselves again, and enjoy life to the fullest.