Horizon Alumni Take on College Amidst a Pandemic


Andie Glanzer

A COVID-19 testing center at Wesleyan

When colleges across the country sent their students home in March for an “extended spring break,” no one could have foreseen the wave of postponements, delays, and cancellations the future would hold. Now, after six months of online classes and college students living back in their childhood bedrooms, the question arises: How has the college experience evolved since the pandemic?

Some of the highlights of college for many students include late-night study breaks, living with strangers, going out with friends on weeknights, and attending sporting events. No student or professor could have predicted that a global pandemic could take away these events, the very things that make college such a wonderful experience for so many. However, COVID-19 has forced colleges to consider something much greater than offering their students the college experience; they now have a responsibility to keep their students, faculty, and the whole country safe.  

In early June, colleges began to roll out their plans to bring students back to campus. Many schools had three different plans in place: full in-person, hybrid learning, or full-remote. Based on health guidelines, college campuses are an extreme hotspot for the virus. It is inevitable that many college campuses will have outbreaks of COVID-19, considering all of the risks. Schools are also being hit hard by the financial loss accompanying a decline in student enrollment. 

The LHS graduating class of 2020 had an abrupt ending to their high school career in the spring and started their new college experience this fall. Many alumni have left Lynbrook to go to schools all across the country, having to quarantine and undergo COVID tests to just set foot on their new campuses. Others had to stay home this fall, watching their friends come and go as the pandemic rages on across college campuses. 

Former Horizon Editor and Class of 2020 alumnus Jimmy Parco is now a student at the University of Delaware. His school told its students to stay home this semester, and they were not welcome onto campus.

“At the time it was announced that we couldn’t live on campus, I didn’t think it was fair,” said Parco. “All of my friends were leaving to go away to school like I had planned, but Delaware isn’t letting any undergraduate students on campus. I really do wish I was spending my first semester on campus and experiencing that freshman year college experience. However, I am now kind of glad they kept us home. Many of my friends in college are either not able to do much, quarantining, or being sent home in a pit of uncertainty. I think sacrificing the fall semester to ensure our spring semester might be a better deal.”

Former Horizon Editor-In-Chief Jane Hoeflinger is attending Pennsylvania State University in person this semester, and her pandemic college experience is vastly different from Parco’s. She is currently fully on campus and shared that she is grateful for this. However, she is unsure of what the future holds. Penn State has had a cumulative total of 2,123 positive cases of Coronavirus and an active 819 positive cases on campus, according to the Penn State COVID-19 Dashboard.

“Penn State brought everybody back to campus this fall,” explained Hoeflinger. “We are not allowed to have other people in our residence halls, or we risk losing our housing contract. We also are required to wear masks everywhere on campus. However, we live in a party town. Students here are loosely abiding by the rules, and Penn State has almost no control over the culture on campus. The first week, I saw many parties throughout campus and knew immediately there is a very good chance I will be sent home.”

Hoeflinger said that despite its pitfalls, she loves being a Penn State student and is so happy to be able to live on campus: “This the only college experience I have ever known.”

Horizon alumna Andie Glanzer started at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, this fall. She says her school is extremely strict with its guidelines, and she feels it has provided a very safe environment. 

“When we first got to campus, I had to quarantine for two weeks and was only allowed to interact with my roommate. We are not allowed inside most buildings, so we get our food and eat outside in tents. Now we can interact with more people in our buildings, but we have to wear a mask everywhere except our rooms or in our bathrooms. I have been tested for COVID twice a week since I have been on campus.” 

Wesleyan has had a total of six cases according to their Coronavirus Dashboard. “Students are lightly bending the rules, but there have not been any parties on campus, and Wesleyan threatens to suspend students who are actively partying and in large groups without masks,” continued Glanzer.

When asked if she was having fun in college, Glanzer said, “This is definitely not the way I envisioned spending my freshman year. Most of my classes are online, and I really do miss being in a classroom environment. But I’ve met a lot of great friends, and I am grateful to be on campus.”

The uncertainty will not end when all schools allow students back on campus. Many students throughout the country feel the weight of the world on their back. The Horizon alumni, experiencing three different college situations in the middle of a pandemic, each do not know what the rest of the semester, or even the year, will look like. The question on everyone’s mind right now is: How much longer do we think this could last?