Freshman Alicia Liu has never taken a class on USC’s campus before, so the return to what we once called “regular” classes this fall will be anything but normal for her.
“It will probably be hard for me to navigate around the campus because I’ve only been to the campus once,” Liu said.
Liu is currently living in Beijing, China with her family. Although she has enjoyed the quality time spent with her parents and younger sister, it has been difficult for her to find ways to interact with her peers.
“It’s harder to make new friends when we are not on campus,” Liu said, hoping the school will make the transition for the class of 2024 as smooth as possible.
In planning for the return to campus, Liu intends to get vaccinated and follow the university’s guidance on mask-wearing.
In an email to students on Feb. 19 USC President Carol Folt said that the school has been advocating for “increased campus access.”
“Given the decline in cases and the vaccine rollout, we are planning for a full return to campus for the fall semester, with in-person classes and residential life,” Folt wrote.
Folt also expects health guidelines in L.A. County to become increasingly more lenient leading up to the return to campus in the fall. Recent data shows the county is close to qualifying for the yellow tier in the economic-reopening blueprint, the least restrictive category.
Since the email’s release, there have been many steps made which tease an in-person fall semester.
On-campus research activity has increased to full capacity while maintaining proper social distancing rules, and a handful of USC Libraries have opened to students at reduced capacity.
Many students said they’re eager to return to campus.
Sophomore music industry major Jamie Gelman found the online setting difficult as a musician, and is looking forward to an in-person setting again.
“It’s been difficult to have effective and meaningful collaborations with my fellow musicians,” Gelman said.
For transfer students like Caroline Egan, returning to campus means kickstarting her student life at USC: “I still haven’t had the USC experience, and the in-person learning environment is way more motivating for me.”
After a year of being able to get out of bed just five minutes before class and many more open-note evaluations than traditional tests, getting back to in-person classes will be a bit of an adjustment for many students.
Biology major Madison Nygren admits she is “really nervous” about returning to in-person classes. She fears that Zoom fatigue limited her ability to retain the knowledge in the classes she took virtually.
“I have to take the second portion of my organic chemistry class when I’m back in person,” Nygren said. “The problem is I don’t really know the first part that well, so the second half will be a nightmare.”
Emily Farshi—a sophomore business administration major—agrees, and said she’s benefited from being able to rewatch lectures.
While it might take a minute to get back in the swing of things, students are looking forward to the simple things, like walking across campus and saying hello to peers and professors.
“It’s going to be an adjustment for sure,” sophomore business administration major Milena van der Reis said. “But I’m definitely excited to be back in a classroom environment where I can have real human interaction.”