Annenberg Radio

A Year on Pause: 2020 spring admits in the pandemic

2020 spring admits cope with the two year gap in their college experience.

The pandemic and online instruction have affected every USC student. But for 2020 spring admits, who started their freshman year on campus in the Spring instead of the fall and saw campus shut down two months after arriving, the impact has been especially challenging. Many spring admits feel that they have felt the negative impact both socially and mental health wise, with little support.

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2020 spring admit Allison Walsh was thrilled when she finally got to campus in the spring.

I was just so excited to finally be there and finally feel like I was really beginning my college experience .

Little did she realize that only a few months later USC would send her home. It was right before spring break.

I just remember, like, crying every day and like being really upset because it was just starting to set in, like, I’m not going to go back for a long time.

Another 2020 spring admit Parthsarthi Suri says spring admits never got to experience what many students think is the best of the USC college experience.

Everybody’s talking about like tailgating and football season, I was like the best time. And everybody enjoys themselves. ”Yeah, Must be nice.” We started off during a time when everything was normal, so we kind of got like the gist of how, I guess, college life is meant to be for a couple of months. And then it was kind of taken away from us in March. And I feel that’s what really sucks.

Both Suri and Walsh felt that it was difficult to hold onto relationships, since they were only on campus for two months. Suri, an international student in Dubai, especially feels this because of the time difference.

I don’t have like facetime, unfortunately. It’s banned here in the UAE. so I can’t really just say hit up people and just like FaceTime people.

Walsh agrees. She’s lived in Ohio since the start of the pandemic. She thinks that two months was not enough to build lasting relationships.

While those two months were fantastic, you know, I had very nice roommates and, you know, I met some nice friends. It was difficult to make those deep connections that most people try to make their freshman year.

A survey conducted by the Healthy Minds Network, a group of doctors from various universities, found that the rate of depression in college students has increased since the start of the pandemic. 2020 Spring admits say the pandemic’s hit on their mental health was more severe. Walsh says USC barely supported students during normal times.

I feel like spring admits, you don’t necessarily get a ton of support when they first come in. You know, I appreciate the support that’s there. But then once we went online, it felt like that sort of disappeared almost.

Student Affairs told Annenberg Media that USC transitioned many of the spring admit welcome events online and hosted a three day spring involvement fair with more than 400 registered student groups. Despite USC’s efforts, some spring admits like Walsh say they feel unwelcome at USC.

I’ve had a few people, you know, make comments to me before about it, you know, and treat me a little bit like I don’t belong at USC. Like I’m not smart enough to be there, like I didn’t really earn my place.

Walsh also feels that because of how the spring semester was cut so abruptly, everything feels unfinished.

We were only getting like half of the freshmen experience anyways. But then that in itself was halved and I think that that really just tore up the roots that we were trying to build at USC.

Walsh is looking forward to going back to in person learning.

I’m very excited at the prospect of going back in person and it’ll feel like things are less on pause, I know I’m going to be a junior next year, and I feel like I’m still going to feel like a freshman.

Starting over, on campus for real, but she’ll never get back the year that was left on pause. For Annenberg Media, I’m Alexis Gebhardt.