For many, the freshman year experience is one of life’s many great adventures. Due to the nature of the pandemic, this year has created a barrier between freshman and the “true” college experience, causing many students to choose to stay at home all year. Roughly 1,200 freshmen at Cal Poly deferred their housing contracts the entire academic year, according to University Housing Marketing Coordinator Julia Bluff. 

Nutrition freshman Anna Skoglund said she is glad she deferred housing, despite missing out on the “dorming” experience. Skoglund has been able to spend quality time with her family, something she appreciates a lot. 

“[My parents] have been a good source of support for me, especially since everything is online,” Skoglund said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Skoglund doubts how social she would have been if she had gone to campus.

“I would have to wear a mask and would limit how many people I interact with because I want this pandemic to be over as much as the next person does,” Skoglund said. 

Skoglund meets up with her WOW (Week of Welcome) orientation group every week on Zoom, which has allowed her to feel closer to Cal Poly since all of her fellow group members also deferred housing all year. 

Computer science freshman Nicholas Tan said he hopes his next few years as an upperclassman will make up for the freshman experience he missed out on. 

“Freshman year, you are still kind of navigating things and trying to figure everything out,” Tan said. “So in a way it is kind of nice for it to be virtual and online because it is a little less stressful.”

Tan said it will be a “weird” experience to be on campus a full year after he was supposed to be because the prospective freshmen for this year will be experiencing the campus at the same time he is. 

“If you think about it, if [next year’s freshmen] asks me for directions I won’t know because it will also be my first time on campus,” Tan said. 

Agricultural and environmental plant sciences freshman Evan Tamayo found a way to apply what he was learning in his online classes while being at home by volunteering and later getting a job at a farm that produces food for people in need. 

“I think that became a great opportunity for me to be involved in something similar to my major and having hands-on experience,” Tamayo said. “I feel like because of that opportunity, I have made the right decision to stay [home].”

Tamayo said he was also glad to have stayed home after hearing about all of the COVID-19 cases on campus.

“If I had to quarantine at home I would still get my home-cooked meals and get to see my dog,” Tamayo said. “If I was on campus I would have to be by myself for two weeks and I thought that would be much more difficult than being at home.”

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