Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

After a freshman year overshadowed by the pandemic, the Class of 2024 looks to make up for lost time.

July 29, 2021

‘Our Real Freshman Year’: Class of 2024 Looks Forward to an In-Person Fall

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RPCC Sunday brunches, Lynah Rink hockey games and Slope Day are just a few of the events that Cornell’s Class of 2024 has yet to experience, after spending their freshman year under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a fully in-person school year approaches, rising sophomores said they are both anxious and eager to adjust to a college experience filled with everything from daily walks to class to Cornell traditions.

While last year’s first-year students dealt with virtual club meetings, Zoom discussion sections and COVID-19 anxieties, some students said they saw the hybrid year as a slower transition into college life. 

Avhan Misra ’24 spent the year on campus, and had the opportunity to take some in-person classes that helped him adjust to Cornell.

“It allowed [me] to get really accustomed to Ithaca and the environment. Now, I kind of know what’s going on, I have a feel for the campus, and I think that will really help as we enter what is kind of going to be our real freshman year,” Misra said.

Manvir Chahal ’24 said she views her first two years as two phases in the adjustment to a full college experience. 

“In-person won’t be as much of a shock to me as it would have been freshman year,” Chahal said.

Though looking forward to learning in-person, many students voiced concerns about the adjustment from the Zoom screen to lecture halls. Andrew Shapiro ’24 noted that in-person classes require more time management and coordination than virtual ones.

“I’ve only experienced virtual college, and I feel like in a virtual environment you can take on a little bit more because you don’t have to factor things like walking,” Shapiro said. “I think people in general are a lot more able to take on things in a virtual environment that they wouldn’t be able to take on in person.”

For many students, hopping on the TCAT or walking around campus takes up a significant portion of their day, something most of the Class of 2024 have not yet experienced, attending many of their first-year classes from their dorms or study rooms.

“You can be asleep before an 8 a.m. class at 7:59 a.m., and at 8 a.m. roll out of bed and be perfectly ready for class,” said Jeffrey Zoyhofski ’24. “And that’s just not possible anymore.”

But for the Class of 2024, their sophomore year is also an opportunity to make up for lost time and live out their freshmen experience a year later.

“There’s so many things about Cornell that I haven’t experienced yet even though I am a student. So I’m just excited to finally explore Cornell and Ithaca and finally do everything that you’re supposed to do as a first-year student,” said Tanisha Sapra ’24. “This next semester is going to be nothing like I’ve experienced. I’m a little nervous but it’s more exciting than anything.”