Growing up, I had a pretty good idea of ââwhat college parties would look like. All the wild nights that I saw in TV shows and movies made me more and more excited for this next chapter of my life. Watching kids cram into fraternity and sisterhood homes while they danced with their new best friends, not a worry in the world. I knew I wanted to experience this when I finally got to college.
Now when I imagine college parties – I should probably stop calling them ‘college parties’ at this point – instead of people, COVID-19 particles dance, and best friends are replaced by random college students I don’t know. have no strong attachments. Despite my vaccination, this thought leaves me little inclination to risk infection by going to a big party like the ones I was considering.
In Lane County, there were 11 deaths from COVID-19 and 394 cases of the virus from September 5 to 7, according to The Register Guard. As of September 7, there were seven intensive care beds available and a 20% increase in the number of inpatients.
This information, coupled with the statewide outer mask mandate due to what Oregon Governor Kate Brown called “a level of crisis that we have yet to see in the pandemic.” , gives me and other freshmen little confidence in the party, social interaction and general participation of the OU.
The UO class of 2025 have gotten used to staying on a Friday night and missing out on ânormalâ experiences others have had before us. In fact, many freshmen are just beginning to experience what an independent night out with friends is like.
Before COVID-19, only some of us even had a driver’s license. We were still largely under the control of our parents and spent most of our time studying for the SAT. Since then, we’ve known only a fraction of what freedom in high school and beyond should have brought us.
Freshmen have wasted crucial and formative time practicing their interpersonal skills, which is more important than many realize. Building relationships with peers and mentors is the essence of college and lays the foundation for connections for future projects and careers. Without a lot of practice in high school, we could be at a serious disadvantage. We also didn’t finish high school the traditional way – alongside our friends and ready to move on. Our lives were put on hold in an awkward place, which left little room for closure.
This left us in a much more dramatic middle stage, where partying and participating in extracurricular activities with people we don’t know or have known for a few days is not very appealing. And, because we’re all so used to staying indoors, the motivation to meet people – and subsequently participate in activities with them – is much lower than it probably was before.
Earlier this year, Ohio State University released a study that examined a possible direct link between a student’s involvement at the university, with activities such as Greek life, employment, and student organizations. and community service, and career opportunities for this student.
âHighly involved students were three times more likely to be considered for the job by employers [surveyed in the study] than the non-involved, âthe report said. âHighly involved students were 18% more career-ready than other students. “
Research has also found that students who are moderately involved are more likely to be considered career-ready – although students who are highly involved are considered most career-ready.
Beyond career benefits, participation has also been shown to benefit students to benefit from their college experience. According to the 2018-2019 Ohio State Graduation Survey, students who participated in at least one extracurricular activity were 2.1 times more likely to be satisfied with their overall school experience.
While I don’t often agree with the Buckeyes, the research does make sense. Getting involved in college is crucial for meeting people and exploring new and existing passions. However, this year comes with some valid concerns and unusual obstacles. While the mask warrants are in place and the vast majority of OU students have been fully immunized, the pandemic is still far from over. The lingering social and habitual effects of COVID-19 are not going away anytime soon.
So, at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, students must adapt to make the most of in-person experiences. If you’re not comfortable going to the first big parties of the year, that’s okay. But don’t let that stop you from getting involved in the UO community. Try small outdoor events, club reunions, or, yes, parties, and trust that everyone has lived a hell of a year and a half as well.