San Diego State University is a very different place Monday. Thousands of students are returning for the first full day of in-person classes since the pandemic shut the university down last year.
“I’m thrilled!” beamed Alexis Hernandez. “The campus vibe is just so different from being at home and I love it.”
Hernandez is a sophomore. She spent her entire freshman year at home behind a computer screen.
“It was a lot of sadness after the classes just being like, ‘Am I really at SDSU or am I just taking online classes somewhere?’” she said with a shrug.
“I just don’t want last year where nobody was here,” agreed Jack Ellis, a freshman who spent Sunday looking at the campus map with his friend Kate Hughes.
Hughes hoped for a smooth year without fear of dipping back into virtual learning.
“I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen,” she said. “Freshman year is a formative experience. It’s where you meet all your friends and get used to the campus.”
“For me, it’s just being in the classroom learning again, teaching myself what it’s like to physically be in a classroom,” added Hernandez. “Take notes in front of a teacher, have teacher connections because I definitely missed that last year.”
SDSU said more than 94% of its 33,000 students are vaccinated. That number included more than 97% of the students living on campus.
Hernandez was optimistic.
“We still have to wear our masks but that doesn’t matter as long as I get to sit in class and have the dream freshman year that I didn’t have my sophomore year.”