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Postcards From The Pandemic: A College Freshman Checks In Online

Homeroom: A Return to Learning

This story is part of ideastream's special series examining the challenges and perils of returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, this is the time of year that college freshmen would be packing up their bags and moving onto campus for the first time.

But this year the coronavirus pandemic has meant that many college students are having to wait for the full college experience.

Prerna Mukherjee recently graduated from Beachwood High School and is now a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University, but she’s not leaving for Pittsburgh just yet. She decided it’s safer to stay home for the first semester and take her classes online. 


Pomp Under Unusual Circumstances

So for graduation it was a drive-in ceremony. All of us got into our cars and we got into the parking lot. And then they had a stage set up in the front and we all walked out in small groups and got our diplomas. 

It was really weird because I guess I always had this idea of graduation and being together, it was really different. 


[Prerna Mukherjee]

Postponing the Campus Experience

I’m planning to study biology. I really want to be on campus, but after talking with my family we decided to choose spring for our preference for housing just because cases are rising and we’re all more comfortable doing it online. 

I feel kind of nervous and also just because I’ll be at home taking classes so I’m a little nervous about being able to meet new people and connecting with people because I won’t actually get to see people in person. 


Prerna on her 18th birthday. [Prerna Mukherjee]

Spring Connections

Once I get on campus I’m just looking forward to meeting people. And I think I’m really looking forward to joining clubs and getting involved and making connections on campus because I think that’s a really big part of the college experience. 

I really enjoyed doing newspaper club in high school so I’m excited to continue that and maybe become more involved in journalism. 

When you’re on campus you’re able to make more connections and talk to people so I’m excited about that. 

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