A Magical Mystery Tour

Without full college campus attendance, the Class of 2021 is struggling to make decisions for the upcoming school year.


photo by Debbie Pingpank

Touring a college campus is a key when trying to decide what school to go to. However, for the Class of 2021, things are a bit different this year.

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

College—the thought on so many seniors’ minds. The years of hard work and preparation are starting to pay off, but now that we have gotten our acceptance letters, it’s time to make a decision. However, for the Class of 2021, things are looking a bit different this year. 

Over the past couple of months, I have been touring colleges. Due to COVID-19, many of us have not been able to tour our schools in person. Personally, I have done countless virtual tours and watched videos of students talking about the school itself. While all of this is nice, nothing compares to walking on the campus itself and getting a feel for what it is like.

When I envisioned a college campus for the past couple of years, I imagined social hives with students gathered on quads. Never did I think it would be empty to the point that it was almost eerie. However, this is what I was met with when touring my schools. 

So far, I have toured five schools, and all of them seemed to be empty. It was bizarre. As a high school senior, where I am used to seeing all of my friends every day, it will be hard going to school next year knowing that all of my friends will not be with me. Going to look at a school that will one day be mine in the future and seeing it devoid of students has not been the most comforting feeling. 

I have a couple of friends who go to the schools I am interested in. They graduated in the years above me, and they tell me that before COVID-19 the campus looked completely different. As much as I believe it, I do not know when the old normal will come back. Therefore, making the decision on where I want to spend the next four years of my life has become more difficult than I ever would have thought. 

I pride myself on being a very outgoing person. I don’t necessarily find it hard to make friends, but I have to be with other people in person in order to do so. I would love to get involved in extracurricular activities wherever I go to school next year, but it will be challenging to meet others if everyone stays in their dorms most of the time. 

I know school was affected drastically, and with many of them still offering their courses remotely, there is a reason for students to be in their dorms. Many of the schools I have been to have said that they will return to full in-person instruction next year. It is just hard to imagine schools looking so different.

We have been affected by COVID-19 for over a year now, and we will continue to be affected for a long time. So then, I ask the question—What if we do not go back to normal? What if there still are restrictions at school? I know that these restrictions are made to keep us safe, but it comes to a point where being locked up in a dorm for months on end is not exactly healthy.

I have no doubt that wherever I go the safety regulations will be similar. However, that poses another issue. Because all of the schools I have gone to are empty, I am getting the same impression from all of them. Now, there are some that I have taken off the list because I did not like the campus, and I knew from that alone that they were not the schools for me. However, for the three schools that I am currently between, it is making that very hard to decide. The schools in themselves are definitely different from each other, so a normal year would have been an easy way to help me decide.