The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday September 17th

Incoming first-years have differing thoughts about arriving on campus this fall

Nikita Umesh poses with her UNC acceptance letter for a virutal portrait in her home on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021. Umesh intends to major in Biology and is excited about the upcoming fall semester.
Buy Photos Nikita Umesh poses with her UNC acceptance letter for a virutal portrait in her home on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021. Umesh intends to major in Biology and is excited about the upcoming fall semester.

After a year of navigating remote learning, COVID-19 restrictions and college applications, rising first-year students are anticipating a return to normalcy for their first semester of college. 

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Bob Blouin announced preliminary plans for the fall semester in March. Guskiewicz said in the campuswide message that he expects the University to return to in-person learning and provide a more traditional semester for students. 

“Based on the guidance of our experts, we are planning for a fall 2021 semester that will be a more typical residential academic experience at Carolina, with the goal of a full return to in-person instruction,” Guskiewicz said. 

Many members of the class of 2025 have responded enthusiastically to the message and are hoping for a return to normalcy as they arrive on campus.

Rising first-year Nikita Umesh said she understands that the fall semester holds a lot of opportunities for new students who are looking to get back to normal. 

“I’m excited for new beginnings,” she said. “I get to learn about topics that will relate to my future in medicine and meet amazing friends at the same time.”

Some students are excited about the social aspects of a normal semester, like attending UNC’s sporting events — especially basketball games.

Zane Mehta, an incoming first-year, said he is ready to experience the thrill of cheering on the Tar Heels in person this fall. 

“I can’t wait to attend games at the Dean Dome because Carolina’s always been my favorite basketball team,” he said. “I think the relaxing of COVID policies will make for the same party-like atmosphere that games had before the pandemic, and I look forward to that.”

But some members of the class of 2025 are worried about the transition back to in-person instruction. After a year of online learning, students have grown accustomed to learning from the comfort of their homes. 

Rising first-year Danielle Dinkins said she is excited to come to campus, but she's worried about the adjustments she will have to make. 

“I'm definitely excited to be in a different environment,” she said. “I've grown accustomed to being in my room at my desk. I might be a bit nervous about the new environment at the same time. Change is meant to be good, but honestly, I am a bit scared.”

The transition from in-person to remote learning was not without challenges or anxiety, and the same can be said about the transition back to a normal college semester. 

Umesh said she is nervous about adapting to college-level courses.

“I am nervous about the adjustment to college and the rigor of Carolina classes,” Umesh said. “I know with time I will get adjusted.”

university@dailytarheel.com

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