Allegheny is back and better than ever

As a returning sophomore, I am very excited for this new semester. There have already been many noticeable differences around campus compared to last year. Although this is not my first time on campus as a student, it is truly amazing to see how Allegheny College should be. Everything I heard throughout the recruiting process and on my campus visits is starting to show.

Right from the start, you can sense a different campus atmosphere compared to last year. This is true from the top down, all the way from President Link down to the student body and everywhere in between. Everyone is excited for things to be back to normal. The energy on campus is vibrant. This is how I always envisioned college. From the beginning, I have been able to hangout with all my friends without masks or the fear of a week of quarantine. 

Moving in this year was a breeze. This year living in Caflisch my roommate and I had a lot more room to work with while setting up our room. It was fun being able to figure out the possibilities we had. The room is looking good, although still not fully unpacked yet. And for the students that did not know what the rules were last year, it took a while for us to be allowed to leave campus. It was nice not having a campus quarantine this year.

As students, we are finally able to do all the things we were not able to do last year and I could not be happier. Since arriving on campus, the college and office of student life have already hosted many fun events such as the student-athlete pep rally, the Involvement Fair, the poster event and many other activities. My personal favorite was the pep rally because I was able to see many friends that I was not able to see right away. It was also nice to run into some of the faculty that was there. I was also able to get some very cool posters. I got a cool one from J. Cole, Kramer from Seinfield, Tupac and Snoop Dogg, and a couple more. 

Being able to go to all in-person classes is a very nice way to take full advantage of Allegheny. Last year we were able to go to some of our classes based on each professor’s individual preferences. We still had to be masked and sit six feet apart. I missed having the opportunity to meet new friends in the classroom, or sit next to friends I already knew. Having classes in person makes it so much easier for me to speak up and ask questions. It is also nice being able to listen to what other people have to say; maybe they too feel it is more comfortable to speak up. One thing that I did not do during the partly in-person semester was go to professors’ office hours or ask them for any kind of help. I am excited this year to be able to do my best in classes. 

Being back home in New York this summer really made me miss the many things I love to do in Meadville. I missed going on hikes at Woodcock Lake, playing spikeball on the lawn of North Village, shooting hoops in the Wise Center, doing homework in the Pelletier Library, exploring downtown and of course COVID-19 tests. All jokes aside, it is very exciting to have more opportunities this year than we did last year.

I am sure all athletes, including myself, are very excited about being able to play sports normally this semester. I am on the men’s lacrosse team, so we are not in season right now, but we are in our non-traditional fall season. Thankfully we do not have to stand six feet apart while standing in line and going through drills. Last year, we had weeks of just going through clearing drills and plays but not being able to practice them fully. Wearing masks while playing was uncomfortable and nearly impossible to breathe in if we got water on it. Having the opportunity to be able to play lacrosse normally has me excited to play again. I cannot wait for the spring semester to start and to be able to have a rematch against the teams we played last year. I am also very excited to watch football, soccer, field hockey and the other teams compete this semester. I was able to go to the first home football game and they had a great win. I am upset it is going to take so long to see them at home again, but I am excited to see them play again. They were also selling beer there, so that must be fun for the people that are of legal drinking age.

One thing that I find very confusing is Brooks. It seems that every semester they have changed the way that the swipes work and how they are counted. The system in place now is not terrible, but I have recently heard that pre-pandemic, Brooks was all-you-can-eat buffet style with a single swipe. That sounds kind of nice to me but still not that big of a deal since I never saw it in action. I am happy they put the ice cream machine back in. I do still wish that they had the to-go boxes in case I wanted to eat somewhere else. 

Kins got a little more interesting this year, with the in-person McKinz Market, but I would like it if I could order everything online. However, I am very thankful for being able to eat with all my friends and teammates at once now instead of just a few at a time. 

I like campus a lot more without all of the issues the pandemic caused that slowed everything down. I am happy to be back and I am excited to get my first sandwich of the semester from Whole Darn Thing.