The Student Support Center at College of the Canyons offers services like Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE). Photo courtesy Google Maps Streetview

As the final half of the spring semester sparks senioritis for junior college transfer students, many of them had higher expectations adapting to their new university lifestyle that were not met. Meanwhile, for those who started fresh out of high school rather than transferring from community college, culture shock was enhanced by the pandemic.

For College of the Canyons student Javier Cardenas, his kinesiology education required him to learn without actively seeing hypothetical situations for this career.

“One of the biggest setbacks I noticed right away was not having a class to go and sit down,” Cardenas stated. “For me, personally, I find myself to be more productive in a classroom setting and at home, it was weird and would get lazy.”

For University of California Irvine freshman Kelly Felix, the atmosphere of going into college felt like a whole new world. She described it as a shift in work ethic, varying in pace around students of different backgrounds.

“After all, we’re growing adults at our own speed,” Felix, a public health science major, said. “This is not a bad thing, but I’m still at home, still working the same job, and I’m still doing the same things that I did in high school.” 

Restricting meetings with career and education counselors affected many students, like Cardenas. Limiting students to virtual meetings made the path towards transferring to a four-year university during a pandemic seem even more intimidating.

“With all the chaos that I was going through, having someone like the counselors help me organize my classes and schedule was a big help and saved me a great deal of stress,” Cardenas stated. “After the talk with a counselor, I would immediately feel relief.”

Cardenas’ concerns are valid, and students who are getting the COVID-19 university experience weren’t expecting it to be this isolating. Of course, opportunities to participate in clubs and extracurricular activities were not totally absent for college freshmen, but it was far from satisfying. 

“Not gonna lie, my experience with my first year of college sucked,” Felix said. “Overall, it was not a fun experience, but I think my school did the best that they could with the circumstances.”

Although these two students had different experiences, similar struggles affected their paths for the future. Each is hoping it would get better as schools recognize the obstacles their students went through. 

“Something I would like to see improve would be the priority of classes. I am a semester away from being finished and getting my associates degree for transfer and now I am getting held back,” Cardenas stated. 

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