Class of 2024 missing the freshman experience

Kendall Johnson’s stands by the library as she strikes a pose with her rattler strike. Photo by Kendall Johnson

One year ago, freshman students were looking forward to moving into their first dorm, engaging in their first homecoming, taking pictures at their first Set Friday, getting to know the different organizations on campus, and participating in convocation singing the FAMU alma mater with pride and joy.

Now, the FAMU Class of 2024 is missing their full freshman experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before spring break, FAMU informed its students that classes would be moving online to take precautions when it came to the coronavirus. This fall semester, most classes are still online via Zoom. Students hoped that everything would go back to normal with homecoming around the corner. Instead, COVID-19 cases started to increase. Meanwhile, the MEAC suspended all fall sports, which means no football games, another part of the freshman experience.

Some freshmen were looking forward to enjoying their first year on campus, and others feel that not being able to enjoy all the activities on campus impedes their college view.

“Not having those first experiences at your university hinders your view of FAMU. I feel like I’m not in college. I feel as if I am just at a boarding school without any rules. I would’ve loved to be able to go out and meet more people and experience what every other class has. Going from not having a prom to now no Set Fridays and homecoming is very saddening to me. My first year is nothing,” Alexis Chenevert said. Chenevert is a freshman veterinary technology major.

Class of 2024 members not only aren’t receiving the full Rattler experience, but many classes such as, SLS — which are meant to help students in an intellectually and socially efficient transformation from high school to college — are online.

Freshman pre-physical therapy major Kennedy Mote, speaks about the impact of retaining knowledge when it comes to her major.

“I have three classes online, and unfortunately, it’s all my science classes. I do have to say I like that I can sit in my room and do classwork, but it’s sometimes hard to retain information from a small computer screen and to reach out to professors versus sitting in a classroom where I can raise my hand when I have a question or stay after class if I need to,” Mote said.

The start of these freshman FAMU experience hasn’t been the best. Freshman health science major Kendall Johnson admits she was worried before arriving on campus.

“I was honestly concerned about coming to campus with everything going on. I was worried about how things would be with social interaction and events on campus. Although we are having an unusual freshman year, I have hope that things will get better,” Johnson said.

Despite the hardships the FAMU class of 2024 is experiencing right now, these students still manage to keep their heads held high and continue to keep striving for greatness. That’s the spirit of a Rattler.