Katie Cerulle ’23
The first days of an ordinary freshman year consist of experiencing nothing but new people – bouncing from dorm room to frat backyard, and occasionally winding up in a classroom with up to 50 of your peers. But not this year. COVID-19 has taken a toll on usual freshman year activities across the country, and Trinity College is no exception.
Teddy Komjathy, a freshman on the lacrosse team from Wellesley, Massachusetts, is making the most of his first few days on Trinity’s campus. The check-in process that Trinity students went through upon arrival involved showing proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than three days before moving into campus, taking another COVID test, and completing a packet of documents that lay out the importance of your health and safety and keeping those around you safe. As a freshman, Teddy emphasized that having to complete all of these tests ensured that he felt safe coming into school for the first time.
Additionally, having students take COVID tests each week shows that the college is “dedicated to having all students remain on campus for as long as possible.”
In addition to discussing how Trinity is ensuring the safety of its students, Teddy also spoke about the ways that Trinity has facilitated bonding between members of the freshmen class. “Trinity has given us the time and the place to make new friends while staying within the COVID guidelines,” he added. He also touched on the benefit of having outdoor tents, seating outside the cave, and the ability to be on the quad in small groups. These small moments of face-to-face contact with peers has been helpful in the process of acclimating to campus culture.
As a replacement for the usual first year orientation, there have been numerous Zoom meetings with orientation leaders that gave first-years the platform to bond with other students virtually despite the pandemic’s restrictions. “It’s good for students to have an opportunity to meet others in an organized way,” Teddy remarked. In addition to these Zoom meetings held by the orientation leaders, the College also implemented an online alternative to important freshmen events such as Convocation and Matriculation. These two events are usually memorable experiences that students talk about through their time at Trinity. Completing these two events virtually were valuable additions in an attempt to normalize the Trinity first-year experience.
Coming to college for the first time in the era of COVID, it was tough for Teddy to form expectations about how Trinity was going to achieve a socially distant and enjoyable first few days in Hartford.
“I was hoping that there was going to be a lot of socializing and getting to know people, but I also knew that that would be achieved in a different way,” he stated. The emphasis on keeping students and faculty of the college safe and healthy has limited the amount of face to face gatherings, Teddy mentioned, but he is exceedingly grateful to the college for allowing him to have a partial in-person experience and get to engage in some of the friendships and Trinity traditions that make our campus the special and unique place it is during the academic year.