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The Life Of A ‘2+2’ Penn State Student Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

They always say that in life, you never quite know what you’re going to get. The new normal of social distancing, masking up, and routine testing has only confirmed that for me.

I began my college career at Penn State Abington. It is a small yet beautiful campus. As a commuter, I found myself driving 40 minutes up and back each day. The experience is very different in Abington compared to State College, pandemic or not.

People up here seem to forget about the Commonwealth kids, but they are just as much Penn State students as the kids who spent all four years at University Park. While student life, campus size, and location may be different, both diplomas still say “Penn State.”

I had a very focused time in Abington, with my mind set on arriving at University Park as a junior. While I have achieved that goal, no one could’ve predicted the situation we were going to walk into this fall.

It has been tough to get out and meet people during the coronavirus. Most students are also experiencing social hardships during the pandemic, but it is even tougher as a “2+2” student without many connections, if any, in State College.

At Abington, none of my classes had more than 30 students. I expected each professor to know my name when I arrived at University Park, but with the whole semester taking place over Zoom, they don’t even know my face.

Meeting with my adviser has been difficult as well since moving to University Park. It is very strange trying to contact them over Starfish right now, especially with a brand new adviser who I don’t know.

By leaving a Commonwealth Campus that has just about 3,000 students and starting at a campus with upwards of 40,000, you really do feel like a number instead of a person.

Transitioning to University Park was never going to be easy, but the pandemic has made it more difficult. There are no big gatherings on the weekends, games to go to, or activities that will help me integrate into my new campus. Instead of having the normal college experience I always wanted, me and my roommate (who is also a 2+2 student) have been spending a lot of time hanging around in our apartment.

But it hasn’t been all bad. It’s definitely a good feeling to be up here and to be able to sit on Old Main Lawn on a nice day. I’ve been set on coming to State College for school since I was 3 years old, and to finally be able to say that I’m a student at Penn State’s main campus is a prize all on its own.

While it has been difficult to meet new people, it hasn’t been impossible. Me and my roommate have joined clubs, and I’ve already made some friends here at Onward State and around campus.

The start of my University Park years is not how I pictured it a year ago, but it’s still a good time to be a Penn Stater. Here’s to hoping that things get better sooner rather than later. For now, I’ll just be taking things one day at a time.

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves playing his guitar, the color blue, and Tetris. If you feel the need to give him any positive or negative feedback, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]

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