Isolated: A Student Athlete’s perspective during the pandemic

By Jake Nase/Full 360 Producer

“I thought college was supposed to be the best time of my life.”

That was me two years ago as a collegiate student-athlete locked in my room during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am a part of a unique college graduation class that was affected by COVID-19 immediately as we started our college careers.

After graduating from Howell High School in New Jersey, I moved out to Doylestown Pennsylvania, ready to make the transition to college. I was extremely excited to begin the next chapter in my life. What could go wrong.?

In the spring of my second-ever semester with college. Delaware Valley University, like many College campuses, completely shut down. All students on campus were forced to evacuate their dorms and be sent home for the summer.

After many months back home in quarantine and isolation, I was starting to get very nervous, wondering if I would ever get the opportunity to go back to college. With the tragic events surrounding the pandemic lasting throughout the whole summer, the uncertainty of going back to school continued to grow and grow. Despite many schools in the area deciding to shut down for the fall semester, Delaware Valley University opened back its doors in the fall of 2020.

While I was extremely thankful to be able to begin my sophomore year on campus, this wasn’t a typical college experience. With Covid-19 still affecting the lives of millions, Delaware Valley University made major changes to campus living to ensure the safety of students.

Many classes took place virtually, meaning students would log onto a video chat app called Zoom to watch their professors instructing the course on their computer screen. For the classes that did meet in person, you were required to wear masks.

The college experience was so different from the fall semester of my sophomore year during the pandemic compared to the fall semester as a freshman before the pandemic. To try and prevent any future outbreaks, school policy required students to wear masks  anytime they left their door rooms. On-campus living guidelines also prohibited students from entering the rooms of others and shut down places on campus such as common areas, fitness centers, game rooms, etc.

As a student, I struggled to adapt to all these new changes. I was having a really hard time staying focused in class with an uncomfortable mask on my face. It was also a massive struggle to pay attention during the virtual classes being in the comfort of home.

Being quarantined on campus away from my family in New Jersey was very hard for me as well. I did not have a car on campus, so I spent many nights by myself doing nothing. I worried if things would ever be back to normal here on campus. So many questions were racing through my mind:

“Would I ever be able to leave my room without a mask?”

“Will the Delval Market ever open again?”

“Will I ever be able to participate in A-Day?”

“Will my wrestling team ever be able to have a full season ever again?”

Covid-19 threw athletics for a massive loop as well. All the sports here at Delaware Valley University were heavily affected by the pandemic. Covid-19 caused Spring and Fall sports in the MAC Conference of the year 2021 to be canceled.

I am a wrestler, and I had no idea if my season was taking place or not. After months of waiting, the university decided winter sports will be taking place, but in an extremely modified and shortened season.

Winter sport athletes were required to get Covid tested three times a week at the wellness center to ensure they could participate in athletics for the week. We were required to practice in masks, and all of our matches contested that season didn’t count towards NCAA records.

Many Division 3 winter sports teams had their seasons shut down in 2021, so having the chance to wrestle during these times in the world was pretty special.

My sophomore year of college was very challenging, however many schools across the globe didn’t even open their doors in 2020-2021. Delaware Valley University did a fantastic job during the pandemic. I am very thankful that things have gone back to normal on campus for my final two years as a college student.

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