Imagine if your first year of college was like this: You wake up—not in your dorm, but in the bedroom you’ve been living in for the past 18 years of your life. You walk a few steps over to your desk and launch Zoom on your computer. You go into a virtual breakout room in Zoom and finally get to talk to your classmates. Class ends and you go to the kitchen for some snacks before you go back to your bedroom and start the Zoom cycle all over again. 

For the Class of 2024, this is the new normal. After our senior year in high school was cut short (unsatisfying online classes, no prom, no graduation), COVID-19 stomping on our next big step toward independence was unsurprising. However, our hopes were still high about at least moving on to campus. A few students succeeded in that move, but most of us are doing online classes from our childhood bedrooms. Our class is living through history, and how it is remembered is up to us. That’s where we come in. 

We are Guide Puget Sound, a class of first-year students who set out to learn more about the fall’s entering class and hear their stories. We talked one-on-one—typically via Zoom, ironically enough—with nearly two dozen of our classmates to hear what being a new college student during a pandemic has been like. Here’s what we learned.