October 31, 2020

UPDATED: Incoming freshmen remain positive despite uncertainty during COVID-19

“Going in as a freshman, knowing that everyone’s going through this together, I feel like it’s really going to help me there as a student,” incoming freshman Morgan Smith said.

Despite Webster facilities being closed for in-person services, high school senior and incoming Fall 2020 student Morgan Smith remains hopeful for her first semester of college. She found a sense of community in Webster that erased any worries she had about COVID-19 and college. 

“Going in as a freshman, knowing that everyone’s going through this together, I feel like it’s really going to help me there as a student,” Smith said.

Across the country, high school seniors are missing out on many milestones: graduation, goodbyes, sports seasons. Kim Lichtenfels, guidance counselor at Mt. Vernon Township High School believes most anxiety seniors are feeling now revolves around uncertainty regarding their college experience.

“It’s kind of a scary life-changing event anyway, then to have it all kind of up in the air,” Lichtenfels said. “I think that would cause me a lot of anxiety.”

Incoming fall 2020 student Sydney Eaton remains hopeful the stay-at-home orders will end by fall semester in spite of having a hard time during quarantine.

“It’s been kind of rough because it’s been hard not going into school every day and not interacting with people to quarantine for coronavirus is kind of rough,” Eaton said. “I’m hoping it doesn’t affect going into college because I was looking forward to going into Webster and experiencing everything.”

Although this is not the senior year they expected, Smith and Eaton look forward to attending Webster.

“It’s really reassuring that they care during these times, I’m not even going there full time as a student yet,” Eaton said. “They’re checking up on me and telling me about how next year is going to be.”

Webster University has declined to comment on incoming students at this time.

Webster administration has emailed students and faculty nearly every day with updates regarding changes due to COVID-19. Smith received these emails since she was able to login to her Webster email and said it gave her a sense of relief.

“I feel like they truly care about their students and not just in the academic perspective —they’re worried about their mental health and safety,” Smith said.

Eaton was taking lessons from Stuart Chapman Hill, Webster’s director of music education, prior to in-person facilities being shut down and has since switched to online lessons. 

Hill believes this would be much more difficult if Webster hadn’t already had an online learning infrastructure in place.

“This has forced me to be planned to a level of detail that I might not have needed before because most of the improvisational elements are taken out of my teaching right now,” Hill said.

He said the process of transitioning out of in-person services has required a lot of creativity and virtual collaboration to keep the excitement alive for his students.

Smith and Eaton said communication from Webster during this time has made them confident they made the right college decision.

“This sealed the deal for me, it was like ‘Okay, I belong here and they care about me,’” Smith said.

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