Bwogger Anna Eggers had her first in-person college class on Tuesday. Here’s what it’s like being a freshman during COVID-19.

This year has definitely been different than any of us expected. Spending hours every day on Zoom has been so draining and after learning that a film class I’m taking this semester would have an in-person component, I was thrilled. Cinema History IV: After 1990 is my saving grace this semester.

After a small trek up to 129th street, I saw it: the Lenfest Center for the Arts! I’m not gonna lie, at that point I was pretty close to tearing up. I did a search online to figure out where it was and realized that my classroom, the Katarina Otto Bernstein Screening Room, is literally a movie theater. As a hopeful film major, I’m overjoyed to be able to watch movies in a theater again. Tuesday’s are lecture only days, but as I walked into the room lined with red seats, my motivation was renewed.

Almost every seat except for about twenty had a Columbia sash tied around it vertically to mark them as not socially distanced, and masks were necessary the entire class. I felt safe, which after how the past year has gone, I wasn’t sure if I would actually be so comfortable being in a classroom again. As more and more students walked in (because, as an anxious freshman, I showed up about 20 minutes early) it really hit me that I was in the company of the most human beings since March.

As a hybrid class with most students taking it virtually, the logistics were kinda weird––hearing disembodied voices over the loudspeakers asking questions about the lecture was fun but also slightly ominous. Either way, seeing slides about the history of film projected across a big screen made me get into the class more than I had been able to during the first couple weeks of only online instruction.

Once the class had ended, each student was asked to grab a wipe and sanitize where we had been sitting, which was another level of safety that I was thankful that they included. Although being in-person definitely won’t make these essays I have to do for class any easier, it does lighten the emotional burden of being so isolated from everyone else.

theater going via Bwog Archives