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The college experience at last: Some students to live on campus for first time this spring

Some members of the Class of 2024 are living on campus for the first time this spring. 

Duke allowed all first-years and sophomores to come to campus in the fall semester. However, according to Asha Artis, Housing and Residence Life staff specialist, around 100 first-year students decided to take classes virtually from home. These students are now expected to live on campus for the first time in the spring.

Parham wrote in an email to The Chronicle that these new first-year students have been assigned housing randomly, with the majority of them placed on East Campus and approximately 20 placed on West Campus.

But amid these changes, concerns about acclimating to campus life weigh on many of these students’ minds. First-year Arianna Dwomoh, who will live in Keohane dorm on West Campus, expressed nervousness and concerns about being able to make friends. 

First-year Jeffrey Hwang, who will live in Southgate dorm on East Campus, echoed Dwomoh’s concerns about making friends, mentioning that many other students are “already settled in, while [he doesn’t] have a solid group of friends.”

First-year Noelle Garrick expressed similar fears, but also acknowledged that Duke has been “very adaptable, accommodating and flexible,” especially considering the circumstances.

“They are certainly on our radar,” Jordan Hale, director of new student programs, wrote in an email of first-years who are coming to campus for the first time. He wrote that the NSP team was “planning to put together a series of programs for them as they start.”

These programs will include introductions to their first-year advisory council, meetings with student leadership panels and information on how to socialize while following Duke’s COVID-19 guidelines, according to Hale.

Debbie LoBiondo, interim dean for residence life, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that HRL is currently formulating a cohesive plan to help incoming students form meaningful connections with each other. 

Even with the uncertainties and concerns wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, incoming students feel eager and excited to have as normal a spring semester as possible.

For Dwomoh, it was a matter of not wanting to miss out on the college experience. She said that it was difficult being a remote student in the fall and seeing events happening on campus that she couldn’t attend.

“It’s… kind of exciting,” Hwang said of coming on campus. “I get to be on campus and finally get some part of a college experience.”

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