Author: Terry

The First Year of College

The First Year of College

Op-Ed: New test scores show students lost a lot of ground in the pandemic. Overreacting won’t help.

By the time I graduated from high school, the world had changed, and we all knew it. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to have parents who chose to stay home rather than risk being infected with a virus that can be deadly, well, it is a time we do not remember.

On the one hand, there is an excitement in being in the midst of things you have not seen before, feeling like you finally have the right answer, having all the answers to the difficult questions. Then there is the reality of being in the midst of a public health crisis, but not knowing what it is like to have nothing to lose.


The first year of college in the U.S. had only started when the pandemic hit, and I found myself in a similar quandary. The first year of college was supposed to be an exciting, new and scary time filled with new friends, new adventures and great learning.

But the first year of college was filled with fear all around – fear of getting caught in a pandemic virus, fear of losing my job, fear of not being able to pay for the tuition. I remember at one point, I was working to pay for my classes and eating ramen noodles at the dining hall to try to pay for my meals.

But we came through this time. We graduated from our second year and got our first jobs, saving enough to pay for our tuition but still struggling to save enough to pay for the rest of our education. We were also lucky enough to have a job that paid enough to cover our tuition as well as room and board. I don’t think there is any way that any of us would have known how lucky we were.

Over the last year, I’ve watched as a generation of college students has also faced similar times of turmoil, uncertainty, worry (and

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