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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Class of 2026: The start of a new era

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Josh Kotler
Students gather around an event held in the Campus Center. Photo by Josh Kotler / Mass Media Staff

Until now, many of us have been used to waking up at 7 a.m., going to school by 7:30 a.m., walking the halls of the same building from class to class and coming back home by 3 p.m. This week, a new chapter starts. With far more freedom in class schedules and the long walk from the residence halls to University Hall, the class of 2026 must adjust to a whole new lifestyle. Being a part of the incoming freshman class has invoked excitement and a sense of adventure—not to mention the fact that the past few semesters have been “COVID-19 semesters,” taking away many college experiences from UMass Boston’s students. All in all, the Fall 2022 semester will hold many new experiences. However, after talking to a few of my fellow freshmen, it’s safe to say the class of 2026 is ready. 
“Definitely going to be a change of pace” states Anvitha Mudundi, a freshman in the nursing program. She is most excited for her clinicals and “getting the feel of how it would be after college.” She also mentions that she is excited about “the campus itself and its proximity to so many different things around us.” 
Another student pursuing a nursing major, Ciara Hensley, is “excited to meet new people and live independently to try things on [her] own.” She also mentions that she’s looking forward “to taking classes that actually mean something toward [her] career instead of the pointless classes they make you take in high school.” 
“The move from Maui to Boston is both absolutely horrifying and super exciting,” says Noelle Lo, who is taking a 10-hour flight to move here and pursue her communications degree at UMass Boston. She shares the story of how her “personality was definitely too big for the tiny island,” and how the change of scenery will help her, but also allow her to share her culture with others and “bring a bit of Hawaii to Boston.” Though she finds her travels worth the distance from home, she will miss “being able to eat favorite classics like spam musubi and li hing mui gummies.”  
She’s not the only one making a long journey: Talal Alaswad—also a freshman, pursuing a degree in analytics and information systems—is excited to make the 6,313-mile trip from Saudi Arabia and “can’t wait to see what the future holds.”  
Though it seems like every article about these past few years has already tackled the effects of COVID-19, it is important to mention how the fall 2022 semester will be the first of many after the mask wearing COVID-19 semesters. After education officials were forced to close schools to start online learning, and then the slow transition to heavily restricted in-person learning, we are now starting a more ‘normal’ semester. UMass Boston has taken into consideration the challenges of being a freshman during this time, and as of Aug. 24, 2022, UMass Boston’s official COVID-19 policies have been updated. There will be no social distancing requirements, and those who are vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in and around campus, with the exception of University Health Services.  
All this information, plus the high school-to-college transition, may seem like a lot to take in, but it’s best to keep in mind what developmental psychologist Deborah L. David, Ph.D, says: “grant yourself all the time, practice and support you need to adjust to your happy new life.” She continues her message in an article for Psychology Today, suggesting how embracing change can be difficult, but is a part of the valuable process for adjustment. With that being said, many students of the class of 2026 are ready to take on the exciting experiences and higher education that UMass Boston provides, along with whatever else comes their way.  

About the Contributor
Josh Kotler, Photographer