Graduating students reflect on how SDSU changed over the course of the pandemic

Students+discuss+the+social+atmosphere+at+SDSU+before+and+after+the+pandemic.

Jessica Parga

Students discuss the social atmosphere at SDSU before and after the pandemic.

by Nicholas Neikon Ebadat, Staff Writer

Picture this: a San Diego State with an East Commons bustling every weekday around noon, every Thursday at least ten food trucks filed along the concrete rise in front of Hepner Hall, random students sparking conversation about the best view of the city and other students itching to make others a valued member of their club or organization.

Seniors like Kobe Mosse, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, have experienced an SDSU when that picture was reality.

“When I first started, obviously there was no pandemic and everything was smooth. We would go to classes together. I would see my peers around school, on campus and it was just a vibe. It was more like I felt the college lifestyle, you know?” Mosse said. “And when the pandemic hit everything went downhill, it just started becoming like it would be boring coming to class. Like nobody wants to come to school, nobody wants to do online learning.”

Many tried to recreate a social environment after the long break from campus life. Food trucks came on Thursdays still, but with fewer options met with equally diminished student enthusiasm. Hybrid classes left students with the option to avoid the trip to campus entirely. To top it all off, a lingering commitment to greater public safety left student interaction to be questioned and hesitated by administration.

Senior Molly Best, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics minor, reminisced about her favorite memories from life at SDSU.  

“I loved the football games when we had those [near campus], the tailgates. I loved being in a sorority. Those were definitely some of my favorite moments and I studied abroad so that was definitely one of the best experiences they gave me,” Best said. “I didn’t like the online classes. I feel like I didn’t learn as much as in person. You didn’t get the same learning experience as in person. No one talks in Zooms, you didn’t get to talk to your teachers, anything like that.”

For transfer students like Brian David Lucio Aguilar, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, this academic year was the first time setting foot on campus. When asked how his experience at the university could be described, he said “phenomenal.”

“I got to experience pretty much all of SDSU but I wish I could have gotten that experience even earlier,” Aguilar said. “I believe SDSU handled the situation [fairly]. They did everything on their part to maintain the pandemic under control… We’re here now and so far I think they did a good job.”

The university’s most recent update maintained statewide status by lifting vaccination and mask requirements for large SDSU-affiliated events and allowed non-fully vaccinated students to file test results every seven days instead of every five days to be on campus, according to Student Health Services.