Published September 28, 2021 by Bowdoin News

Students Reflect on Being Back at Bowdoin, Feet on Campus, Seated in Classes

After more than a year of studying online—either on campus or remotely—many students say they are relieved to be able to take classes in person and meet new friends, and expressed excitement at all the activity happening around them.

"I get the feeling walking around the quads that people are really excited to be here," Jeremy Hoyne Grosvenor ’22 said, sitting next to his friend Peter Littman ’23 outside Thorne after finishing Saturday brunch. "It's so cool to walk by the tents and see rehearsels going on, all the music and theater."

Others relish being able to have once seemingly ordinary meetings. "I can see my professors in person and have conversations with them that aren't on Zoom," Rebekah Kim ’25 said.

Littman also marveled at the changes in the long dormant campus. "Campus is much more alive. There's more going out and doing things, more happenings, a lot more social gatherings. Last year was more isolated."

Because of the isolation, and the challenges of remote learning, a few students opted to take time off until Bowdoin was back in person. 

After trying online classes, Melody Khoriaty ’21 decided to take the year off. They lived in Topsham, tutoring young students in math and science and teaching whitewater kayaking to kids. "Being back is good. I'm enjoying being in classes again," Khoriaty said. "It's good to see people again, to do projects and work with people, just hang out with people again. The social element is an important part of learning."

The social element, which was somewhat lacking last year, was a big reason students said remote learning is inferior to in-person learning.

"I love school. I love being around my friends and building relationships. All the things that really matter were gone last year," said Leila Robb, a first-year student. "All the connections. I love doing work and writing papers. But when there wasn't that community, I was done. So I love being back at school and being here."

Yet, while the isolation wasn't fun, Littman said it wasn't all negative for him. "I didn't like the quiet, but it helped me focus on school," he said. "It was a good learning experience for me in some cases."

But now campus feels invigorating, and possibilities plentiful.

"No one really knows what to expect," sophomore Christine Ramos said. "The culture is not set the way it was before—we didn't get guidance from upperclass students. We were all separated. So I'm excited to see where it goes now."