The energy is definitely up this year. I’m looking forward to having students be more engaged. I think overall, students are more excited this year.
The campus buzzed as nervous-looking parents and smiling students carried blankets, food, pillows, lamps, and other essentials during move-in days at Bridgewater State University.
“The energy is definitely up this year,” said Chris McKenney, ’26, a second-year resident advisor and one of the volunteers manning a check-in table at Shea and Durgin residence halls last Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to having students be more engaged. I think overall, students are more excited this year.”
Seniors and members of the BSU women’s softball team, Janet Jolly, ’24, Molly Thibaudeau, ’24, and Ava Novakoski, ’24, agree, things are different from when they first enrolled at Bridgewater in the fall of 2020, which was smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.
“During COVID, it was hard to meet people,” she said. “I didn’t live on campus because classes were online, but now it feels like people are out more and able to really socialize.”
Last year was the first time the majority of COVID restrictions were lifted, but this year brings a renewed sense of normal.
“Things do feel different,” Janet said. “I find myself on campus more, using the gym more. There is definitely more of a social feel.”
“And we get to have an actual graduation this year, we didn’t get to have one in high school,” Molly said.
Amherst, New Hampshire, native Dante Nieto, ’27, came to Bridgewater State to study aviation and play football. He, as well as the other fall student-athletes, moved onto campus two weeks prior for preseason training.
“Things feel more normal again, more social and I like that…I look forward to meeting new friends and flying planes,” he said.
Childhood friends and incoming freshmen, Hannah O’Neill and Maddie Bianchi, both class of ’27, opted to be roommates this year and coordinated all summer how they were going to decorate their shared room. The Taunton residents looked forward to seeing their new digs in Shea Hall.
Maddie admitted to being a little anxious about the shift from high school to college but rooming with Hannah erased some of those nerves.
“I don’t think I could live with anyone else,” she said.
“Same,” Hannah said, “But we are looking forward to meeting new people, being in a new environment, and making new friends.”
“It’s a fresh start,” Maddie added. “In a way it’s like starting kindergarten all over again.”
As the members of the class of 2027 start their BSU journeys, Ava and Janet offered some advice.
“Speak to as many people as you can,” Ava said.
“Yes, and remember, everyone is just as nervous as you, so don’t worry about what others think. Get out there, get involved and make friends," Janet added.
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