Banmai Huynh ’24 (near left)
Corporate Finance and Accounting Major
In fall 2020, I was a first-year student and fully remote. When the spring semester started, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. Though I’m an extrovert, I was hesitant to live on campus. My mom pushed me to move in. She saw me struggling and knew I needed a change.
When I got here, one of the biggest challenges was feeling like everyone had already made their friends in the first semester. I had made friends during online classes, but these were people I only saw on a structured Zoom call twice a week.
After a couple weeks, I realized that classmates I’d met virtually were happy to see me on campus. I reached out to people I knew from class and asked if they wanted to grab lunch. A lot of people, even if they had been on campus in the fall, still felt a little disconnected because of COVID.
Something that helped was my virtual participation in the Women’s Leadership Program and the Asian Students Association; it was the best feeling to meet everyone in person. During the spring semester, when the country experienced a rise in Asian hate crimes, it was good to be together. We worked to raise awareness. We had a lot of heartfelt conversations and became closer.
Having classes in person is so much more engaging for me. I’m huge on class participation — to the point where classmates probably get annoyed! But honestly, I believe in getting the most out of my education and connecting with my professors helps me do that.
As an orientation leader, I was excited to tell first-year students that this is my first fall semester on campus, too. I’m really glad that things are getting back to normal, but I learned that self-discipline goes a long way and that I’m more capable than I thought.