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Mask off: OSU sophomores looking forward to first semester of normalcy at OSU

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OSU sophomore Ryder Bates had the “typical freshmen experience” yanked away from him last year.

Between following guidelines and navigating through a socially-distanced, mask-filled campus, Bates began to have limited time for himself.

“One of the major problems was the lack of free time I was offered due to work and no time off. All work and no play,” he said.

Now that OSU announced that masks and social distancing are gone, sophomores like Bates and other students are finally looking to flip the page this upcoming school year and finally know what it’s like to be a college student. Sophomore Matthew Sitar can’t wait for this.

“Arguably, the biggest part of going away to college was stripped away from us,” Sitar said. “A mask free, fully filled campus will allow us to resume college as we dreamt it.”

With COVID playing a massive role in effecting the day-to-day activities of all students, some felt they had little opportunity to get to know their classmates and peers. Even when they did, those faces and smiles were hidden underneath a cloth face covering.

Ginna Timmons began feeling the difficulty of meeting new people when arriving in Stillwater.

“I feel with wearing the masks didn’t give us (students) the chance to open up as much as we could have,” Timmons said.

Masks continued to be a major point of concern for all new students with getting to interact with others, while not feeling fearful of getting sick.

As many students felt the effects of not getting to experience the college experience, hope is on the horizon in Stillwater. In a statement released to OSU students and faculty on May 14th, masks and social distancing will no longer be required around campus for the upcoming school year, with few exceptions: the busses and certain areas of University Health Services.

While this pandemic hampered the ability to college students to experience, the level of optimism has never been higher in Stillwater. With sporting events going back to full capacity, OSU students are more excited than ever to get to experience the college lifestyle.

“I've heard a lot of great and crazy things about how OSU is for sporting events and I'm really excited to experience that first hand,” said OSU business major Joshua Fox.