SEATTLE — A packed car and a hopeful freshman may be the latest metric that the world is getting back to normal. The University of Washington campus will be busy for the next three days with students moving into on-campus housing.
Grace Sheehan is a six-hour flight from her hometown near Philadelphia and today she’s moving in.
“I fell in love with Seattle and the campus the second I got here,” the 18-year-old said.
She’s joining what university administrators said may be a record-setting incoming class size.
“At this point, all indications are that we will have one of the largest incoming classes in UW history. We’re looking at over 7,200 new students coming into the UW this year which says that students are eager to be in this kind of environment,” said Denzil Suite the vice president of Student Life for the University of Washington.
The university says that compared to 2019 the number of students requesting on-campus housing has spiked by 20%.
“What we’re seeing is that students overall are looking for more community, asking us for ways in which they can connect to campus and when we host events, we’re seeing large numbers of people show up,” Suite said.
While COVID-19 precautions are encouraged, many of these freshmen will stay two to a room and classes will be in person. A somewhat traditional college experience after a high school one that was anything but.
“I think it’s completely changed how my generation now interacts with each other – I think it’s really hard for teenagers to go without their devices and to be able to communicate in person and work on their social skills,” Sheehan said.
A new generation of college students that for now are hopeful they’ll be able to leave the uncertainty of the pandemic in high school.
“I think It’s also brought us together as a generation and I also think there is this sense of community around everyone our age,” Sheehan said.
According to the University of Washington face coverings are strongly recommended inside though are not a requirement. They will still be tracking COVID cases as students and staff are required to report positive tests.