Getting the most out of college life


By Natalie Mowad ‘23

Below is a first-hand account of how one student moved beyond pandemic paralysis to get involved with campus life at The University of Akron (UA). This story first appeared in the Buchtelite, UA's student newspaper.

Natalie sorority.jpegCollege is Hard When You Have No Friends

After my first semester in fall 2019, I went home for winter break [Aliquippa, Pa.] and told my mom I had no friends.

As an out-of-state, “one-person-from-my-high-school- goes-here” student, it was quite the adjustment.
My friends that I grew up with for 18 years were no longer with me, and my high school extracurricular activities were over.

Though I was in marching band at UA, and had a few acquaintances, my mom recommended I join a sorority.

I was not interested.

Mom told me to investigate it before saying no so, just like any other Gen Z, I went to Instagram. After a bit of “researching,” I thought that I could maybe see myself joining one of the sororities, so I did.

The process was fun and a little stressful but, in the end, I found my second home with girls that I knew would be in my life forever. I joined a few other clubs and finally started to find my groove.

Everyone Knows What Happens Now: March 2020

Just like everyone else, I had my struggles during lockdown. Not seeing friends, being stuck in my house, trying all the weird TikTok trends people were doing.

My entire high school life I had enjoyed being on the go with sports, band, theatre, school. I had just started to find that busy, belonging feeling with college when the world shut it all down.

Through lockdown though, there was a true effort put in by my sorority and other organizations to stay connected. Zoom became my laptop home screen, but it was okay because I could still see and interact with the people I cared about.

As lockdown went on longer, it got easier to interact but harder to stay positive about the future when I had no idea what it would bring.

I went back to campus for fall 2020 semester because I needed interaction, and knew I needed to get involved, even if it was from six feet away. I got a job on campus in the Department of Student Life, I stuck with my sorority and the marching band, and joined a few new organizations. I was finally getting a taste of the “college experience” I had wanted.