The pandemic that began in 2020 changed the world, college campuses and how students respond and adapt to the challenges that lockdowns, Zoom classes and hybrid classes presented. In this ongoing series, Franklin & Marshall students discuss their experiences over the last 19 months.
Name: Alison Francis
Class year: 2024
Major (or intended major): Intended business, organizations and society and mathematics dual major
What town do you call home?: Dallas, Pa.
Activities at F&M / sport: Women’s soccer, Alpha Phi sorority, Student-Athlete Leadership Council (SALC)
Tell us about your last year at F&M: Last year at F&M, I was on campus for the fall semester and at home learning virtually for the spring semester. Being socially distanced, masked, and taking classes remotely during my first year in college was undoubtedly difficult, but everyone in the F&M community was able to persevere, and I am so happy to finally be back on campus and to have a normal college experience.
What did you find challenging about being a remote student-athlete and team member? Being a remote student-athlete and a team member was especially difficult in the spring, because my team was able to practice and compete while I was at home patiently waiting for the time when I could finally play collegiate soccer. It was also very challenging to not be able to play competitive soccer over the course of the pandemic, because I have been so accustomed to playing the sport for almost my whole life. However, I had to remain motivated while being home, and I was able to support the team and stay connected in different ways over this time period. I was able to become a member of a few team committees, which met virtually throughout the spring and summer, and I also cheered my teammates on over the live streams of their games in the spring.
What are you looking forward to this year? This year, I am looking forward to continuing our team’s success throughout the soccer season, and I am also looking forward to being involved in other organizations that I did not have the opportunity to participate in due to the pandemic, and to build new connections and friendships through these organizations.
What was it like playing/practicing with your team for the first time? We had a few non-contact and socially distanced practices last fall, but coming into the preseason this year, it was so amazing to see how excited everyone was to be back together and playing our sport again. Everyone was so eager to meet each other, get to know each other, and to begin our season, since it has been almost two years since the team last competed.
What advice do you have for other student-athletes like you? If I could give any advice to a student-athlete like myself, it would be to not take the time you get playing your sport for granted, because you never know what could happen or when you'll be able to play again. Always be grateful for and enjoy the time you get to spend with your teammates on and off the field. Also, I would say getting involved in other organizations and activities on campus is so important to build more connections and to make the most out of your college experience.
Any other comments you’d like to share? This pandemic has been an immense challenge for everyone, but I am so grateful to be back on campus with my friends and my teammates, and to finally be playing the sport I love again! Go Dips!
"Always be grateful for and enjoy the time you get to spend with your teammates on and off the field."