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Alone Together: A First-Year Student-Athlete's Experience in the Pandemic

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: Owen McCann

Class Year: 2025

Major (or intended major): Undecided, possibly history

What town do you call home?: Madison, N.J.

Activities at F&M / sport: Men's cross country, men's indoor and outdoor track and field

Tell us about your last year at F&M: I ended up taking a gap year last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my gap year, I worked at a toy store, took a few classes at another university, and volunteered. F&M was very accommodating and worked with me every step of the process in my gap year.

What did you find challenging about being a remote student-athlete and team member? What did you find most rewarding? Even though I was in a gap year, and wasn't officially on the team, it was still very easy to connect with my teammates. A great team atmosphere is always helpful in times like those.

What are you looking forward to this year? After being home for a full year, I'm looking forward to starting new classes, meeting new people and finally putting on the F&M uniform. A long time to wait — finally getting that jersey on is a special feeling.

What was it like practicing with your team for the first time? Everyone was very kind and respectful. There is a real sense of everyone wanting everyone else to be better. It doesn't really matter who the fastest on the team is; everyone wants to get better as a team.

What advice do you have for other student-athletes like you? Coming into school, I definitely had anxiety about meeting the team and being in this new place. One piece of advice I would give is that this is unnecessary, as everyone will make you feel at home from the first day on!

"Finally getting that jersey on is a special feeling."

– Owen McCann '25


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