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Recent Loyola Alums Describe Unique College Freshman Experience

Loyola alumni Michael Scandaliato ’20 and Alexander Word ’20 share their experiences as freshmen in college while learning virtually. 

In times where it is hard to connect with people and develop meaningful relationships through online school, Scandaliato makes it his mission to uphold his relationships with his professors.

Scandaliato, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “I have not been able to completely experience my school, but so far I really like all my professors. I make it a point to form good relationships with my professors especially under these circumstances.” 

Given the extenuating circumstances, universities have been accommodating their students’ needs by attempting to make online school as similar to in person school as possible. 

Word, a freshman at the University of Southern California, stated, “The flexible curriculum allows me to take classes of my personal interests and at my own pace. Also, I have found that my TAs and professors have been easy to reach and quite accommodating despite the ongoing pandemic.”

Word still utilizes the skills he learned at Loyola to effectively succeed at the University of Southern California.

Word said, “Loyola has made it a point to me to always do well and focus in school. I feel like it is necessary to grow and develop my academic skills no matter the situation.”

The underlying circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have put students all around the world under immense stress. Students are expected to manage their grades with minimal human interaction while also maintaining their own mental health.

Scandaliato said, “What motivates me most is not having much else to do. Loyola has made me appreciate learning a lot more than if I went to another high school. My drive to learn was instilled in me from my high school experience at Loyola. Having a small group to interact with and my school work has helped me maintain a sense of normalcy.” 

Despite having spent their last semester at Loyola at home instead of on campus, these Loyola alumni made relationships at Loyola that will last forever.

Word remarked, “I miss my fellow Cub brothers and friends. I really miss my teachers and the entire in-person Cub experience. The community we have in Loyola is extremely important, and it feels great to be a part of it although I am not there physically.”

Graduating Loyola online in June of 2020 was hard for many of the seniors and has reminded them of how fortunate they were to have been on campus for most of it.

Scandaliato explained, “I missed the sense of community the most about Loyola. Every day at Loyola I looked forward to coming to class. No matter if it were my free period or a mundane subject I would always enjoy my time. All the teachers at Loyola are supportive and have helped make me the man I am today.”


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