It’s been a long and hot summer, but my favorite time of year has finally rolled around. I, for one, can’t wait to move in with a refrigerator, a mattress pad that refuses to roll up, and at least twenty-three miscellaneous boxes. Especially on the evening before classes start and sharing a sum total of four carts with at least a hundred students. I’m already nostalgic for my first semester at NJIT as a wide-eyed first-year. Now that I’m returning older and wiser, let me share my predictions for the Fall 2022 semester.
Masks and Wellness: The big question on everyone’s minds is whether masks will still be mandatory in indoor teaching spaces and libraries. I don’t think that this rule will change for the upcoming semester, especially since Rutgers has announced that face coverings will be required in these spaces. However, the situation may change as the semester progresses, in accordance with guidelines released by the CDC. NJIT does not require isolation for exposure to COVID-19 but rather only if one tests positive, which is unlikely to change.
The other virus causing concern is monkeypox. Yet it is fundamentally different from SARS-CoV-2, as a vaccine is already available and monkeypox is not nearly as contagious as COVID-19. I don’t expect any monkeypox-specific recommendations this semester. Still, keep washing your hands, people! We don’t need a new strain of E. coli emerging from GDS.
Student Life: Look forward to an exciting few months. In the last few weeks of the Spring 2022 semester, NJIT’s Student Senate announced new regulations for the number of events that student organizations should hold to keep or improve their status and funding. University Serving Organizations (such as The Vector!), will hold at least 7 events this semester, and that’s not even counting the organizations in Tiers 1-4 and those classified as New Student Organizations.
I expect that new infrastructure like the fire pit in front of Tiernan Hall will be in frequent use. Several events have free food and merch for attendees, so make sure to download the Corq app and register on Highlander Hub to ensure you don’t miss anything! Also, Homecoming is just a month away: there’ll be a concert, a carnival, a petting zoo, and even a beer tent for over-21s. Take advantage while it lasts; you’ll miss it during finals season! The petting zoo, I mean, not the beer tent.
Classes and Schedules: Is it just me or were the options for classes this semester somewhat meager? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited to do awkward ice breakers with people I won’t ever talk to again, but next semester I might have to do a few of those at Rutgers-Newark. (PSA for all my pre-health majors: you can cross-enroll at Rutgers-Newark if your class isn’t offered here.) It’s okay, NJIT. Everyone has off semesters. Maybe we’ll have twice as many choices in the spring.
Climate and Environment: If you’re a first-year this semester, there’s a good chance you’ll be conducting a biodiversity survey, in which you’ll snap pictures of all the different species you find on campus. Have no worries about finding fauna; the lanternflies are back in force and somehow even more foolhardy than they were last year. They just don’t care whether you step on them or not. Lanternflies are bad for the environment, but I can’t help but admire their gumption.
As for the weather, Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes”. Sub in “New Jersey” for the location, and I think that sums it up perfectly. Incoming NJIT students would be well advised to bring sunscreen, a parka and — of course — an umbrella on any given day.
That’s all I’ve got for autumn, folks. I’ve got a good feeling about this semester. Last year, we were all struggling to find our footing after over a year without much social interaction. I might be totally off-base, but it feels like the ship is righting once more as we adjust to our new world. Let The Vector know what you’re dreading or hoping for this fall!