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Back to School: Gen Z takeover (part two)

Now you’ve heard from the soon-to-be class of 2021, it’s time to meet the class of 2020. Margaret is part of this unique student cohort – as she headed off to college in the midst of a global pandemic. Here, she reflects on what that was like, giving her perspective on distance learning and virtual activities. She also reveals what she bought in those crucial Back to School months, and highlights how brand presence on campus shapes her college experience.

What is the Covid situation like where you are studying?

So right now, you are allowed to have dining inside, you’re supposed to wear your mask at all times, and maintain six feet social distance between everybody. You can, however, take your masks off outside, but that’s only if you’re walking alone. Otherwise, everything’s pretty normal and such just basically having to wear a mask everywhere. That’s about it.

What were you most excited about when starting college?

I was most excited about meeting new people and just getting one step closer to doing something I really wanted to do, and that’s nursing.

What were you most nervous about?

I was also nervous about meeting new people. I didn’t know what the college environment was going to be like so I was kind of going in blind. So I was unsure but also really excited about that at the same time.

What did you buy to prepare for starting college?

I bought a few paper items like a calendar, planner, a whiteboard calendar, and other desk items to hold my stapler, paper clips, binder clips, note cards, binders – everything that you’d need for school like binders and such. I also got a few accessories like lamps, some wall art, a rug, a mirror, and other stuff like that to decorate my dorm with.

Student holding their binders and back pack

What was at the top of your shopping list when starting college?

Definitely, a planner because I’m one of those people who like to plan things and have it so I can look at it and such. My planner was probably one of the first things that I actually did buy. I then went on to buying more school-related things. The last thing I bought was my dorm decorations.

Would you do anything differently?

I definitely could have bought less paper and such – I have so many binders and I didn’t actually use all of them so I could have saved on that, but decorations-wise, I wouldn’t change anything. I like how my dorm looks – it’s minimal, but still enough for it to look like my own place.

Were you able to attend any events during your first week of college?

I personally didn’t get to attend many events in my first week because I arrived a little bit later than most students, although I do know that some of my friends were able to participate in some virtual and in-person events. I did attend one event in-person, which was about getting to know the campus a little more – learning about what goes on, clubs, and things like that. The club I’m a part of currently organizes virtual meet-ups.

Did you do any remote learning in your first semester?

I currently attend hybrid, traditional and virtual classes. At the beginning of fall semester, all my classes were traditional or hybrid, but they had all switched to online learning by the end of the semester due to an increase in Covid cases on campus. Right now I’m loving my schedule. I like how there’s a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online classes. I think I am going to actually stick to how I am learning now, and maintain a good mix of traditional, hybrid, and online classes. Even if traditional classes are offered – I might take a few but I definitely want to keep some hybrid classes.

Do you remember any brands promoting themselves on campus? Do you think brands could do more?

My college is partnered with Adidas, but other than that I haven’t noticed too many big brand names on-campus. I think having brand partnerships or sponsors is actually very helpful. Being partnered with Adidas for sports makes things a little smoother and makes the uniforms look smart.

What do you look for in a brand when shopping?

I look for quality and longevity. I want to like what I’m buying, as well as know if I am going to use it and if the item is going to be worth my money. I also like to know the different ranges brands do and how they could be suitable or handy for me.

Is your brand ready for Back to School? Head over to our Back to School hub for all the content you need to guide you through every stage of your campaign journey.

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