TUCSON, Ariz. — Monday is the first day of classes at The University of Arizona, and for returning students, this year is a whole different experience.
TJ Agyakye is masked up and ready to tackle his senior year.
“This year will be different because the atmosphere just won't be the same, you know, getting to see all the different faces on campus and all the different people and activities that the school has to offer. And one thing that'll be a huge difference is just having classes online,” he says.
Agyakye has made the more than 1,700 mile trip from Chicago several times before. This time when he landed, his first stop was to get tested for COVID-19.
“My test came back negative so no corona for me," explains Agyakye.
He will begin his five online classes Monday, a change from the in-person education he has gotten the past three years.
The accounting major says he will miss the campus community the most.
"Having those personal interactions and just being around people has always been such a huge stress reliever. It helped me out so much when you know maybe a week wasn't going too well, or maybe I wasn't doing as good as I wanted in a class," he says.
One of his favorite interactions was shooting hoops at the recreation center with some student-athletes.
“I played with Rawle Alkins in 2018. I got to play with DeAndre Ayton," he recalls. "I just believe those experiences and those interactions kind of made college worthwhile and super exciting.”
Memories like that and memories of hosting the school's pep rallies will always be with Agyakye.
And as the senior stays optimistic, he offers this advice to incoming freshmen who will not have the full college experience off the bat.
“Get involved any way you can. I'm sure there's something that's remote or online that'll keep you in contact with other people. It'll make your week better and it will make college a lot better," says Agyakye.