At UD, we pride ourselves on being able to connect with one another to make this place the home away from home. We smile in passing, hold doors open for one another, hug our friends when we see them on our way to in-person classes, and so much more.
It has broken my heart that as a senior, I don't have that anymore.
My three years at UD have been some of the best of my entire life. The opportunity to build a group of supportive friends and mentors has been monumental in my growth as a person. Interacting with one another is how we made those connections. It's hard to do that with masks and constant sanitizing.
Senior year has been so difficult. Friends that would've been able to gather together before can no longer do so. Typical Thursday nights don't look the same anymore. R Taco, Fieldhouse, Tim's, houses...though they're all still there, things don't feel the same anymore.
One of the things I love the most about UD is how much care each person has about the other just because they exist. They don't have to do anything or be some special superhero to mean something to the other student sitting next to them. Just because they exist, they matter. UD reinforces that and makes it feel more and more like home every day.
It's tough to do that over Zoom University.
My personal experience with COVID at the University of Dayton has been so confusing. People in all of my different friend groups believe differently and have different motives and goals to their actions. Some people don't believe the virus even exists while others won't let a single person into their apartment. Some people wear masks everywhere outside while others barely wear them when required during class (when we have it). It's turned into something that's divided so many people even more than they were before.
My experience with COVID has been sad. I imagined my last year to be a movie; there was nothing more that I wanted to do than just live my best life with my best friends without worry about being infected or infecting someone else.
COVID and quarantine have done many good things for me, though. It has shown me who matters most in my life; who reaches out and really cares. It has given me the opportunity to learn to be grateful for the little things.
The one thing I miss most that I've lost this first semester is feeling that connection and feeling like I matter; the feelings I got when someone would just smile at me on a bad day or hold a door open when I was struggling to walk down the stairs. I miss the connection, the community, and the care. It is still there, I would like to believe so, but it's so difficult to feel these days.
All we can do right now is make the best of where we're at. Though it's hard, if anyone can do it, it's UD.
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