From financial struggles, to cancelled vacations, and unfortunately for many personal losses, this pandemic has most definitely had a significant impact on everyone. My school, while open, has had many classes, events, and even some on campus jobs be remote, which has significantly contributed to the feeling of isolation during these times. While I like many others try to be social, the pandemic has made it harder to do so. And as someone who is graduating in the end of May, I never would have expected to have my senior year be like this.
I personally have always envisioned my last year of college to be a total blast: hanging out with large groups of friends, going to the many traditional events that my school has every year, and having one last hurrah at my graduation ceremony. Thus far, none of those things have happened. While I do still see my friends, it's in very small groups and typically outdoors. All of the events at my school have either been cancelled, or moved remotely. And my school has not told anybody if we're even having a graduation ceremony yet. If anything, senior year has been boring.
Academics are a whole different issue. For many, it's a lot harder to learn in a virtual setting. I get distracted very easily in remote classes, and when I have a class back-to-back, it's hard to sit in the same space for a long period of time. While there are still classes that are on campus at my school, the majority of them are hybrid, which for many means you alternate the day(s) you go into the classroom.
While I completely understand why there are restrictions on campus, I can't help but feel disappointed that this is how my senior year has been.
I asked some of my classmates and friends about their thoughts and feelings about senior year. This is what they said:
"This whole experience [senior year] was very disappointing and anti-climactic. I was worried that because I couldn't meet in person I might miss a graduation requirement. I think I still will be until I get the diploma."
"I went to a school that did quarters and we were told in between quarters 3 and 4 that we weren't coming back, so I didn't get to say goodbye to anybody. It sucked. I did do some fire theatre my senior year though. I miss my musical theatre company."
"[I was worried about] how were we going to do cases wise and access from a disability perspective... can't touch things, can't lipread with masks, spaces are tight due to regulations, etc."
While most answers primarily focused on negative aspects, some also focused on the positives as well:
"I was worried about how different everything would be during COVID, but was so beyond thankful to still have the opportunity to live with my friends on campus! College is what you make of it, COVID or no COVID, so you just got to focus on the positives."
"[I liked the] flexibility of classes- in person, remote. Having access to classes online. Miss a class? Sign on to blackboard to catch up."
"[I like] being on campus, seeing old friends and making new ones, all the activities, new dining options, being able to spend more time on my schoolwork without having other things, and remote fitness classes."
While it's easy to obsess over the negative aspects of this pandemic (and rightly so), there have been some positives to it. For many, we were able to pick up some new hobbies, make some new friends, and really take the time to reflect back on what we want out of life and what is most important to us. I feel that COVID has made a lot of people really stop and think about what our lives, our communities, and our society needs to do to improve. I have noticed that COVID has made a lot of people interested in solving serious societal issues, something I think is much needed.
Wear a mask, stay safe, and be kind to one another.
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