When I said goodbye to my college life for spring break, I didn't know that I would virtually be saying goodbye to my college career as I know it.
Starting Kindergarten around the age of 5 and continuing on to college directly after my senior year of high school, this means that I, like many others, have been in some type of educational system for seventeen years. This is 77% of my life that has been spent going through the educational system.
More so, gaining an education and making the most of it by taking advantage of every opportunity possible has always been important to me. I always have found myself consumed with homework, reading, extracurriculars, and other school-related things.
School hasn't just been a part of my life-- it has been a key aspect of my identity for as long as I can remember. For me, it was never a question of IF I wanted to go to college but the question was WHERE would I go to college.
Back in 2016 when I was accepted to The Pennsylvania State University, I never imagined that my final college days would be spent back in my hometown taking classes online over Zoom without any of my college friends by my side because of a pandemic. My time at the beautiful campus that was supposed to be my home for four years was cut a semester short and was replaced by quarantine and social distancing.
While I definitely understand the importance of quarantine and social distancing (and I am following the rules of these two things), it is still heartbreaking to me that this huge chapter of my life has been cut short. I know that things could be worse, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a right to feel the way I feel and recognize my disappointment and anger at a situation that no one anticipated or had the ability to prevent.
It was a hard enough decision for me to decide that after receiving my bachelor's degree, I would not go on to any further schooling and to have the last semester of seventeen years of education taken from me is absolutely devastating to me.
Every time someone asks me about what will happen for graduation, I get a little teary-eyed. They try to comfort me, saying that they're sure that the college will do something to recognize the accomplishments of all of the May 2020 graduates but I'm not sure that the recognition (or lack thereof) is what bothers me. I can't pinpoint where my sadness truly stems from, but I think it is a culmination of things.
It's the classes I won't get to attend. It's the assignments that had to be altered. It's the professors I never got to thank. It's the internship events I didn't get to go to. It's the shifts I never got to work and the pizzas I'll never get to make. It's the nights out I can never get back. It's the friends I may never see again.
It's all of the 'rites of passages' and 'best time of your life' moments before entering the real world that people talk about for the rest of their lives. It's the fact I never get to experience these things.
It's the fact that the world is never going to be the same for anyone and nothing prepared us for this.