As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, let us take a moment to reflect on the hardships that we’ve gone through, as a community and as individuals. Each undergraduate student had a different experience but everyone was affected. It’s important to acknowledge the obstacles we overcame and remind ourselves of the many things to look forward to.
This is your first year in college and you don’t even know the “real” experience. You’ve heard phrases from upperclassmen saying, “before Covid we used to…” and “before the pandemic there used to be…” but you don’t even know what you missed out on. Instead of attending in-person freshman move-in events, you Zoomed in from your dorm. For those that chose to move in, this was the first time you were living independently, all amidst a pandemic. It can be lonely to leave your family, but even lonelier when the first friendships you make are from a six-foot distance. Luckily, you have three more years to make the most of your college experience. Although you won’t be able to relive your freshman year again, you have the opportunity to live in every moment for the rest of your undergraduate experience and take advantage of the time you do have.
Just when you were getting adjusted to college life as a freshman, the urgency to move out and continue the semester virtually hit. Your first semester was spent getting to know your roommates and campus life, so you could be prepared for next semester, but at the end of the day, nothing could prepare you for a pandemic. The roommates you were supposed to be sharing a room with, you ended up sharing Facetime calls with, and the walks to classes ended up being walks to your laptop to “Zoom” into class. Sophomore Melissa Holland shares her experience, “It’s really hard because not only has the pandemic taken away a lot of the social aspects, but it also took a lot of my motivation for doing school and completing assignments. Since many of my classes were online, it became difficult to create a set schedule and to do my homework on time, and this damaged my time management skills. However, with the recent news that classes are possibly going to be close-to-normal in the fall, this makes me excited and hopeful that my studying habits will also go back to the way they were pre-covid.” You’ve already made it halfway through your college career, but the other half is still there for you to grow through, learn through and enjoy to the fullest.
At this point you have all hit 20; you’re no longer in your teenage years. Sophomore year was supposed to be spent preparing your career plans, solidifying your major and taking the steps to gain experience in your intended field. Everything was pushed to the side and before you knew it, you’ve now made it to the end of your junior year. Just a few more months and you’ll be a senior. Your plans may have shifted and the senior year may still seem unknown, but the shift to “normalcy” in terms of campus life is slowly coming back. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you have one last summer in college to look forward to. Make the most of it!
First of all, congratulations. Not only did you just earn a degree, but you did so amid a pandemic. Although you were over halfway done with your undergraduate college experience when the pandemic hit, your senior year still doesn’t look the same. Some consider their senior year to be the most special. This is the year you figure out your plans, enjoy your last few months with friends that could be departing on a new journey of their life and reflecting on the past four years. For some, this is your last year being a student or having a roommate, while others may go off to graduate school or take a gap year. Regardless, the undergraduate college experience is still a memorable one. Now, what is there to look forward to? Although there are still several uncertainties in regards to graduation arrangements, it’s time to celebrate you and what you have achieved. Soak in these last few weeks and take advantage of the limited time you have as an undergraduate student while continuing to look forward to the future. If you can take on the challenges of senior year through a pandemic, you can face post-grad life head-on, even with so much unknown.