Julia Maher ‘23
College is generally seen as a time of freedom and independence, but COVID-19 makes college students feel the exact opposite way. Although we need to follow all the restrictions to curb the pandemic, there are still obvious drawbacks to staying on campus. Students wait in long lines to get food and have to sign up to dine in-person, the convenient dining options require dining dollars, there are very limited dining options if you have dietary restrictions, and families are even supplementing their expensive dining plan by ordering groceries to be delivered to their children due to inadequate food options. Furthermore, there are gathering restrictions and capacity limits in common spaces, problems with internet, no shuttles to grocery stores or shopping centers like before, barely any clubs are meeting, and workout activities in Loyola and the Jo are not available.
When reflecting on her experience living on campus as a sophomore during the pandemic, Amanda Vierra ‘23 said, “I think the time lost is the part that is hard to stomach. I’m extremely privileged to go to this school, and I have met many great friends during my time here. I hope my time as an upperclassman makes up for the time I lost living some of what people consider the best experiences of their lives. I’m incredibly grateful for the measures the College has taken towards making it feel as normal as possible, but I think even the College understands that it’s always going to fall short of the ideal. We just need to be together during this time and encourage each other to make up for lost time on campus.”
There are also clear disadvantages to staying at home or off campus during the spring semester. Many students chose to do this because it felt safer and they did not want the threat of the campus closing down again to abruptly affect them. Although there are pros to this choice, these students, including myself, are missing out on the college campus experience entirely. This is particularly devastating, since all students want a normal college experience. I have experienced this firsthand, and it is still difficult for me to process the fact that I am losing so much time during college. These are years that I cannot relive or get back, and that reality is extremely disappointing. I have tried to convince myself that college is not the best four years of my life and that I can have great years after college, but I still feel sad.
Ultimately, although Holy Cross students are very privileged to attend this school, we are all still hugely sacrificing our typical, expected college experience. We are all grieving, so it is important to be aware of our responses to our trauma and be gentle with ourselves this semester. We should not expect ourselves to function the same as when we were on campus, living our normal college lives.
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