By Paige Hammond
The end of the school year is always bittersweet, but with the circumstances of COVID-19, it’s feeling more bitter than it does sweet for many. Even through the struggles, students at the College have hope for next semester, and are ready as ever to be back on campus.
Sitting at home during quarantine has given many students time to think about what they miss most about the College. Home-cooked meals are tasty, but many feel it can’t beat sitting in the dining hall with their closest friends. Having a room to yourself might be relaxing, but it’s reminiscent of having a roommate to cry with during finals week.
“I definitely miss in-person classes and hanging out with friends face-to-face the most,” said junior international studies major Caitlin Clarke. “It has been really tough to adjust to an entirely new learning style, on top of being isolated without my pals to keep me company.”
Online classes have shown students that a classroom setting is often taken for granted, along with everyday activities such as studying in the library, attending club meetings and spending time with close friends.
“I am so much more excited to be back,” said Jason Larranaga, a freshman undecided major in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. “This hiatus has made me realize how much I take for granted.”
Time away from the College has led students to recognize how much the College has to offer, and has left many missing the things they thought they never would — dorm rooms, food from the Atrium at Eickhoff and even 8 a.m. classes.
“I’m most excited to get back to in-person meetings for my clubs and classes,” Clarke said. “Before COVID, my clubs had a ton of exciting events planned, and I’m hoping that we can hold them whenever we return to campus. It will also be really nice to have the opportunity to be back in a classroom and meet my new professors in a non-virtual setting.”
The College takes a lot of pride in its sports teams, too, and athletes are itching to be back on the field, court or track.
“Before we left, I wish the tennis season finished,” said Charlotte Roarty, a freshman civil engineering major and member of the tennis team. “It would have been nice to play some of the big matches and play in the NCAA tournament.”
But not being able to compete is not the only thing that Lions miss — the biggest part of sports at the College is, for many, the communities they create. Athletes are looking forward not only to practicing again, but practicing alongside their teammates and friends.
Larranaga, who is also a member of the College’s basketball team, said that he’ll miss being around his “second family” the most.
“When we broke down our huddles during games and practices, we’d say ‘Family on 3,’ which was truly an accurate representation of how close we’d become,” Larranaga said.
Clarke also found a family in her on-campus job as an administrative assistant in Facilities and Maintenance, where she was looking forward to logging more hours for the rest of the semester.
“I really loved my work, and I was gradually being given a wider range of responsibilities and opportunities,” Clarke said. “Now I’ve lost valuable experiences that could have helped prepare me for future internships and my career.”
With a new perspective of gratitude instilled in many, students at the College intend to find joy in what was once taken for granted when returning to campus. Many are grateful that once they are able to return, they will be coming back to in-person classes, friends and smiling faculty — whatever form it may come in.
“The little things are going to feel like a much bigger deal once I get back,” Larranaga said.