Because I am a college senior, the Coronavirus pandemic weighs especially heavy on my heart. In an instant, my entire student teaching experience was ripped out of my hands and put on standby. Now, the university has moved everything online for the remainder of the semester, which means that I won’t return to campus.
I feel anger, sadness, confusion, and regret. I have more questions than answers right now, which isn’t easy to accept. While I worry about postponed graduation ceremonies and fears about finding a job or applying to graduate school, I also find myself crying over all of the moments that I now won’t experience.
Many of us had a lot to look forward to in these next few weeks:
Preparing for graduation by decorating caps and buying dresses.
Graduation is a huge milestone meant to celebrate everything we’ve worked towards over the last four years. We’ve spent countless hours dedicated to course work – studying, researching, collaborating, and testing. Now that this virus has, in many ways, shut down the world, we don’t get to have that celebration (at least how we envisioned it, if at all). We won’t get to find that perfect white dress for graduation. We won’t get to spend the days leading up to the big day decorating caps and reminiscing on all of the memories we’ve made. And we won’t get to walk across that stage with our peers as our parents and loved ones cheer us on.
Attending our last classes/placements.
As a senior liberal studies major, I was in my student teaching semester when the Coronavirus began to take a toll on the US. I was ripped from my sweet, sweet second-graders one week before I was supposed to finish my first placement, and I never got to meet my high-schoolers for my second. I didn’t get closure, and neither did the kiddos who I’d built relationships with over those short six weeks.
Many of us have been robbed of our final internships and classes. Don’t get me wrong – everyone is working with us to ensure we get as much of the experience as we can. Still, nothing beats facing daily struggles and milestones in the classroom.
The last late nights with roommates.
Many of us have lived with the same people for quite awhile. We knew that eventually we’d all move out and go our separate ways… but not this suddenly or quickly. We shared so many laughs, cries, celebrations, and hurdles that we became like a family. When the Coronavirus struck our campus, we knew deep down that life would change and we might be apart for a while, but I never expected that we would permanently separate so suddenly. I miss binge-watching, laughing until I cry, making late-night food runs, and always having my roommates in my corner.
Attending job fairs and interviews to solidify post-college plans.
The end of senior year gives us a whole new perspective. No longer do we prepare to go home for summer just to return to another round of college. Now, we’re searching for our first “big kid job” or applying to graduate school. With the Coronavirus affecting the entire country, the next couple of months are uncertain. How will companies hold interviews? How will we find jobs when we don’t know when this will be over? Are schools going to start on time next year? The uncertainty of it all makes planning for the future difficult.
Looking forward to our usual routine.
Many of us thrive on routine. We get up, get ready, eat breakfast, attend classes and internships, go home, eat dinner, prep for the next day, shower, and go to bed. Now? We get up, take forever to get out of bed, eat breakfast, do a little homework, then binge-watch TV. Many of us get stir crazy quickly, so not having much to do and being away from friends is a hurdle every day.
My fellow college seniors, I hope that you can still celebrate all of your accomplishments from the last four years.
I hope that you find closure in your college career, in whatever ways you can.
I hope that you hold onto these years of memories and value them instead of the unfortunate way we have to end our time in school.
And I hope that during this time of uncertainty, you’re able to find some sense of comfort and normalcy in your life.
While this isn’t the ending any of us hoped for, it doesn’t take away from our hours upon hours of hard work and dedication.
We will still graduate, and we should graduate proudly.