Our last semester in a pandemic

It’s been a long, but fun, four years at Calvin University. From intro courses to senior seminars and everything in between, the final semester is wrapping up for the class of 2020, in one of the most strange and unorthodox ways. Campus has essentially shut down, and all classes are being held online while the country is plagued by toilet paper shortages. Even our commencement ceremony has been moved to October 3 with the chance of it having to be postponed again if the pandemic continues.

As a non-traditional student, I came to Calvin as a 21-year-old, which allowed me the luxury of living off-campus from day one. As nice as it was to not have to share a tiny dorm room with someone and abide by all the rules of living on campus, I realize how much I missed out on by being off campus. There’s a certain camaraderie created through campus life, and I’ve seen so much of it formed through the time spent living in the dorms — a time missed out on. 

Now I fear the class of 2020 is experiencing the same missing out that I did. We can’t meet up on Commons Lawn or grab overpriced food from Johnny’s. Studying in groups that are way too loud in the library is no longer an option. Our last semester has been swept away from us as we quarantine indoors. Many students have been forced to return home due to financial impacts of the lockdown and are forced to miss out on the unmarked cost in our tuition bills — relationships. College is so much more than elaborate buildings and a fancy piece of paper. It’s about forming new relationships and exploring new passions and ideas together. Maybe even finding that special someone before spring. The most devastating thing about this pandemic as a student is the loss of those opportunities. I mean sure, the economy is a mess and finding a job during this isn’t ideal, but things get better and the jobs will come back. Time doesn’t stop and we’ll never get this last semester together again. 

So, I encourage you all to be deliberate with your relationships. Make time for your friends, strike up a conversation with that cutie in your 10:30. Keep building friendships, whether it’s with a classmate or a professor. It’s our last semester, class of 2020 — let’s make the most of it.