Troy University senior Victoria Cirilli candidly discusses her thoughts, fears and small joys during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A global pandemic is not an ideal ending to what is considered the most exciting four years of your life. College students across the country have now been transitioned to online learning for the rest of the spring semester in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now, those seniors who have loved TROY like a home, devoted hours to classes, Greek life, clubs, friends and one-of-a-kind adventures have had to say a premature goodbye, and not in the way they expected.
As a senior who did not realize that the last time I saw my closest friends before spring break might be the last forever, I am concerned that I may not have appreciated the past four years as much as I should have. Taking for granted just how short these four years would feel, there may have been more moments I could have taken advantage of or enjoyed more without stress.
One of the hardest parts about having to say goodbye to TROY early is that there is a small amount of regret that plagues the happy memories. It occurs to me that maybe there is something I could have done in the past that would make up for the lost time we face now, as our last on-campus moments were taken away by unforeseen circumstances.
Missing out on events that I have been looking forward to since my freshman year is also disheartening. Deeply held traditions every senior looks forward to, celebrating the last month of their college career, have been cancelled with no possibility of a reschedule before graduation.
All of these thoughts cloud the days while the fear of the virus possibly affecting your family and their health continues to grow with every news update, and class work is still due tonight at midnight.
There is a lot of disappointment, chaos and stress surrounding the epidemic, especially for those who did not get a final farewell, or a chance to appreciate the people and place that formed them since 2016. This time in quarantine has allowed seniors only the opportunity to reminisce on the happy memories they had already made.
It can be easy to despair over this situation, and a lot of negatives can be dwelled on for the countless hours we are sitting at home in quarantine, and it would be foolish to say those feelings can be avoided, because it is a natural reaction to the current situation around the world.
With the help of technology, however, the social distancing can actually feel a little less isolating. Students are scheduling zoom chats outside of their online classes just to be able to see their friends and catch up. My bible study has been meeting via FaceTime, and the comfort and support we have for each other has lifted me up in ways that I did not realize could happen over the phone.
I am in constant connection with the friends that I value most through group texts and phone calls, and it has kept me from losing my mind as well as prevented my mental health from declining. These virtual events have given students a steady dose of positivity in a time that appears to have none.
This generation has taken a lot of heat for relying on technology the way that we do, but in a time where we have no choice but to stay at home for society to heal, our devices have encouraged connections that would have otherwise been lost forever for many graduating seniors.
The coronavirus is an isolating and lonely disease, but it does not have to be if we make a conscious effort to communicate with one another and not allow this transition to virtual college to be the end of the great times shared with our peers.