I can vividly remember driving back to Waco from San Marcos during spring break of 2020. On the trip back I received one of the strangest emails I have ever gotten, the subject line reading “school closure.” Many of the upperclassmen may remember receiving this email because of the pandemic.
It is unprecedented to live through a pandemic, and even more so living at a time where school is the most important thing to you. But, I can tell you one thing for sure, coming back to school after covid changed many things about how college works.
I was only a freshman when the Coronavirus started to spread, thus I was only given about a semester and half of normal college life that many before me have experienced. But, returning to school after being quarantined for so long was new for every college student on the planet.
Thinking back to my freshman year, I remember going to the “caf” every day, seeing the P.O.D. at maximum capacity, passing crowds of people across campus and struggling to find equipment to work out with at the UREC ( I do not miss that one as much.). Not only have many extracurriculars changed drastically but the way the classroom works has changed a lot as well.
In my own experience I have seen professors become much more relaxed with certain parts of the curriculum, missing class means there is usually a zoom link, absences are more insignificant while late assignments are more acceptable. There are many other changes that could be mentioned, but the main point is the way that we live and learn at a university is probably not going to go back to how it was before the pandemic for a while, if ever.
I have not seen the P.O.D., the UREC or even the sidewalks of the university, nearly as full as they were during the fall semester of 2019. There are many reasonable explanations for this: social distancing, people wearing or not wearing masks, fewer events to go to, or simply people not wanting to be as interactive as we used to be. Will we ever get back to what we once knew? I am not sure, and newer students only know this post-pandemic type of college. This has sparked interest in what the new generation looks and acts like.
A lot of upperclassmen I have conversed with express concerns for the lower classmen in handling heavy workloads, showing up to class, being more emotional, and not quite understanding the process of maturing into adulthood and having more responsibilities. But, I have also conversed with lowerclassmen who also expressed concern for the ones about to graduate. They think we are too high strung, too stressed and not fully enjoying the life God has given us. Is there a right or wrong way of thinking by these two groups? I am not sure, but I know for certain that there is definitely a divide between pre- and post-COVID students in their way of thinking.
In my opinion, I feel bad for the lower classmen and I miss pre-COVID. I want to see all of my friends around campus, have major events happening like they used to and enjoy college as we once knew it. If that means being cleaner and healthier, let us do it. We are all college students who probably need to shower more often anyways.