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COVID-19 Is Changing Campus Life for College Students, All Without Reduced Tuition

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When I pictured my senior year of college, I never would have imagined any of this. I thought about taking graduation pictures on campus at Baylor, finishing out my degree in the classroom, and taking in all of the traditions like Homecoming and football.

Students have not been immune to the effects of the pandemic, as they’ve experienced virtual graduations, canceled ceremonies and online classes. For many, this coming academic year means wearing masks on the way to class, limited sports games, and lots of social distancing.

As colleges across the U.S. create plans to return to campus and adjust academics to be online, students have to alter their expectations for campus life — in most cases, with full-priced tuition or student fees.

COVID-19 has left millions without jobs, and that doesn’t bode well for college students paying their semester bills. Most schools are not cutting costs of attendance, despite the pandemic affecting everyone’s finances in some way. In my case, my school has not offered a tuition discount for online or hybrid classes, and has not discounted student fees despite many on-campus events having limited attendance or being canceled altogether. I know I’m not alone in my frustration.

The lack of campus life and lack of resources warrants a reduction in costs for students. I believe that my peers and I shouldn’t be worried about paying financial statements when this school year is not the same as years past. Change in campus life should mean financial relief, now more than ever with the pandemic.

Senior year just won’t be the same, not without in-person organization meetings, particularly with my Her Campus team. After one year of chartering and leading our chapter, and with limited time together in person for this school year, I am so not ready to leave this organization behind just yet — even though I know it’s for the health and safety of everyone.

Everything that made college "college" is quickly disappearing. 

And I’m not ready for my college experience to be over just yet. Last year’s campus events were the last time I could experience college fully, and I didn’t even know it. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, and I never expected it to be cut short by a world-changing pandemic.

Seniors won’t be able to appreciate and celebrate their final year in college fully, and it breaks my heart. This summer has been full of anxiety about returning to campus with the current state of the world, and now as we prepare to head back to campus for our last first day of class, I can’t help but appreciate my past three years on campus.

With all the uncertainty, all this change, I want my fellow seniors to know that I am with you through this. Even though we are not getting the picture-perfect senior year of our last “firsts”, celebrating campus traditions and perhaps a graduation ceremony, the pandemic is not going to reduce our hard work and dedication. 

We are still getting a degree, we are still graduating — and that deserves to be celebrated, no matter the circumstances, no matter the financial injustice. We will celebrate all the late nights in the library and laughing with friends. We will celebrate all the obstacles that stood in our way and we overcame them.

COVID-19, you changed our lives forever, but that won’t stop us seniors celebrating our wonderful accomplishment.

Chantal Canales is a senior journalism new media major at Baylor University. She is from McKinney, Texas, just north of Dallas. When she is not editing articles, she loves getting coffee with friends, reading books, discovering new places in Waco, and working at Fabled Bookshop and Cafe. She hopes to work as a book agent for a publishing house or as a magazine editor after her graduation in May 2021.
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