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You’ve Survived College, COVID Edition: A Year in Review

     It’s been a year, to say the least. Our first full leap into college, COVID edition. We’ve slept through Zoom calls, social-distanced at the salad bar, and swabbed our noses too many times to count. I’m sure we’re all ready to wrap up this marathon of a semester. But before we say goodbye to the green and gold for the season, let’s take a look at just how much we’ve accomplished. 

     My fellow freshmen, we walked into a world of cancelled traditions and made our own anyways. Maybe we didn’t run the line, but we ran for office, sprinted across soccer fields, speed-walked and skated to our 9 ams. Together, we took on a freshman year like no other and still made our mark on campus, from Greek life to game day at McLane.

     Sophomores, you stepped into your first spring on campus and kept your head up even when you didn’t know what to expect. Even though your first year of college got cut short, your optimistic outlook set you apart as role models for first-year students. You set yourself up for success as an upperclassman, and your hard work is definitely going to pay off.  

     Juniors, you’ve bittersweetly built on who you were, thinking back to better days but never giving up hope on the here and now. You knew the ways things should be but showed up regardless, ready to lead and laugh and love in different ways.

     Seniors, you’ve reached the top, and we want to celebrate you even when the world says to stay apart. You’ve put in the work and we value you so, so much. We’re so excited to see you put on your graduation robes, even if you’ll be wearing a mask, too. 

     There is no guide book on how to be a college student in a pandemic. There is no easy way to wade through 12+ hours of coursework with no breaks, no shortcut to staying positive when you’ve been staring at a screen all day. But we’ve done the impossible. We’re in the home stretch.

     You’ve made it through these past 16 weeks, and that’s incredible in and of itself. But you’ve done more than merely survive. You’ve stood in solidarity with fellow students, even from six feet apart. You’ve held snowball fights at Fountain Mall and slid across icy sidewalks. You’ve watched history unfold with Baylor basketball’s national champs (sic ‘em!). You’ve proved to yourself and to the world that progress is possible, even when all signs say otherwise.

     So in this final sprint to summer, as you’re running on caffeine and Quizlet, take a moment to thank yourself for showing up. Remind yourself how far you’ve come, how your past self would be in awe to see you here now. Remember that even though better days are ahead, there is value in what you’ve lived through now. 

     We’ve done the impossible. I can’t wait to see what we do next.

Aubrey Gilliam is a sophomore University Scholar at Baylor University with concentrations in Political Science, International Relations, Middle East Studies, and Religion. She's a Texas girl through and through and says "y'all" unironically and without shame. When she's not buried in reading assignments, you'll find her drinking boba, petting dogs, or doing a sic 'em at the top of her lungs.
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