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To say it’s been a strange school year is an understatement. A year ago, weeks after the shutdown first began, we all hoped that things would be back to normal by the fall. Yet as more weeks without leaving the house went by, COVID-19 cases grew, and we knew we would have to continue classes online. Now here we are, at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, and the last year of our lives has been difficult, to say the least.

I had been excited for my sophomore year, no longer a freshman but still with plenty of time left. My roommates and I had been planning out the decor for our new dorm and making lists of everything we wanted to do together over the summer. Having it all taken away was hard, yet we got by the best we could. There were plenty of text messages, letters, and late-night phone calls laughing until our stomachs hurt. Even though we were far apart, we never let each other be alone. Without them, it would’ve been impossible to get through this year. [bf_image id="fs8q24q3wrgmm3hx5kqwk3tv"]

I’m also lucky enough to have a wonderful family who have helped me through this odd school year, and all the other difficulties I’ve had to face. It’s been a difficult year for the family. We lost my beloved grandmother Priscilla to COVID-19 and had to support each other from afar to get through the grief. A few weeks later we lost my Uncle Angel, one of my favorite men in the whole world. These two were some of my biggest supporters in life, and they helped me have the most wonderful life from the second I was born. It’s been hard without them, but having my family near me has helped. Whether a phone call or a brief in-person (but safe!) meeting, every bit of support has helped. 

Yet there have still been so many things to be thankful for, so many happy moments. I started to focus on my mental health and wellbeing more, being sure to get the help I needed. I spent lots of time baking — maybe too much time — and never had a bad batch. I spent a second birthday in quarantine, but I made the most of it. I got to see my friends (even if from a distance) for the first time in a while. I spent the evening eating some of my favorite comfort food and spending time with my mom, older brother, and his partner. Their gifts didn’t hurt either, but I would’ve been happy with just their presence. The weather has begun to heat up, and Los Angeles is thawing. I admire every gust of wind, every mountain peak, and every whimsical sunset that I see on walks around my neighborhood. There’s still so much good in the world, and we can never forget it. 

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As COVID-19 cases go down, and vaccinations go up, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it’s faint and hard to make out, but it’s there. Now, my roommates and I can dust off our old Pinterest boards and start planning our decor again. We can make lists of all the recipes we want to try, map out all the beaches we’ll make day trips to. We’ll get to go to in-person classes again, be able to fully collaborate and connect with our peers and get the most out of our discussions. We’ll get to feel like college students again, and truly enjoy it. 

It’s hard to believe that half of my college career is already over. Just like so many other people across the country, it stings to know I lost so much of it. Yet it was what we had to do. We had to keep our communities safe, and I was willing to give up this time to keep as many people from harm as possible. Now, in only a few months, we’ll start to return to normalcy. It won’t all go back to the way it was immediately, but we’ll get there. This time has taught me to take advantage of every moment I have at CLU. I won’t be in college forever, so I need to enjoy it while I can. So that’s what I plan to do. I’ll make the second half of my college career unforgettable. We’ve all been through so much this past year, but it’s all uphill from here.   

Caroline Lopez

Cal Lutheran '23

Hello! My name is Caroline and I’m an English major at California Lutheran University. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and love spending time going to the beach and traveling around the state. I am a passionate book nerd who spends all her free time reading the classics, watching old movies, and writing!
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