It’s hard not to dwell on the effect of COVID as we approach the one year anniversary of the lockdown across the United States. That’s why those of us at Her Campus Conn Coll have spent a lot of time reflecting and questioning the impact of this unprecedented event on our lives. Even beyond just thinking about what it’s been like learning remotely, the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdown has been a monumental event for the entire world, and because of that, it has disrupted not only how we are living presently, but also how we think about, plan, and try to navigate our futures.
College is a time of growth and change, and emerging into adulthood. So, we wanted to reflect on our experiences and feelings about the pandemic that we are still fighting. And despite the feeling of the end approaching, we know that it is not over yet. But even through the struggle, we have been able to learn and grow and adapt.
Four of our members—Elizabeth, Ellie, Jasmine, and Meredith—are here to tell you their thoughts on one year since lockdown, and the things that they will take away from this experience.
- UniBo: The University of “I don’t know”
When I think about where I was a year ago, my mind first goes to my interrupted semester abroad studying at the University of Bologna in Italy. The last week of February and first week of March in 2020 were a blur of saying goodbye, frantically purchasing a plane ticket home, and curling up in a ball on the airplane while watching 10 Things I Hate About You. The days, weeks, months, and now year that followed was never part of the plan, but that goes for everyone. I will be honest that my brief semester abroad was not all tagliatelle bolognese and hazelnut gelato, but those two months and the pandemic which followed taught me two things. The first, is that we can’t take everything for granted as tomorrow all that we know may slip away. Not to be cliché (but also to be cliché), 2021 is about carpe diem and taking chances whenever they arise. The second is that it is okay to embrace uncertainty. As my Italian roommate abroad explained, the University of Bologna (UniBo for short) literally translates to the “University of I don’t know” as “bo” is a conversational way of saying “I don’t know” in Italian. I may not know what is in store after college, but I am ready to take the chance and say bo.
– Elizabeth Berry, ’21
- Cautiously Optimistic
I will admit, right at the beginning of quarantine, I was a little relieved. I am on the sailing team, and I had heard horror stories about how cold the spring season is. We had only two practices before spring break, and both of them ended with frozen fingers and toes and not knowing how I would survive at least another month of this. While I felt bad that our seniors didn’t get their last season, I was actually okay with the fact that my sailing season had ended early. At the time, I was also not doing well at Conn, mental health-wise, and I constantly just wanted to go home and see my dogs and my parents. When we got the email that we were shutting down, I was obviously upset, but I was cautiously optimistic about the rest of the semester. I took online learning as a new challenge. Granted, online learning is definitely not for me, but I was excited to try it in the beginning. Doing class from my bed was wonderful at first, but I soon realized I needed to actually focus in class and not watch TikToks while the Zoom played in the background. I was having fun Zoom game nights with my family and friends, building a “Movie Lair” in my basement with my dad, and generally just trying to make the best out of being stuck at home. I definitely did not expect quarantine to last this long, and it hasn’t all been as fun as those first few weeks, but I am proud of myself and how I managed to take something difficult and make my own fun with it.
- Better Relationships
I started staying home right when I got home for Spring break because the cases in New York City were starting to go up, and my parents did not feel comfortable with me going outside. It sucked because I was not able to see my friends and hang out. At first I thought ok this is serious but it wouldn’t get that bad, and it will probably end by the end of May (I was so wrong). It didn’t hit me that Covid was serious until I moved out of the dorm in the middle of March. When online school first started, I struggled staying at home because it was really hard to focus with my brother and cousin also doing online classes at the same time, but slowly we got used to each other’s schedule. As time went on, I slowly started getting closer to my cousin and brother because we all lived together. We now have inside jokes, and we prank each other. I hate to say this, but quarantine really helped me bond with my brother and cousin and now our relationship is better than ever. I also learned that it’s really important to check in on each other to make sure others around us are ok, as well as to stay connected.
– Jasmine Li, ’22
- New Normal isn’t that Normal
It has been one year since college kids swarmed home, families resorted back to time together, and bread-making took over the internet. I cannot fathom how a year has passed since we initially went into lockdown. The concept of lockdown feels like a distant memory that my mind has placed into the dream category. This anniversary feels like the anniversary of losing a loved one. I find it almost triggering, because time and life have felt unreal since March 2020. I think I am still processing the entire thing: staying inside for months, losing my senior year celebrations, and the overall dramatic loss that has weighed down upon us all. It’s weird to reflect on our new “normal.” One year ago today, I wasn’t wearing a mask in Walmart as I shopped for hot cheetos. I wasn’t being consciously aware of my spacing or if people could be spitting their germs at me. Conversations were dominated by pop culture and topics of interest, rather than Covid this and Covid that. As we reach this one year mark, I think it’s important to reflect on growth or lack of growth. Give yourself a break from where you’re “supposed” to be in life, and let yourself be comfortable in where you are. We have had an eventful year, and we are coming out on the other side.
– Meredith Harper, ‘24