The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
In this collaborative article, HCOZ shares their experiences about the SUNY Oswego experience during this ongoing pandemic and how it has impacted the way we view college, ourselves, and the world around us.
I truly and fully believe that the pandemic is going to be looked back on as a traumatic cultural split, similar to the way we perceive before and after 9/11. People will talk about the day they found out they had to leave campus in March, when someone they knew died from the virus, or how they were laid off. The world just…closed and collapsed. Everything we knew changed literally in the span of a week. I think it would be one thing if it had been for less amount of time, but the fact that the quarantine raged on for months really made this less of a speed bump in history and more of a full fledged change in our society and structures. Before COVID, I really felt like I was hitting my stride in college and the world was expanding. Now? Everything doesn’t just feel different, but more empty…closed. Even though the commuter lots are once again full, we have a majority of classes in person, and life on campus is nearly back to how it was pre-COVID, I just feel like the energy in the air is different. It’s so obvious things are different but we’re all bound by this sort of “we have to” go back to before feeling. We all see each other differently and the way we communicate and think about our interactions just feels so much different. We’ve been culturally and collectively traumatized by this pandemic in ways I think we have yet to comprehend. It really makes me sad that so much of my college experience was taken from me, to the point where I have cried about it. It also makes me sad that I have to graduate this semester and say goodbye to the things I enjoyed about college just as they start to come back. I hope we can recover in some way, but I’m also doubtful in many ways.
When the pandemic first started, I was in the middle of my junior year in high school. I’m sure many other high school students really struggled with not having the traditional senior year, but what made the pandemic so difficult for most of us was the college application process. Not having the opportunity to tour college campuses, go to college fairs, getting the chance to figure out what the application process is like, or even figuring out their major. Though I am incredibly grateful that life is starting to get back to the new “normal”, I feel like part of me was not prepared for this big step. In 3 months I went from mainly fully remote classes and being glued to my house, to being set off hours away from home, to a place I was never able to really visit due to COVID, with all my classes being in person. Being able to see a lively campus and what college is supposed to feel like makes me hopeful that after almost 2 years of forced separation we will finally all be able to unite as one again, but I know even with all this new excitement I am still nervous about what the future holds.
Lesson #1: Don’t take in-person activities for granted! Never in a million years would I imagine spending half of my college years online and off campus. I always dreamed I would have a great experience like my sister had here at Oswego, so when Miss Deb sent us all home I seriously thought that dream was dashed. Fall 2020 was especially rough for me: tennis was cancelled, so I kissed my main activity, passion, and social group goodbye. Then, the dining hall situation was HORRENDOUS with the fake chicken tenders (which I kind of miss now, but that’s not the point.) Oh, and that time when we had 200 cases on-campus and we almost got sent home. It was all extremely challenging for me and everyone else I knew, and impacted my mental health the hardest. However, with a great therapist and a little patience, Fall 2021 is here and is turning out 10 times better! I have in-person classes, tennis everyday, and a kickass townhouse with my friends. Life is good, so I am ~cautiously~ optimistic. So please, for the love of our Lakers, get vaccinated ASAP so we can get the good vibes going again!