The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I’m sick of reading, listening, and watching this and that about the pandemic. I mean, it’s now a part of our daily lives. Why would I want to watch a TV show about it? And thankfully season 18 of Grey’s Anatomy decided to flash forward sometime in the future during a post-pandemic world. No masks. No social distancing. No restrictions. For my sanity and everyone else’s let’s hope that comes sometime soon in our reality.
The reason I’m writing is not to talk more about something we have already read, listened to, and watched. Rather, I wanted to take a more personal approach and write about something that I lost because of the pandemic. Disclaimer: I know people have lost so much more than a normal college experience. I see that. I understand that. I empathize with that. I am not saying what I am going through is worse or to that same level. All I am saying is that this has been hard for me and when I write down what I am feeling, it’s almost therapeutic.
Anyways, I am now a senior here at Stonehill College. I’m preparing for my final semester and while I do plan on graduating in the spring, I was not planning on being on campus for my final semester.
When I was applying for colleges, I had a checklist like most other teenagers my age did, excited to make their first big decision as a young adult. On that long list, at the very top was ‘A MUST: a good study abroad program.’ While I was looking forward to everything that college life had to offer, one of the most exciting opportunities I could not wait for was to study abroad. The thought of waking up every day in a different country surrounded by a different culture with new people, new food, and new norms was what motivated me to go through the arduous task of college applications. Picking a country was an easy decision. I went to Italy my junior year of high school for one week with my class and I fell in love. This might sound dramatic, but I felt complete and my heart was broken when I had to return home. I mean, standing in front of the Duomo in Florence is breathtaking. It was nothing I had ever seen before, yet I still felt at home. My plan was to study abroad in the spring of my junior year like most of my friends and peers. And then, the pandemic erupted in the spring of my sophomore year. While at the time it felt as if this sickness could not affect something I was planning for a year from then, it did. And guess what…I am in the fall semester of my senior year and it is still affecting me and everyone else. Study abroad was canceled my junior year and I was devastated. I made plans to apply to study abroad in the summer or over winter break because I was so determined to get myself there. Over the summer and after the vaccine came out, it felt like life was going back to normal. Well, it wasn’t.
Stonehill announced the possibility that students could study abroad in the spring and that they would allow seniors to apply to study abroad their last semester. While I was sad to not spend my last semester at Stonehill actually at Stonehill, it was a simple decision to make. Things were happening. I was completing requirements, getting my passport ready, signing documents, and prematurely packing my suitcase. That all stopped when I got an email from Stonehill. Study abroad is postponed, but it was canceled for me. I had no more semesters to push back study abroad and wait for the pandemic to disappear and for people to get vaccinated. I was heartbroken. I am heartbroken. It feels like I have continued to have to make plan after plan to adjust to this pandemic world and it has been hard. I don’t blame Stonehill because I am sure it was not an easy decision to make. I don’t need to say what I blame.
I will say that this is not stopping me from traveling around the world. But it hurts to know that I will never be able to take classes while exploring a new world, a world outside the one I know so well in Easton, Massachusetts.