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An Open Letter to the Class of 2021

To the Class of 2021: 

Well guys, we made it. It’s the beginning of our senior year, the culmination of our college undergraduate experience. And it sucks. Under normal circumstances this year would be bittersweet, experiencing all of the “lasts” on our campus - the last first day of school, the last time eating in the Stud, the last time strolling by the fountain in the science complex. But with a pandemic, each of the difficult moments we looked forward to since freshman year are ripped out from under us at the last second. 

Our last first day is going to be spent staring at a Zoom meeting on our computers. Who knows if we’ll even be in the student center again -- let alone getting sushi or pizza with our friends. Are we even going to be on campus to jump in the fountain one last time? I don’t have any of the answers. And to be honest, I’m really struggling to deal with this as I’m sure a lot of you guys are. This is our senior year… and now it’s slowly disappearing. 

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve cried over the summer as more news has come out and more things are being compromised. Heck, I remember on March 10 when the first email came out and we all thought we were getting an extra two weeks of spring break. How naive and innocent we were back then. I guess none of us really had 20/20 vision this year. 

One thing I want to stress going into this year, is that it’s okay to not be okay. There is no wrong way to react to this news and each feeling you have is valid. We might think that this is a small price to pay for the health and safety of our state. But this is unprecedented in history - we are allowed to be upset and frustrated. We are allowed to be disappointed with the outcome while still understanding and supporting the decision. 

There was so much I was looking forward to doing on campus this year. Planning the fall comedy show, starting a school-wide spirit section for athletic events, and competing on the varsity swim team just to name a few. Not to mention the small moments of waving to my friends walking to class, getting a burrito bowl at Eick and running across Pennington Road to get to class from my house. It’s those little moments that I’m going to miss more than anything during this semester. 

I know that this isn’t how any of us thought that we would start our final year at TCNJ. But we’re all in this together, as cheesy as that sounds, and the only way to get through this is by supporting and lifting one another up. It’s not going to be easy in any way, but as Lions we should be up to the challenge. I know that we are strong enough to make it through with smiles underneath our masks! For now, I’m just crossing my fingers and wishing on every star and fallen eyelash that we can be on campus for the spring and finish senior year the way we wanted to: together.  

Love your fellow senior, 

Darby VanDeVeen


Darby VanDeVeen is a senior at The College of New Jersey. On campus, she is involved in the school's primary programming board, the varsity swim team, She's the First, the school newspaper, and works in the athletic department in addition to writing for Her Campus! She loves going to concerts and hopes to work in the music industry upon graduation. Her favorite artist is Taylor Swift, but she can be found listening to music from all genres. She also enjoys photography, bad reality television and iced tea.
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