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UConn Is Going Virtual (For At Least Two Weeks) of The Spring Semester

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

2021 ended on a bitter note for many UConn students as the university announced that at least the first two weeks of classes of the spring semester would be online. Two weeks may not seem like a lot, but the thought that this could last longer is causing outrage amongst students. The first few weeks of every semester are always the most enjoyable. Classes are only beginning, offering more time to relax and socialize with friends you have not seen in a while. For most of us, the majority of our college experience has seen the classroom environment become virtual and the backdrop for it being our childhood bedroom. It is not the college experience we were promised. I can respect that UConn is taking the health of its students seriously. Omicron is very contagious, and opening a college campus of 19,000 students in less than two weeks is bound to cause a large outbreak. It is frustrating nonetheless. Students have been asked to do so much already. We stayed at home to protect ourselves and the vulnerable. We adapted to online learning while simultaneously missing opportunities to connect with other students and professors. We got vaccinated. We continued to wear our masks. We have done everything asked of us, yet they demand more. They want us online again. They want us boosted. What will be the next demand?

I sometimes feel like I do not have the right to complain about all this. This past fall semester, we returned to what I would consider a relatively normal way of life. The little bubble that we lived in Storrs often made you forget that the pandemic was still running rampant across the world. Covid cases remained extremely low throughout a large part of the semester. The only reminder we had of the pandemic was the mask-wearing indoors and a slight concern if we started feeling unwell. But when we were in the crowded bars or frat basements or at a sold-out game in Gampel less than a month ago, the thought of the virus was far from a concern. Fall 2021 was the best semester many of us had ever had, and this was because we had more freedom than we had had in a year and a half.

The move to online for now is disappointing, however. It leaves a lot of uncertainty and anxiety over how this coming semester will unfold. Personally, this decision has left me completely disoriented. I am an international student meaning the move to virtual classes has posed further challenges I did not expect to encounter. UConn has offered internationals the possibility to return to their on-campus housing for the beginning of the semester but is enforcing strict rules with it. As well as classes being online, dining options will be limited, the Rec Center will be closed, and students will not be able to leave campus. While we may return if we wish, many of our friends will be forced to remain at home for at least a fortnight. That time will be lonely and isolating for us as we eagerly anticipate their return. The thought of going back seems bleak to say the least. We can always stay at home, but that poses other problems. Time zone differences mean that we may end up starting classes in the late evening and continue to follow along live through the night. What if the whole semester goes online? Belongings have been left in dorm rooms and may never be retrieved. Should friends who we said “see you soon” have been told “goodbye” instead? Neither situation offers a reduced sense of uncertainty.

The reality is, we will not know how the spring semester will turn out until it is all done. We can hope that the two-week pushback does not extend beyond that and that the remaining fourteen weeks will run as smoothly as one could hope for in this day and age. I am thankful for the freedom we had in the fall and hope that the spring semester will get back on track as quickly as possible. College students are tired of the uncertainty and simply want to get on with their lives. Most of us do not fear Covid anymore. We actually would prefer to return to pre-pandemic life and deal with the consequences if we catch it rather than continue to dodge it. Hopefully, the higher-ups at UConn will consider this when they eventually decide the fate of this upcoming semester.

Amélie is a Communication and Sociology major at the University of Connecticut. She enjoys reading, writing, music, and all things pop-culture related