How I Feel About the Coronavirus Stealing My Senior Year

As I sit in my apartment with my dog, Banshee, I can’t help but feel defeated. It’s my very last semester here at UF, and it’s crumbling before me as coronavirus spreads.

I was supposed to have a perfect final semester as an undergrad. Go to all my favorite restaurants and try out new ones. Go out for drinks with my friends. Play video games with my roommates. It was supposed to be the best of times until I graduated on May 3. That is, until it was postponed.

To be honest, I’m not even that mad about graduation. I’m more annoyed that it’s moved to the end of July, but it’s not so bad. What fuels my depression is the lost opportunities caused by coronavirus. It propelled me into a crisis mode.

The week after spring break started off like any other week. I was going to class, getting ready for a weeklong event, preparing for exams and more. When news broke of classes potentially moving online, an uneasiness settled on me, but I shook it off because I didn’t think it would happen. As it became strongly urged to move all classes online, I grew increasingly worried. If all classes were online, would that mean that I was getting kicked out of my dorm?

I have lived in Keys Complex since my sophomore year. It was where Banshee (my emotional support animal) moved into after I adopted her. I’ve grown in this dorm. So many memories are here, both good and bad. It’s also the best place I could live right now as I’d but my parents at risk by going home. I also don’t have a car, so it would be hard for me to move if I were told I had a few days to leave. The anxiety of getting kicked out left me in a haze where I couldn’t even concentrate on classes, let alone prepare to say goodbye to UF.

After this semester, I plan on going to Texas A&M for graduate school, meaning I’m leaving UF. There was so much that I wanted to do, and there’s so much I want to say goodbye to. Most people don’t know that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. No, not like the OCD that people say as if it were a joke. I mean full-blown OCD where I have compulsions to do certain things. Otherwise, I am filled with dread. When the coronavirus started changing things, my OCD started to strangle me – hard. I was so freaked out that I couldn’t say bye to campus like I wanted to, so I got reckless and explored campus to do the one thing that sates my OCD – take pictures of everything. I left my dorm whenever I could and walked across campus, social distancing myself from people. I stayed out late, and my friend came to get me at one point. After talking to my therapist, I realized it was a manifestation of all of my anxieties.

Amidst all of this, I know I want to become a professor and help students. And I love being in school and going to class. I honestly can’t see myself going long without being in a learning environment of some sort. When I learned that classes were going online, I couldn’t help but die inside. I won’t be able to see my friends or be a part of a lecture. I wouldn’t even be able to teach my own class in a live format. At my last live undergrad class, I wasn’t even sure whether it was my last, but I’m glad that I took a picture. I remember feeling sad that everything was coming to an end. I wanted to see my friends, struggle over exams with them in person and survive until graduation, but that’s not possible now.

Why did all of this have to happen during my senior semester? We dealt with the 2016 election, countless hurricanes, Richard Spencer coming to campus, student organizations getting defunded, Donald Trump Jr. coming to campus, racism, hate and much more. My class never really got a break. For once, I thought we caught a break with this semester, but I guess it was too good to be true.

I just feel so alone through this. It’s just Banshee and I trying to do our best being by ourselves. I am an extroverted introvert. I need interactions with people. Now I can’t even say goodbye to my friends without fearing for their health. I wanted to say goodbye to my favorite professors and reminisce about how their classes shaped me into who I am.

Now, I just sit in my dorm, waiting for the end of the semester. It will be just Banshee and I, with just enough supplies to last us. We’ll stay at home for as much as we can, occasionally going on walks around Flavet Field while avoiding people. But we’ll grow from our isolation. My final semester was not what I had hoped, but I will try and make the best of it while doing my part to help fight the coronavirus. What we do now is important. I know I made mistakes in the beginning due to my anxieties, but I’ve reached a point where I am content with how I leave UF. Make the most out of your time here, because you won’t know when a crisis will happen. I surely didn’t.