It was Monday afternoon when the mass email was sent out to students. In-person classes were stopped because of coronavirus and would be held online until mid-April. All campus activities had also been cancelled. I stared at my phone in shock as people all around me cheered to celebrate, and the rest of the day consisted of me looking at photos on social media of people leaving campus to head home for the next month. It all seemed like something out of a movie, and I couldn't quite wrap my head around how colleges closing because of the virus has so quickly become our reality.
[The email said] in-person classes were stopped because of coronavirus and would be held online until mid-April. All campus activities had also been cancelled.
I was surprised that the university decided to cancel classes, especially because my school is on the quarter system and students are only one week away from finals. Nevertheless, it happened, and I'll admit I was happy about the decision at first. Much like the other students at my college, I was excited about having extra time to hang out with friends and prep for the dreaded finals in the coming week. I also appreciated that the school cares about the health and well-being of its students and faculty enough to make learning accessible online.
Then, reality sunk in. In addition to being genuinely scared about everything that's going on and the many people who are affected by the coronavirus, I also couldn't help but feel bummed about the little things. My Winter quarter abruptly ended, and my Spring quarter is going to come two weeks later than I had anticipated. Freshman-year me would have jumped with joy, but as a senior, I want to take advantage of all of the time I have left at college. Real life is right around the corner, so I'm hanging on to my college experiences and my time with friends as much as I can. And as much as I feel guilty for harping on these things, we're all coping with this very strange reality in different ways.
For me, I really love meeting my professors in person and seeing who else is in my classes on the first day of the quarter. I also love coming back from Spring break to a full house, rather than feeling like my friends and I are all in limbo on when we'll be back together. These are the little parts of college that I didn't know I cared so much about until all of this happened.
The majority of my friends left for home right away, making all of this much more real. I left shortly after they did so I could spend some extra time with family and avoid the eerily quiet apartment. I'm local, so my family pushed for me to come home early and to stay for the full remainder of classes being online. I still have time to decide what I want to do in the coming weeks, but I do know living by the university won't be the same without my friends (or anyone, really) being there.
Even though the closing of our campus will (hopefully) only last for a month, it still makes me feel sad and scared. I can only hope I get to see my professors and friends sooner rather than later.