Coming into the fall semester, I knew my senior year at Springfield was going to be unusual.
It wasn’t like March, where I was optimistically hoping we’d be back after an extended spring break – that was when the coronavirus pandemic was still relatively new across the country.
At the time, no one really knew how bad this was going to get.
Once school transitioned to a virtual format for the rest of the spring, I started to question the legitimacy of even living on campus for my last year of school.
There was one moment during the summer where I just accepted that I probably wasn’t going to step foot on campus for the rest of the year. That was daunting to think about, especially because it was my last year of college. I was scheduled to live in a townhouse and I really wanted to enjoy that aspect of my college experience.
Eventually, Springfield brought everyone back to campus, with strict health and safety protocols. Living in a townhouse no longer carried the same weight it did pre-pandemic.
I think it’s safe to say no one wanted the situation we were about to be exposed to. Although, our job was to make the best of it, not seek pity for an unprecedented situation.
That was my mindset, at least, as I moved in about four months ago. As much as I enjoyed living with seven of my closest friends at school, we all knew there was something missing.
The football games, the volleyball games, the basketball games, midnight Cheney, late night bingo.
Townhouse gatherings, especially.
Events that allowed us to truly experience the community of Springfield College and brought us some of the most important people we met during our four years.
As much as we tried to stay positive, it became increasingly difficult to not dwell on what could have been as the semester progressed. Especially when entire residence halls were quarantined and surges of positive cases sent most of the campus home earlier than intended.
I was part of the handful that stayed all the way until Nov. 20 and I vividly remember my last week on campus.
The walk from my townhouse to Dunkin’ every morning was so quiet and so empty. It was the little things like passing my friends on that walk and just saying hi to them that I missed the most. I had never seen Alden Street so dead.
Let’s be clear, though, we were fortunate to be on campus for as long as we were, given there were other larger schools that couldn’t even last a week in-person.
Still, when you’ve become so accustomed to a certain lifestyle at school, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve got to completely adjust that. Especially when the college experience is coming to a close very soon.
That’s just how 2020 has been in general — an endless adjustment on the fly. As horrible as a year it has been, it’s taught me to cherish the moment that’s in front of me.
Heading into my last semester, that’s all I can do at this point. Cherish the people around me and enjoy this phase of my life while I still can.
To aid the experience, Springfield is providing students with more activities in the spring, which will be a huge help.
The development of multiple Coronavirus vaccines is also a massive step. The virus will not magically disappear on Friday at midnight, but there are in fact brighter days ahead.
And that’s something we couldn’t say back in March.
Photo Courtesy of Joe Arruda