By Irene Rotondo
College students are in agreement that they do not wish to be at home any longer; everyone is ready to be back on campus and taking their classes in-person this semester.
However, not all students have made the decision to return to campus housing, and those who will be are experiencing a multitude of emotions and expectations for how life will be.
When asked, “How do you think Springfield College has handled the pandemic?” the majority of student responses were positive.
“Considering Springfield College is a fairly small campus, I do feel that the ‘going back’ decision was a good one,” stated junior Olivia Cyr. “I feel as if Springfield staff really made a great choice with advocating for their students and hearing all of our needs and concerns in order to make sure we all feel comfortable at school.”
Sophomore Abigail Wright stated that not only did Springfield College keep their students informed, they actually did a lot better than other colleges in doing so.
“I am impressed with how Springfield College has handled the pandemic; I have an older sister who goes to a college not much bigger than Springfield, and it has become easy to see how Springfield sets itself apart from other institutions and why it has such a great reputation,” said Wright.
“Obviously, no one has lived through a pandemic, and certainly no one could have planned for this, and I feel like as a student it has become vital to keep that in mind. I think the Springfield community has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from what we have all gone through, and with that comes a certain bond,” Wright added.
However, not all students are entirely keen on the idea of so many people in such close contact over long periods of time. Senior Olivia Johnson says that she hopes Springfield College is taking the pandemic as seriously as they say.
“Ultimately, I think that the safest option for the students, faculty and their family is to stay home during this pandemic… Compared to other schools I would say Springfield College was a little behind on telling their students information about scheduling and fall semester,” said Johnson.
“It is difficult for students to make decisions about coming back to school when we don’t have all the necessary information. The decision making process of allowing students to come back to school for all schools must have been difficult, but I hope that Springfield College doesn’t regret having its students back on campus,” Johnson continued.
Besides watching their school handle a pandemic, students are also questioning if they should be returning to campus at all.
Senior Kyle Niehr made the hard choice this semester. “Unfortunately, I have made the decision to take the year off of school with the plan to return to Springfield College in Fall 2021,” Niehr said. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make, but it is the best option for me because I am concerned about the safety of my family and I.”
As for junior Isaiah Cashwell-Doe (as well as hundreds of students), coming back to campus is sure to be a major stressor under the current conditions.
“My personal plans for coming back to school are trying to maintain a steady balance with school and sports while keeping my mental wellness strong,” said Cashwell-Doe, a member of the Pride football team.
“Being a student who struggles with depression and anxiety, the quarantine life hit me extremely hard, being away from my peers for so long. Therefore, [I will do] the best I can do for myself and really put my effort into school and football because that is where I am at my highest potential I feel.”
Coming back to in-person classes will be a reimagined experience for most students as well. Unsure what to expect, students are feeling apprehensive. Junior Mackenzie Cayer said, “I think classes online are very different and at times more difficult because the professors tend to give more assignments.”
That sentiment expressed by Cayer seems to be the agreed notion across the student body.
Junior Connor Moniz also voiced concerns about the hybrid model of classes, stating, “I think classes are going to be difficult being online… when we went online for the end of last semester, it felt more difficult than in-person.”
As far as athletic seasons go, it is a known fact that all are cancelled until further notice. Though a controversial decision, Springfield College athletes are wholeheartedly playing the cards they were dealt to keep the love for their own sport alive.
Football players Niehr and Cashwell-Doe each were crushed to hear their cancellations, but are hoping to come out as an even stronger team.
“I am truly upset that the football season is cancelled and in all honesty that is part of the reason I have decided to take the year off from school,” said Niehr.
“I have worked my entire life leading up to my senior year at Springfield College and I definitely want to have my last season wearing THE jersey. For my teammates going back, I believe the school, faculty, and our coaches will do everything they can to keep the team together and get better while staying safe as possible. The restrictions for practicing and lifting will be difficult to adapt, but we will get through it as a team,” he said.
Cashwell-Doe stated, “…everything happens for a reason. This is a time for the football team to become better brothers. A time to really perfect our craft, so when a game comes, we can be unstoppable. That being said, it is still very frustrating, but, the only thing we can do is adapt and overcome.”
Wright, a member of the women’s volleyball team, said, “Since processing that news [cancelled season], and learning that practicing and training is still an option that we can have this fall, we have all come to appreciate and value the positives. Learning to turn extra times like this into something positive by growing as a team and getting more time to train hard will prove itself to be crucial when we are given the opportunity to compete again (hopefully soon).”
Finally, it is a well-known fact that Springfield College students are highly social beings while on campus. However, a pandemic is sure to change who they are actually allowed to socialize with, and many students are saying that they will not be attending any off-campus parties, nor large social events.
Cayer agreed with those sentiments, saying, “There will always be those people who want to party regardless of what’s going on in the world. Those people may throw their parties, but I hope that the majority of the students on campus stay responsible and keep away from the partying as much as possible.”
Johnson echoed some of her statements, saying that she personally would not be participating in any kind of party either. “I hope that students are smart about people they hang out with. Considering there are a couple houses off campus this year, I would assume parties will be there and not at Springfield’s secure location. I know personally I will keep my distance from the crowds.”
Overall, campus life for Springfield College is sure to be different as far as students are concerned. Many are nervous and many are excited, but the one thing most can agree on is what Wright said in a statement: “I am just so excited to be back HOME!”
Photo: Danny Priest/The Student