End of a Semester, End of a Year

Lauren Baker

            As 2020 draws to a close, many breathe a collective sigh of relief. This year has been one massive headache after another. Between COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter campaigns, the wildfires, the Presidential election, and other events, 2020 has been a real roller-coaster.

People have undergone many trials, including the loss of jobs, homes, and loved ones. This writer’s heart and prayers are with the families of those who have passed.  

The entire planet has been living differently for many months now, and it looks as though some aspects might not be changing. We must all adapt to this new world if we are to continue through the decade.

With the end of 2020 comes a time to reflect. To look back on the year and all its trials. For those of us receiving education—be it elementary, high school, college, or graduate-level—Things have certainly been…interesting.

“It’s been a weird year, just, in life—can’t really do anything right now. But also I’ve had grad school applications and interviews, and doing that all through a pandemic, and senior year in a pandemic has been so weird”, says senior Mary Debolt.

Exercise Science Major Grant Hertzler has similar thoughts: “Honestly, I feel…both excited and disappointed about all that has happened this year”.

Both students were asked how their personal lives were affect by the events of 2020.

“During all that Black Lives Matter stuff, me and all my friends got together…safely, we were all wearing masks, and we had a little protest…it was just great to see the whole community come together”, Mary states. “With COVID and everything, I mean, I just haven’t been able to see people really”.

“I would say…personally, I’m very much a social person…that’s one of the big things…restricting that has been hard”, Grant remarks.

            Their academic years have also been affected by these events—the US COVID-19 shutdown began in March, and the aftereffects are still being felt.

Mary was concerned about the results of learning online: “Zoom classes are not ideal. I definitely feel like I’m not learning as much”. It can be harder to absorb information and concentrate via online classes—though SU is certainly doing its best.

“It’s [the year] definitely presented a lot of those challenges, like I said I had a hard time connecting with professors and everything like that to make myself feel successful and driven to really get things done and do what I need to, so I think that…in that way it kind of hurt me”, Grant admits. For many, socialization and face-to-face interaction are a huge help in learning. With the onset of the pandemic, that is no longer possible.

The differences between this year and the last are astounding, no matter where one looks. Many changes have occurred, and people will just have to adapt.

Mary talks about some of these differences: “Definitely…online classes…I’m also just, like, not doing anything on campus anymore…trying to stay in my apartment as much as I can”.

The social problems are more of Grant’s trial: “Again, just not having the ability to connect with other people…I think one of the things that makes SU special is that it’s a really close-knit community…and so that’s kind of lacking”.

And yet, with the end of the year comes hope for the next. With the vaccine in production and 2020 drawing to a close, many look forward to what 2021 presents. They are excited about the future.

“Graduating. And starting grad school”, Mary admits. For many, graduation is the next step in a longer journey. “[I’m] Definitely excited to go on to that chapter in my life”.

            “Hopefully having a vaccine and being able to return to more of that…old way, of things. Being able to go see friends…being able to reconnect a lot more”. Grant’s hopes are shared by people across the globe as we all continue to weather this storm.

            People at SU are preparing for the end of a semester, and the end of a year. With all the trials of 2020, the coming year may prove to be a better one. It is through adaptation and attention to health and safety that we as a global community will survive.

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