Brace yourself… because you truly have no idea what is coming at you this year. You don’t know it yet, but you are about to end your first year of college early at the school you began to truly love. You’ll have to pack extra clothes, books, and other belongings for what at first seems like an “extended break”. Yet that will turn into month after month at home until you reach September. You will learn how to complete your semester from the confinements of your bedroom, anxiously hoping no one in your house talks loud enough when you’re unmuted. Get ready to learn about the world of Zoom… muffled audio, poor WiFi connections, professors logging themselves out and not being able to join in. Oh and don’t get too excited about breakout rooms. Five to ten minutes sometimes of just pure silence unless you get a pretty good group of peers. Once the semester ends, you will walk out of your room and say “Mom, I’m done with my freshman year of college.. How exciting” and walk back into your room not knowing what to do or where to go. Simply because there will be no where to go. By now you will be in quarantine; stuck in your house for a couple of weeks. You will not be able to see your friends and family. What you don’t know will be your Nanas last Easter will be spent with just your parents and sister instead of your big family because of a virus. The grocery stores will be empty with no bread, toilet paper, or hand sanitizer. In the next year you will use more hand sanitizer like ever before and wash your hands a million times a day. In the house you’ll complete multiple puzzles and stare at the ceiling in utter boredom. Once things start to slowly get back to normal you can see your friends and family and still go to the beach this summer. Yet, sadly you’ll always have to carry around a rectangle strip of cloth to place on your mouth. There will be some scares when you come in contact with people who got the virus and panic scared that you will catch symptoms.
You don’t know it yet, but school will return in September, yet nothing like before. The dining hall will be at half capacity including takeout options which is nice when none of your friends can eat lunch some days. You will walk around campus and call it a ghost town because no ones there. It will be harder to hang out with random people you meet and parties will be nonexistent. You will turn to weekends in your room playing cards, cornhole, and singing karaoke. You will get to know the cute boys next door and in the building of Narragansett which was a good choice to live in. Zoom will be your friend again with classes half in person and half online. You’ll have to force yourself to log on and force yourself to walk to class sometimes. Motivation will be key, but you will do fine. You always do. Overall, you have learned how to live in a pandemic adjusting to all these new rules and regulations. You’ve learned how to battle classes online where it is simply so hard to pay attention. You spent time away from friends and family. Yet, you got through it! Covid may have brought a boring, difficult, and sad year, but you learned how to make the best of it. A virus was not going to stop you from living your best college experience in Newport with your friends. And you did it safely. Hopefully, the future is brighter with the emerging vaccines so summer and your final two years of college will be completely normal. I can’t wait to look back on this past year in the future and see all that you have accomplished during this difficult time.